LANGUAGE VARIATION AND CHANGE IN ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL EUROPE: Old & Middle English - Old High German - Old Norse - Old Romance - Ancient Greek


Ioanna Sitaridou 

(University of Cambridge)

This course deals with the evolution and structure of the Romance varieties, which have descended from Latin and are spoken extensively in Europe and across the world. The course will highlight major issues in the evolution of the Romance varieties ranging from philological to classificatory to phonological to sociolinguistic (language or dialect?) with a special emphasis on syntactic variation and evolution. The comparative analysis of the differences between Romance languages and between Romance and Latin departs from solid empirical descriptions coupled with some elements of linguistic analysis. Although the course does not claim to furnish you with an active knowledge of the relevant languages, it provides you with a useful basis from which to learn them. Having said this, the knowledge of at least one Romance variety or Latin is desirable.

        By completion of the course, students should have gained:

(a) knowledge of the differences between Romance varieties;

(b) an understanding of key issues in the evolution of the Romance languages;

(c) an insight into a range of related issues pertaining to taxonomy;

(d) familiarity with some key explanatory concepts of historical linguistics such as grammaticalisation and reanalysis.