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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENGL 312
Course Title: The History of the English Language
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Study of the history and dialects of the English language. Prerequisites: ENGL 112 and a previous 200-level or higher English course.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): ENGL 112 and a previous 200-level or higher English course.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered even Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Several suitable language histories are available for this course. The texts listed below represent samples of several suitable texts.

A History of the English Language
By Baugh, Albert C. and Thomas Cable (Prentice Hall)
The Origins and Development of the English Language
By Algeo, John and Thomas Pyles (Harcourt Brace)
Course Objectives
  • To explore the history of the English language, from its Indo-European roots to its contemporary forms, including some sense of English as a world language and some sense of American English’s linguistic diversity.

    Measurable Learning
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the difference between prescriptive and descriptive grammar.
  • Define and apply the terminology of English linguistics, including English phonology and morphology.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of distinguishing features of English as a Germanic language.
  • Identify and distinguish the major periods of the history of English, their characteristics, and the cultural and historical forces impinging upon them.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic historical linguistic changes and their properties (such as Grimm’s Law).
  • Demonstrate an awareness of linguistic diversity.
    Topical Outline:
  • Introductory linguistic review
  • Indo-European roots of the Germanic languages
  • Old English
  • Middle English
  • Modern English
  • Contemporary linguistic diversity of English in the world and U.S.

    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
    During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 30

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Johanna Denzin Date: October 27, 2007
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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