ENG6362S: The pre-1800 encyclopedia article: some suggestions for topics

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I'd like you to have your drafts of these done by Friday February 14th at the latest (15%; -5% off per day). I am happy to read pre-drafts and to make suggestions at any time before this: I expect that once you start working on your topic we'll be chatting about sources.

So: for the class before reading week, please draft an entry for our online encyclopedia of the cultural and linguistic history of the English language; you can have a look at past work online.

Unlike previous class's entries, yours may be longer: aim for 1500-2000 words, but try to be as concise and coherent as possible. Please append to your entry a selection of the best secondary sources on your topic. Please direct your audience to an intelligent university-level audience: people like you beginning a course on the subject, perhaps.

New! Your article will be graded according to the following criteria:

All of these topics link the linguistic and the cultural history of the language. Again, I'm happy to/intend to help you find good secondary sources for your topics (I am more knowledgeable about some than others, and more has been written on some than others. The little notes after some of the topics are my notes to myself -- the absence of little notes doesn't mean that there aren't sources!).

I'm composing these in more haste than I'd like, so don't necessarily feel bound by the phrasing of what's here.

  1. The influence of the language of the Chancery on standard English. What arguments have been made (mostly by Fisher) in favour of this hypothesis? (I just heard a lecture by Michael Benskin exploding it: has he published anything on it yet?)
  2. The influence of printing on the English language. Norman Blake has written much on Caxton; there's an article by Brengelman about the influence of printers -- and authors and linguists -- on spelling. The Renaissance volume of CHEL has a rather turgid chapter by Salmon with lots of references to printers and a useful and recent bibliography. (Susana)
  3. The influence of William Tyndale on the English language (via biblical translations esp the KJV). (Tim)
  4. Social factors correlating with morphological change in early modern England. Terttu Nevalainen and the "Corpus of Early English Correspondence" have tracked the importance of gender, social climbing, region ... this is more interesting than it looks.) (Brad)
  5. The functions of the Latin language in England. (There's an essay in a collection by Burke and Porter; book by Ayres on C18th classical culture; book by Ogilvie with words Greek and Latin in title. New: essay by Pustianaz in book on STL called *English and the Other Languages*, PR 149 L37 E54) (Andrea)
  6. Early "hard word" dictionaries. Do take advantage of I an Lancashire's recent work, as well as of older monographs on dictionaries. Article by Juliet Fleming on women as audience for elementary books (= PDE for dummies?); find article that RC found by author with surname M...); lots of content/bibliography on Ian's site. (Jennifer)
  7. The influence of the Civil War on the English language. (I think the Finns have had something to say about this, but they can't be alone.)
  8. Milton's latinisms. (Book by John Hale, essay by Christopher Ricks). (Zach)
  9. The influence of French on English in the seventeenth century.
  10. The English language in Ireland. (Articles by Vivian Salmon, perhaps check Raymond Hickey's recent book which I haven't seen..., book by Palmer).
  11. Specific registers of English: law (Dale; look as well as the origins of its lexicon, perhaps its influence on more general English? the Finns have looked at the influence of legal language on more general registers of English: check out recent Rissanen in Wright's book on standardization? Nevalainen's recent papers occasionally talk about men's professional networks and how merchants, lawyers, etc. avoid double negatives earlier)? medicine? botany (Ray, Linnaeus, Erasmus Darwin)?
  12. Early (pre-Fisher/Lowth/mid-century) impulses towards a doctrine of grammatical correctness. (Ask me to xerox Manfred Gorlach's book on C18th English -- refs to Dryden's preposing of his prepositions, The Spectator; Richardson's corrections of Pamela... (Jan)
  13. The issue of a "language academy" in England. (Almost too much on this. Royal Society proposals; Defoe, Swift; Watts' recent article proposing that Swift's tract was a satire along the lines of A Modest Proposal...)
  14. The use of thou and thee in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (more than the Quakers please!). (Cheratra)
  15. Pronunciation dictionaries of the eighteenth century. (Mugglestone's book *Talking proper*; old monograph on elocution movement; Joan Beal's book on Spence.)
  16. The literary use of Scots English.
  17. Place naming in the colonies (this will have to be focussed: area? namer (Cap'n Cook)?.
  18. The teaching of English to foreigners. (This might be tricky to get started. There is a book by A.P.R. Howatt, A history of English Language teaching as well as some incendiary books with a postcolonial perspective by Robert Phillipson (Linguistic Imperialism) and Alastair Pennycook (English and the discourses of colonialism). There is also an article by Richard Watts on the use of dialogues in teaching in a 1999 essay collection called Historical dialogue analysis, edited by Andreas Jucker. (Dane).
  19. The influence of the court on the English language. (Don't forget the Finns and the CECC: there's a code for "court" in their corpus. This will be harder to get obvious stuff for? Puttenham's comment about the best accent; word "court"; James and Latin?)
  20. Added:: The social impetus/impact of linguistic standardization before 1800. (Milroy and Milroy might be a good start. CP: check to see whether Manfred Gorlach's book on C18th English is in Robarts yet.) (Alex)
  21. Added:: The social functions of dictionaries of "cant" (nb get title of good recent article by female historian in Transactions...).
  22. The influence of Spanish on English before 1800 (Rebecca).

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