Introduction to English linguistics (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Anna Zanfei
Anna Zanfei
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre (Lingue e letterature straniere) dal Feb 17, 2020 al May 30, 2020.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

This course is aimed at providing an introduction to English linguistics through the study of the distinct phases of the history of the language, from its birth through to the present time. This insight into the history of English will allow students to consolidate their knowledge of the language thanks to an increased awareness of its origins, and of how it has developed and changed over the centuries. Adopting a sociolinguistic perspective, due consideration will be given to the role of historic and socio-cultural factors in the development and transformation of English, with a focus on the present time, and on the socio-cultural factors that have contributed to making English the global lingua franca.


1. Historical and cultural setting of the development of the English language
2. Sociocultural processes and the history of English
3. Democratization
4. Changing attitudes and political correctness
5. Social roles and identities changes in politeness cultures
6. Cultural change reflected in the translations of the new testament
7. Prescriptivism and standardization
8. Forms of early mass communication: The religious domain
9. From manuscript to printing: transformation of genres in the history of English
10. The competing demands of popularization versus economy
11. The impact of electronically mediated communication on language standards
12. English as a global commodity
13. The role of contact in the history of English (Ethnic dialect in North American English)
14. Typology and Typological change in English: Analycity and Syntheticy in the History of English

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Baugh, Albert C, Cable, Thomas A history of the English language (Edizione 6) Routledge 2013
Nevalainen, Terttu ;Traugott, Elizabeth Closs The Oxford handbook of the history or English Oxford University press 2012 Part 2, part 3

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam is an oral interview in English on the topics of the syllabus