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MHS Library | English Language Year 11

History of the English Language Workbook

The history of the English Language

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.

Language Change Across Subsystems

5. What can you see?

8. The Indo-European language family

11. Independent research task

12. Codification

15. Boom! Boom!

20. The Great English Vowel Shift

23. Holding on to our history

26. An ever-changing lexicon

29. The story of Tom

32. Changing meaning

33. Impacting the change

36. Language change: creating variation

The subsystems of language

1. The British Invasion

3. English goes to Australia

6. Compare contemporary Australian English with Old English

9. Map the spread of P.I.E. languages

13. Spelling

16. Bringing our spelling together

18. "ghoti" is pronounced like "fish"

21. Changes to syntax

24. Activity: Putting sentences together

27. An ever-changing lexicon

30. The story of Tom

34. Attitudes to language change: prescriptivism vs descriptivism

37. Possibilities for the future of English: Is it here to stay?

40. Prompt

Key knowledge

2. English

4. Australian English

7. Relationships still alive today

10. Proto Indo-European

14. Boom!

17. It still wasn't perfect though

19. Unit 2: language change

22. Contrasting languages

25. An ever-changing lexicon

28. An ever-changing lexicon

31. Changing meaning

35. Language change vs language variation

38. Assessment ideas