Germanic philology lm (2015/2016)

Course code
4S004058
Name of lecturer
Maria Adele Cipolla
Coordinator
Maria Adele Cipolla
Number of ECTS credits allocated
6
Academic sector
L-FIL-LET/15 - GERMANIC PHILOLOGY
Language of instruction
English
Location
VERONA
Period
Semestrino IIA, Semestrino IIB

Lesson timetable

Semestrino IIA
Day Time Type Place Note
Thursday 11:50 AM - 1:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall 1.3  
Semestrino IIB
Day Time Type Place Note
Wednesday 11:50 AM - 1:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall 1.1  
Thursday 11:50 AM - 1:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall 1.3  

Learning outcomes

The Rebirth of a Germanic Vernacular in Britain After the Norman Conquest
New Interpretations of the Origins of Middle and Modern English

The course will discuss a new hypothesis (Emonds and Faarlund 2014) connecting Middle English (the immediate antecedent of Modern English) with Scandinavian languages (with which it shares striking similarities, above all in syntax) instead of the so-called Anglo-Saxon, traditionally reputed to be genealogically linked with Middle English.
According to this up-to-date theory, standard English should therefore be assigned to the North Germanic group (with modern Scandinavian varieties) instead of belonging to the West Germanic one (made up of Old English, German and Dutch).
Based on Edmonds and Faarlund’s hypothesis the analysis will focus on historical syntax and dialectology: their results will be assessed by the specific philological method, consisting of evaluating linguistic data in the light of the text critical analysis of considered documents.

Syllabus

The Rebirth of a Germanic Vernacular in Britain After the Norman Conquest
New Interpretations of the Origins of Middle and Modern English

After the Norman Conquest (in 1066) and the collapse of the military aristocracy of Angle, Saxon and Jutish descent in Britain, the dialects commonly labelled either as ‘Anglo-Saxon’ or ‘Old English’ (witnessed in written records from the end of the 7th to the 1st half of the 11th centuries,) disappeared, except for the unique Peterborough Chronicle, which continues to use Old English up to the accession to the throne of Henry II Plantagenet in 1154. Old English varieties are normally assigned to the so-called Western group of Germanic languages (along with German and Netherlandish dialects), with which they shared some common features.
The Normans introduced Old French in the court and administration usage (while Latin was the language of the church as it was everywhere in the West); about two hundred years later, however, new ‘English’ varieties reappeared on the British soil, representing the so-called ‘Middle English’, the direct ancestor of the standard language of today. Middle English was strongly affected by Old French interferences (still discernible, mainly in lexis), so that one can say that English shows Germanic structure and mainly Romance vocabulary.
Nevertheless the new emerging literary language that linguists call Middle English reveals also striking similarities with Scandinavian languages: this is normally reputed to be the consequence of the long-lasting military dominance of Viking groups (mainly of Danish and Norwegian descent), whose appropriation of large areas of Britain (the so-called ‘Danelaw’) had begun in the midst of the Anglo-Saxon period (from the end of the 8th century). At that time, Scandinavians are still illiterate (their first literary language, the so-called Old Norse, started to be written down in Iceland and Norway only from the end of the 11th century).
The peculiarity of this Nordic influence upon English is its way of affecting the profound structures of the language, instead of the ‘surface’ elements of lexis (as usually happens in case of contact languages, with borrowings and calques): this odd feature claims for an explanation and, during the development of historical linguistics, different solutions have been argued, all however accepting that Middle English (and its modern development) is the derivative of Old English (in compliance with a tripartite classification model, as acknowledged within the history of High German language) and therefore belonging to the West Germanic group.
Recently, new researches by Emonds and Faarlund (2014) have questioned this theory claiming that Middle English (and subsequently modern English) is in fact a descendant of the unwitnessed Scandinavian dialects spoken by the Vikings: on the British soil, those northern dialects should have been ‘anglicized’ (that is melded with the native tongue of Anglo-Saxon people), producing Middle English, which therefore should be assigned to the North Germanic group of languages. In fact, East Midlands, the main area where Middle English developed, had been part of the relatively densely populated southern portion of Danelaw. On its side, Old English (temporarily survived in south-western dialects) eventually died out within the 15th century.
The results of Emonds and Faarlund’s researches, however, will be assessed by the specific philological method, evaluating linguistic data in the light of the text critical analysis of considered documents of both Old Norse and Middle English textual traditions.

