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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Language Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Early Germanic Dialects (LASC11116)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryOur earliest English is Old English, the language spoken in Britain by Germanic tribes who migrated here from the continent in the course of the fifth century. The arrival of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes marked a watershed: English, whose speakers were now separated from Germanic tribes that remained on the continent, embarked on a separate trajectory of development. The Germanic dialects on the continent ultimately developed into present-day German, Dutch, and the Scandinavian languages, each with their own lexicon, grammar, and sound systems. Yet all these languages share a common core that marks them as members of the same language family, Germanic, as well as a cultural core of legendary figures of the Germanic past. Although the position of Old English is unique in this family with respect of the early dating of its texts, and the sheer size of its textual corpus, the other early Germanic "dialects" are also well-documented.
Course description This course offers a comparative study of the early Germanic languages: Gothic (East Germanic), Old Norse (North Germanic), Old Saxon, Old English, Old Frisian, Old Low Franconian and Old High German (West Germanic), in the context of the historical background of the Germanic tribes and the Migration Period.

The linguistic data that the course focuses on are sound changes, derivational morphology and word order phenomena, which is why the course includes interactive exercises in LEARN to enable students to brush up their knowledge of phonological features (front / back vowels; voicing, place and manner of articulation), word categories / parts of speech (nouns, verbs, prepositions, demonstrative pronouns etc) and syntactic functions (subject, direct object, indirect object, adverbial).

Course outline:
Wk1 Introduction
Wk2 Germanic Language Family
Wk3 Gothic
Wk4 Old Norse
Wk5 Old Saxon
Wk6 Old English
Wk7 Old Frisian
Wk8 Old Low Franconian and Old High German
Wk9 The grouping of the Germanic languages
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand the shared linguistic history of the Germanic languages and the linguistic impact of language or dialect contact versus inheritance
  2. understand linguistic relatedness and language change
  3. evaluate critically arguments and positions in ongoing debates in the literature
  4. write a clear, well-structured, reader-friendly text, identifying, analysing, reproducing and describing linguistic examples that are relevant to the discussion in hand
  5. demonstrate core skills in linguistics, including the ability to interpret linguistic data at the various levels of linguistic description
Reading List
Hogg, Richard. 2002. Dutch dialects and Stammbaum theory. In: Of dyuersitie & chaunge of langage, edited by K. Lenz and R. Möhlig. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 212-2.

Robinson, Orrin. 1992. Old English and its closest relatives: a survey of the earliest Germanic languages. Stanford Calif.: Stanford University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Ability to build on a body of knowledge in order to analyse linguistic data, evaluate claims, and provide logical argumentation

Ability to write well-structured, reader-friendly texts

Ability to articulate and defend positions in a linguistic debate
Additional Class Delivery Information Attend all lectures as scheduled
Keywordslanguage change,historical linguistics,Germanic
Course organiserProf Bettelou Los
Tel: (0131 6)51 1842
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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