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MHS Library | English Language Year 11

Unit 2: Language change

In this unit, students focus on language change. Languages are dynamic and language change is an inevitable and a continuous process. Students consider factors contributing to change over time in the English language and factors contributing to the spread of English. They explore texts from the past and from the present, considering how all subsystems of the language system are affected – phonetics and phonology, morphology and lexicology, syntax, discourse and semantics. Attitudes to language change vary considerably and these are also considered.

In addition to developing an understanding of how English has been transformed over the centuries, students explore the various possibilities for the future of English. They consider how the global spread of English has led to a diversification of the language and to English now being used by more people as an additional or a foreign language than as a first language. Contact between English and other languages has led to the development of geographical and ethnic varieties, but has also hastened the decline of indigenous languages. Students consider the cultural repercussions of the spread of English.

The history of Britain in 20 minutes

Key knowledge

History of the English Language Workbook is an excellent and comprehensive resources for this area of study.
The history of English timeline is one of many useful resources in this website.
English language and literature timeline
The history of the English language

Proto Indo-European language tree

The history of the English Language online resources

Language Change Across Subsystems

Language change and orthography