ENG G301 / D600 :

The History of the English Language

Spring 2012

DR. Damian Fleming

Welcome to HEL !


Class meetings: T/R 3 – 4:15 pm CM 144

Office hours: M/W 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm (and by appointment)

Office: LA 149

Office phone: (260) 481-0192

Email: flemingd@ipfw.edu


Course  Website: http://users.ipfw.edu/flemingd/hel2012.html

Course wiki:     http://hel2012.pbworks.com



This course will serve as an introduction to the study of language in general, and specifically to the historical study of the English language.  The course will give students grounding in the tools of linguistic study: phonology, morphology, graphics, semantics, syntax and lexicon.  In particular we will trace the historical development of the English language, beginning with the classification of all languages, to the Indo-European language family to the successive stages in the development of English, from Old English to American English the many World englishes of the present day.  Particular attention will be paid to sociolinguistic aspects language change as well as the value of linguistic inquiry in the study of literature and in composition.


Required Texts (you’ll need them right away):

·         The English Language: A Historical Introduction, Second Edition by Charles Barber, Joan Beal and Philip Shaw (Cambridge Univeristy Press, 2009) ISBN: 9780521670012


·         Language Matters: A Guide to Everyday Questions about Language, Second Edition by Donna Jo Napoli and Vera Lee-Schoenfeld (Oxford University Press, 2010) ISBN: 9780199735716


Always bring texts to class; they are necessary for informed discussion; failure to bring your text to class is equivalent to an absence (and you better check out the attendance policy).


Course requirements:


1.   Regular attendance, intelligent participation, alert questioning, and careful preparation of reading and exercises as assigned

2.   Regular participation on class wiki

3.   Occasion Homework and Quizzes

4.   2 semester research projects, to be posted online

5.   Midterm and Final Exams


Grading: The term grade is calculated based on the following:


Participation:                                     10%

          Office visit: 1%

          Quizzes and homework                     10%

          Critiques                                           10%

          Projects                                             30%

          Exams (midterm and final)                40%


Grade Scale:

A          94–100            Highest passing grade                        4.0

A-         90–93                                                                          3.7

B+        87–89                                                                          3.3

B          84–86              Above-average passing grade             3.0

B-        80–83                                                                          2.7

C+*      77–79                                                                          2.3

C*        74–76              Average passing grade                        2.0

C-*       70–73                                                                          1.7

D+*      65–69                                                                          1.3

D*        60–64              Lowest passing grade              1.0

F *        below 60          Failure                                     0.0


* Not acceptable for graduate credit


Attendance policy:

This course is based in active participation; as a result, attendance in class is essential.  


·         2 absences: participation grade = 0%

·         3 absences = course failure



·         There are NO excused absences.

·         Excessive lateness will count as an absence.

·         Leaving class early will count as an absence.

·         Sleeping in class will count as an absence.


Regardless of cause, you are responsible for all work missed during absences, including changes to the class schedule announced in class.


If you do not feel that this is a fair attendance policy or if you do not believe you will be able to fulfill it, the instructor asks you to please drop this class as soon as possible. 


Students who miss the first day of class are required to hand in a signed Syllabus Contract before Tuesday, Jan 16.  Failure to do so will result in a failing grade for the course. 


Writing Assignments:

Engrave the following on your brain:

·         I do not accept any late work

·         Grade for late work: 0%, returned without comment


Give yourself plenty of time and leeway to get your work done and to deal with bumps in the road should they occur.  Pretend, at least for this class, that you are operating in the real world.


Failure to submit any written assignment will result in a failing grade for the course



          This class is unlike most any other English class you may have taken.  In a lot of ways, it’s more like a science class (the science being historical linguistics) and also has a lot in common with a foreign language class.  This class will demand a lot of memorization and using parts of your brains which do not otherwise get used very often.  For your benefit, I will give quizzes and homework to make sure that you keeping up with the material.  If you read what you’re assigned carefully and do all the exercises, these will be no-brainers.  Everything is necessarily cumulative.



Almost every class (see Schedule) you will be responsible to read and respond to chapters in our books or additional materials (usually on available on the internet).  Before class the day it is assigned, you must post an informal response/critique to the assigned article on our class wiki or respond to one of your fellow students’ postings that is already there.  Half of the class (depending on your “letter”) will be assigned a critique, and the other half will read over these critiques and post 3 comments.  The critiques need not be formal, but must be at least 300 words long.  The comments can be just a few sentences long each.


Many of these articles deal with the many very current social issues involving English and language in the United States.  Part of those class days will be devoted to discussing these articles and the issues they raise.  Your wiki responses are one way to ensure that you have read the material carefully (in advance) and will serve as the foundation of our discussions. 


I also ask you to respond to our textbook (Barber); use can use the wiki space to review what you have read, try to explain concepts in your own terms, raise questions about the material, as well as present your opinion on the readings.


Failure to submit any of these critiques will result in a failing grade for the course.


I do not accept any late work, under any circumstance. 


Students with disabilities:


In accordance with University policy, if you have a documented disability, you may be eligible to request accommodations from the office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). Students with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations and should have equal access to learning.  If you have any questions or you believe you need accommodations, contact the SSD office, Walb Union 113, Phone/TTD: 260 - 481 - 6657 http://www.ipfw.edu/ssd/


Keep in mind that accommodations are not retroactive so it is best to register as soon as possible so that timely arrangements can be made.


For all Students:

No retroactive accommodations can be made.  If you feel that you have an issue which may affect your ability to succeed in this class, you must come see me before you’ve defaulted on the class.  Hopefully, any issue can be resolved, but no issue can be resolved after the fact. 


Academic honesty:


Plagiarism will earn you an F for the course, and possible expulsion from the University.  If you borrow an idea or quote from another author, you must cite where you found the material. If you have any questions about citing sources, please **ASK** before your turn in an assignment.  I am happy to help, or visit the Writing Center. http://www.ipfw.edu/casa/writing/)




          See Class Wiki http://hel2012.pbworks.com