History of the English Language – Past, Present, and Future: A Six-Part Course with Dr. Asya Pereltsvaig

History of the English Language – Past, Present, and Future: A Six-Part Course with Dr. Asya Pereltsvaig


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after each event.
Description

Welcome to a journey through 15 centuries of history and etymology of the magnificent English language. During this six-part course, we'll look beyond Chaucer and Shakespeare, we’ll listen in to conversations from centuries past, and shed light on many questions about the peculiarities of English as it is today – its pronunciation and spelling, word forms, grammar, and regional variation. 

Why, for example, do we spell “see” and “sea” differently although we pronounce them exactly the same? And what did the Black Death have to do with it? Why is the plural of “foot” “feet” and of “tooth” “teeth” but the plural of “book” is not “beek”? And why are “whither” and “whence” so confusing to us today? Answers to these questions will emerge as we explore the development of English, from its Anglo-Saxon beginnings on the continent, through the influences of the Celts, Vikings, and Normans, and to the globalization of English since the 1700s. 

Led by an expert on linguistics and history Asya Pereltsvaig, Ph.D., this Conversation will shed light on English as it is today, its structure, history, and diversity through the lens of its history. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of English, our beloved mother tongue and lingua franca. 

This course has been designed to be enjoyed as part of a series. We invite you to explore:
Lectures

Lecture One – English is constantly changing: for better or for worse? The roots of English.

Lecture Two – The Anglo-Saxons and their language, Old English. How the Celts affected English.

Lecture Three – English in the Viking Age. Is English really Engelsk, an offshoot of Old Norse? How the Vikings dismantled Old English.

Lecture Four – The Norman Conquest and Middle English. French influence on English.

Lecture Five – Pronunciation changes in Renaissance English. Why English spelling today is so weird. Other influences in the Early Modern Period: Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson, the printing press, and the American Founding Fathers.

Lecture Six – English goes global with the rise of colonialization. 
About Your Expert

Asya Pereltsvaig received a PhD in Linguistics from McGill University and has taught at Yale, Cornell and Stanford, as well as in several U.S. and European universities. Her expertise is in language and history, and the relationship between them. Her most recent books, Languages of the World: An Introduction, 3rd edition (2020) and The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics (2015) were published by Cambridge University Press.

FAQ

How does it work?
This is a six-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture. All Context Conversations are advertised in Eastern Standard Time.

When will I receive the Zoom link?
Your link to enter the Zoom room will be the same for all six sessions. It will be sent to the email address used to place your order 30 minutes prior to each lecture's start time.

Is there a reading list in advance?
Though the course is open to participants with no background on this topic, there are suggested readings for further investigation. These will be provided at the course's conclusion.

How long are the lectures?
Each lecture is 60 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?
The course is $210 USD for six lectures.

Is a recording available?
Yes. All registered participants will be sent a recording link within 48 hours of each session's conclusion. The recording expires 30 days thereafter. 
Audience

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

Duration

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 15 reviews
87%
(13)
7%
(1)
0%
(0)
7%
(1)
0%
(0)
A
Anonymous (Beverly, US)
Fantastic & super interesting

Asya makes language change make perfect sense. She explains the historical reasons behind English language change, tying together many big events from history that caused it (and continue to change it as well). I love understanding these connections.

R
Rhoda, Silver Spring MD (Silver Spring, US)
Wealth of information: cultural, historical, linguistic

Asya provides an excellent deep dive into English, explaining the influence of cultural and historical events as well as linguistically changes. She has wonderful slides along with some recordings to highlight the information presented. Aysa is a very enthusiastic, engaging lecturer and welcomes questions.

J
Julie (London, GB)
Fascinating course - really enjoying it

I've attended five of the six sessions so far and am loving every minute. The course is really interesting and Dr Asya Pereltsvaig is very knowledgeable and explains the history and evolution on the English language in a way that makes it very accessible and easy to understand.

p
paula cohen (Washington, US)
Asya Pereltsvaig never disappoints!

Substance; context; erudition (writ lightly); all presented with humor, wit, verve, and delight.

K
K.M. (Edmonton, CA)
Excellent seminars

I enjoyed Dr. Asya Perltsvaig's 6 part course on the History of the English Language immensely. There was so much interesting information about how English developed. I would certainly take another course from Dr. Pereltsvaig as she is so knowledgeable and personable. The time flew by and I wanted more!

Customer Reviews

Based on 15 reviews
87%
(13)
7%
(1)
0%
(0)
7%
(1)
0%
(0)
A
Anonymous (Beverly, US)
Fantastic & super interesting

Asya makes language change make perfect sense. She explains the historical reasons behind English language change, tying together many big events from history that caused it (and continue to change it as well). I love understanding these connections.

R
Rhoda, Silver Spring MD (Silver Spring, US)
Wealth of information: cultural, historical, linguistic

Asya provides an excellent deep dive into English, explaining the influence of cultural and historical events as well as linguistically changes. She has wonderful slides along with some recordings to highlight the information presented. Aysa is a very enthusiastic, engaging lecturer and welcomes questions.

J
Julie (London, GB)
Fascinating course - really enjoying it

I've attended five of the six sessions so far and am loving every minute. The course is really interesting and Dr Asya Pereltsvaig is very knowledgeable and explains the history and evolution on the English language in a way that makes it very accessible and easy to understand.

p
paula cohen (Washington, US)
Asya Pereltsvaig never disappoints!

Substance; context; erudition (writ lightly); all presented with humor, wit, verve, and delight.

K
K.M. (Edmonton, CA)
Excellent seminars

I enjoyed Dr. Asya Perltsvaig's 6 part course on the History of the English Language immensely. There was so much interesting information about how English developed. I would certainly take another course from Dr. Pereltsvaig as she is so knowledgeable and personable. The time flew by and I wanted more!