ENGL 3311 Presentation
Welcome to a Hitchhiker's History of the English Language, a presentation
created for ENGL 3311 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
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Tower of Babel
Illustration to the Old English illustrated Hexateuch showing the construction of the Tower of Babel, illumination on parchment, between circa 1025 and circa 1050.
Important concepts and ideas to keep in mind while navigating a HOTEL.
In his Ecclesiastical History, the Venerable Bede writes about contacts made between the English language and other languages. When looking to define or explain the English language, it helps to consider the implications of these contacts. One implication, for example, is that foreign words, or borrowings, were introduced to the English lexicon. From written histories, […]
Borrowing is the introduction of a word from one language or dialect into another. Borrowings are sometimes called loan words. Many French words, for example, where introduced into the Middle English lexicon. And during the Renaissance, many Latin and Greek loan words were brought in. In his book, The Horse The Wheel And Language: How […]
Scholars believe that English emerged as a distinct language some time around CE 500 (Svartvik 7). This language was primitive, and we can think of it as a sort of proto-English whose ancestors were the languages of various Germanic tribes that settled in the British Isles, languages that belong to a family of languages known […]
What is this website for?
During my senior year at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, I experienced my first History of the English Language class (HOTEL for short) as an uninitiated, non-English major, faced with having to take a HOTEL course to finish my bachelor’s degree. The course was extremely difficult for me, but I’m now hooked on everything to do with the English language. [Read more…]
My rules for success for newbies approaching HOTEL study:
- Rule #1: Remain calm
- Rule #2: Remember Rule #1
Meet some of the key historical figures you will want to know more about when studying a history of the English language.
The Venerable Bede was a monk
who lived in the Old English period
known for his work Ecclesiastical History
William Caxton brought the
printing press to England and
kicked off the standardization of English
Noah Webster gave us our first
American English dictionary which gave
American lexicon identity and status
King Alfred brought education to the
people, facilitated translation of Latin
texts into English, including Bede’s History
Samuel Johnson is the author of
A Dictionary of the English Language,
first published in 1755
Jakob Grimm observed common
and progressive sound change in
certain Germanic languages