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Present-Day English through the Historical Looking Glass
Studienorientierung mit der ZSB • Anglistik
Termin & Ort
20.06.2024 16:00 - 18:00 (Merken)
5 freie Plätze

The lectures of this module provide an introduction to English linguistics, i.e. the study of the structure and use of Present-day English . In this particular lecture, we will approach the topic “through the historical looking glass”, i.e. by shedding light on how and why English has developed and how and why it is now different from Modern German. This focus will lead to a decidedly diachronic and contrastive perspective on Present-Day English.


Topics discussed include:

Why is there such a lack of correspondence between spelling and pronunciation in Present-Day English? Are there any rules in English spelling?

How can plural forms such as mice or geese be explained? Are they of the same origin as Mäuse and Gänse?

Why do German learners find English nominal grammar (nouns, adjectives) easy, but have major problems when it comes to tenses?

What is the history of Present-Day English of gonna and peel in sentences like You’re gonna stay out in the bush till Charlie peels you like a grape? Are there regularities in language change?

What are the differences in etymology and use between, e.g., to give in and to surrender, between askquestion and interrogate or between doctorphysician and leech and why is that so? You will also learn why you should give people either a hearty welcome or a cordial reception.

What are the reasons for calling a woman a wif-mann ‘Weib-Mann/Mensch’ in Old English and why is there a positive connotation to mister, but a negative one to mistress, a political one to governor, but an educational one to governess?

What are the specific features of academic language as against language of the social media?

Is American English more conservative than British English? What is the history of AAVE (African American Vernacular English)? Is that the variety spoken by Oprah Winfrey?

Why does Indian English sound so peculiar? Has there been any influence of indigenous languages?

While the lecture will overlap with the seminar Introduction to linguistics to some extent, it will offer theoretical approaches and practical applications going beyond what can be covered in the seminar. As this lecture lays the foundation for all later classes in linguistics, participation is highly recommended to ALL students of English, including those whose course of studies does not strictly require i

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