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Last updated:

April 8, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


How has the English language changed over the course of the last 500 years? What are the social and political contexts that have affected how these changes have come about? This free course, Exploring the English language, will consider the development of the English language from the 15th to the 19th century.


In this course, you will consider key developments in the English language from the end of the fifteenth century to the nineteenth century. You will study how the social and political changes of this period affected the English language as well as the development of new tools and ways of thinking about language. Firstly, however, some useful ‘tools of the trade’ – you'll take a look at some vital foundations of English grammar.

Learning Outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:
  • Understand how the English language has changed over time from its origins to the present day
  • Understand the relationship between the history of the English language and social and political processes
  • Understand methods of inquiry into the English language, viewed diachronically and synchronically with an awareness of the limitations of any one approach
  • Deploy skills in handling information relating to quantification in various aspects including time in relation to the courses historical aspect and very simple presentation of statistical data
  • Demonstrate an awareness of a range of techniques in linguistics for the analysis of data including those related to corpora.

Course Curriculum

    • Word Classes 02:40:00
    • ‘Modernity and English as a National Language’ 01:00:00
    • Standardisation 02:30:00
    • Lexicography and Etymology 02:20:00
    • Conclusion 00:30:00

About the instructor

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Open University UK