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ENGL(LING) 4005/6005

History of the English Language
Credit Hours:

The development of present English through the stages of Old English, Middle English, and early Modern English. Study of elementary phonetics, phonemics, sound change, and dialect variation.

ENGL/LING 4005/6005     Spring 2023     Kretzschmar

History of the English Language     TTh 9:35-10:50, Park 145

Office: 313 Park.  Email: Office Hours: TTH 8:30-9:30 in person, via Skype (bill.kretzschmar), and by appointment (email me to set one up).

Catalog:  The development of present English through the stages of Old English, Middle English, and early Modern English. Study of elementary phonetics, phonemics, sound change, and dialect variation.

Texts:  W. Kretzschmar, The Emergence and Development of English: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018; C. S. Lewis, Studies in Words, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1967.

Course Conduct:  Lecture/discussion, in person. There will be five in-class tests and no final exam ("continuous assessment"). There will be one short paper (5 pp) and a major paper due at the end of the term (c. 10-15 pp undergrad, c. 20 pp. grad). Papers will be argumentative essays prepared according to standard practices for academic papers, and include appropriate use of the scholarly literature. There will be a proposal (2-3 pp) for the final paper due in early November. Grades will be based on class attendance (90 pts), the five in-class exams (250 pts), the short paper (100 pts), and the final paper (50 pts proposal, 150 pts final paper). 640 total points. Course info will be on the Web at the UGA eLC  (

Goals and Topics: This course will introduce students to some basic concepts of language study and to the history and present status of the English language.  It will be intensive:  we have much ground to cover. We will examine texts to illustrate changes.   Sound recordings will be played in class to illustrate different varieties of English. At the end of the course, students will have gained perspective with which to evaluate common questions regarding language and linguistics in the modern world.

eLC reading:  1: M. Tomasello, Origins of Language, Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition (Cambridge: Harvard UP), 8-42; 2: Languages in Paradise, in U. Eco, Serendipities (New York: Columbia UP, 1998), 23-52; 3: Grammar and Complex Systems, in W. Kretzschmar, Language and Complex Systems (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015); 4: Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book 1:1-23 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994); 5: Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, entries from 870 to 1016, ed. Swanton (London: Routledge, 1998); 6: W. Kretzschmar and M. Stenroos, Evidence from Surveys and Atlases in the History of the English Language, in T. Nevalainen and E. Traugott, eds., The Oxford Handbook of the History of English (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 111-122; 7:  J. Milroy, Historical Description and the Ideology of the Standard Language, in L. Wright, ed., The Development of Standard English 1300-1800 (Cambridge, 2000), 11-28.


Jan 10, 12        T:  Course intro.                                  Th: EDE Intro, Ch 1  

Jan 17, 19        T: App 1: words, sounds                     Th: eLC 1: Tomasello Origins

Jan 24, 26        T: App 1: sounds                                Th: eLC 2: Eco Languages

Jan 31, Feb 2   T: App 2: syntax                                 Th: App 2: discourse, EX 1

Feb 7, 9           T: Ch 2                                                Th: eLC 3: Kretzschmar Grammar    

Feb 14, 16       T: Ch 3                                                Th: how to write a paper, incl authoritative info, citation, structure, argument, license

Feb 21, 23       T: Ch 4                                               Th: eLC 4, 5: Bede EH, ASC; EX 2

Feb 28, Mar 2 T: Ch 5                                                Th: eLC 6: Kretzschmar/Stenroos Evidence

Mar 7, 9          No class, Spring Break

Mar 14, 16      T: Ch 6                                                Th: Lewis, Ch 1

Mar 21, 23      T: Ch 7, short paper due                   Th: App3, EX 3 (withdrawal deadline)

Mar 28, 30      T: App3, Lewis Free                           Th: Ch 8, App3

Apr 4, 6           T: Ch 8: GVS, Ch 9                            Th: Ch 9 OED, proposal due

Apr 11, 13       T: Ch 10                                              Th: eLC 7: Milroy, EX 4

Apr 18, 20       T: Lewis, Sense, Conscience              Th: Lewis World, Life

Apr 25, 27       T: Ch 11                                              Th: Th: Ch 12, EX 5              

May 5              No class; Paper due by email.


UGA Student Honor Code: "I will be academically honest in all of my academic work and will not tolerate academic dishonesty of others." A Culture of Honesty, the University's policy and procedures for handling cases of suspected dishonesty, can be found at Every course syllabus should include the instructor's expectations related to academic honesty.

The course syllabus is a general plan for the course; deviations announced to the class by the instructor may be necessary.

Mental Health and Wellness Resources:

  • If you or someone you know needs assistance, you are encouraged to contact Student Care and Outreach in the Division of Student Affairs at 706-542-7774 or visit They will help you navigate any difficult circumstances you may be facing by connecting you with the appropriate resources or services. 
  • UGA has several resources for a student seeking mental health services ( or crisis support ( 
  • If you need help managing stress anxiety, relationships, etc., please visit BeWellUGA ( for a list of FREE workshops, classes, mentoring, and health coaching led by licensed clinicians and health educators in the University Health Center. 
  • Additional resources can be accessed through the UGA App. 

Face coverings: 

Because your instructor is of a certain age and at high risk, face coverings are recommended for all individuals in class. 

 How can I obtain the COVID-19 vaccine?

The University Health Center (UHC) is administering the COVID-19 vaccine for free to any eligible member of the UGA community over the age of 16. Vaccines are also offered by local health providers as well many pharmacies in the area. Students may continue to schedule their COVID vaccine appointments online through the Patient Portal.

What do I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms? 

Students who believe they have been directly exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms should seek care from the University Health Center. Please isolate until you can be assessed and do not walk in. For everyone’s safety, the Health Center is seeing patients by appointment only. For respiratory complaints, we will often schedule a telehealth visit via Zoom through which we can determine how best to arrange for both care and testing. To make an appointment via telehealth or in person please call 706-542-1162, or, if you know it use your primary care team’s number.

 What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

Anyone who tests positive should isolate for 5 days, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms, regardless of vaccination status per the CDC. You are also strongly encouraged to share your test results with those you believe you were in close contact with so they may take appropriate measure to isolate.

(LING2100 or LING2100E or LING2100H) or ENGL(LING)3030 or (CMLT2111 or CMLT2210 or CMLT2212 or CMLT2220 or CMLT2500) or (ENGL2310 or ENGL2320 or ENGL2330 or ENGL2340 or ENGL2400)
Semester Offered:

Instructors of this Course

Willson Professor in Humanities, Dept. of English

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