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Exploring the English language
How has the English language changed over the course of the last 500 years? What are...
How has the English language changed over the course of the last 500 years? What are the social and political contexts that have affected how these changes have come about? This unit will consider the development of the English language from the 15th to the 19th century.
After studying this unit you should be able to:
- understand how the English language has changed over time from its origins to the present day;
- understand the relationship between the history of the English language and social and political processes;
- demonstrate aspects of the shifting configurations of English language practices and the social, cultural and political histories from which texts emerge;
- understand methods of enquiry into English language, viewed diachronically and synchronically with awareness of the limitations of any one approach;
- deploy skills in handling information relating to quantification in various aspects including time in relation to the unit's historical aspect and very simple presentation of statistical data;
- demonstrate an awareness of a range of techniques in linguistics for the analysis of data including those related to corpora.
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Exploring the English language
In this unit you will consider key developments in the English language from the end of the fifteenth century to the nineteenth century. You will study how the social and political changes of this period affected the English language as well as the development of new tools and ways of thinking about language.
Firstly, however, some useful ‘tools of the trade’ – you'll take a look at some vital foundations of English grammar.
This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Exploring the English language (U211) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free English Language courses or view the range of currently available OU English Language courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 15th June 2011
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