Etymology: Building the English Language

Instructor: Suki Wessling

blue book 50 How can learning the history of a language help you build your vocabulary? In the case of English, vocabulary is full of history! Just knowing where a word came from can help you guess at its meaning. And understanding the history of how English was created will teach you that language is more than just a list of vocabulary words to study. The English language is a living history of the people who have spoken it, from the early Celt residents of the British Isles to the conquering Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings who went to France and then returned as Normans, and all the people around the world that the British Empire governed in their colonies. In this course, we’ll learn the history of the language while also studying helpful Greek and Latin word roots and pondering why English is one of the richest human languages.

Required texts:

arrow right 3 What to expect in the classroom:
Our classroom is the connection we share between webinars, and students will be expected to be active participants. Students may post questions, links to resources they have found, musings, and ideas. Students should respond to each other's postings in order to create a sense of shared adventure. Assignments include:
  • Required: weekly reading
  • Strongly suggested: small amount of writing
  • Strongly suggested: online exercises
arrow right 3 What to expect in the webinar:
Students will be expected to come prepared to offer insights from their own perspective about the readings. A discussion about literature includes both the personal and the academic - students should think about how the book pertains to their own lives, but also be prepared to consider the historical context of the work as well as its relationship to other literature they have read. Students should be prepared for a lively and involved conversation.
Students should also be willing to:
  • Add their questions/ideas about the reading in the chat window
  • Actively participate (via a headset microphone) in the class discussion
  • Although recorded sessions will be available, students should be able to attend at least 75% of the webinars
arrow right 3 Enrollment in this 16-week semester course includes free access to moderated discussion forums and Athena's Minecraft server.
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Last modified: Thursday, August 11, 2016, 1:22 PM