Our course will have a bipartite structure.
The 1st part (= 5 weeks, = 20 hours) will investigate developments and trends within scholarship (Bibliography: 2) and sketch the linguistic data concerning the history of English, from Indo-European and Germanic precedents (Bibliography: 1 and 7), to a description of Old and Middle English and their witnessed dialects (Bibliography: 3, 8, 9, 10, 11)
The 2nd part (= 4 weeks, = 16 hours) will focus on the new hypothesis by Emonds and Faarlund, explaining in detail the similarities between Middle English and Old Norse syntax (Bibliography; 4, 5, 6)


Literature

1. Baldi, Philip, 2008. English as an Indo-European Language, in Momma, Haruko, and Michael Matto, eds. A Companion to the History of the English Language, Oxford, Blackwell-Wiley, pp. 127–141
2. Cable, Thomas, 2008. History of the History of the English Language: How Has the Subject Been Studied?, in Momma, Haruko, and Michael Matto, eds. A Companion to the History of the English Language, Oxford, Blackwell-Wiley, pp. 11–17
3. Donoghue, Daniel, 2008. Early Old English (up to 899), in Momma, Haruko, and Michael Matto, eds. A Companion to the History of the English Language, Oxford, Blackwell-Wiley, pp. 156–164
4. Emonds, Joseph Embley, and Jan Terje Faarlund. 2014. English: The Language of the Vikings, Palacký University, Olomouc
https://www.academia.edu/10360982/English_The_Language_of_the_Vikings

5. Faarlund, Jan Terje, 2004. The Syntax of Old Norse. With a survey of inflectional morphology and a complete bibliography, Oxford, University Press
6. Fischer, Olga, 2008. History of English Syntax, in Momma, Haruko, and Michael Matto, eds. A Companion to the History of the English Language, Oxford, Blackwell-Wiley, pp. 57–68
7. Fulk, R. D., 2008. English as a Germanic Language, in Momma, Haruko, and Michael Matto, eds. A Companion to the History of the English Language, Oxford, Blackwell-Wiley, pp. 142–149
8. Gretsch, Mechthild, 2008. Late Old English (899–1066), in Momma, Haruko, and Michael Matto, eds. A Companion to the History of the English Language, Oxford, Blackwell-Wiley, pp. 165–171
9. Kornexl, Lucia, 2008. Topics in Old English Dialects, in Momma, Haruko, and Michael Matto, eds. A Companion to the History of the English Language, Oxford, Blackwell-Wiley, pp. 172–179
10. Smith, Jeremy J., 2008. Varieties of Middle English, in Momma, Haruko, and Michael Matto, eds. A Companion to the History of the English Language, Oxford, Blackwell-Wiley, pp. 198–206
11. Turville-Petre, Thorlac, 2008. Early Middle English (1066–ca. 1350), in Momma, Haruko, and Michael Matto, eds. A Companion to the History of the English Language, Oxford, Blackwell-Wiley, pp. 184–190
The volume: Momma, Haruko, and Michael Matto, eds. 2008. A Companion to the History of the English Language, Oxford, Blackwell-Wiley, is housed in the Biblioteca Frinzi (Cataloguing: BF 160 C 352)

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam; midterm test (after the 5th week of the course) on the first group of lessons and on the related bibliography.
Suggestions for further readings and other bibliographical materials will be published on the e-learning page.

STUDENT MODULE EVALUATION - 2015/2016