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Exploring the English language

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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 free course, Exploring the English language, will consider the development of the English language from the 15th to the 19th century.

After studying this course, 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
  • 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 courses 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.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 9 hours
  • Updated Wednesday 9th March 2016
  • Intermediate level
  • Posted under English Language
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Exploring the English language


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In this course 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 OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 2 study in English Language [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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