The Story of English Part 4: 1650 to 1800

Ref: C2343058

This course is currently full.
Join the waiting list to be notified if any places become available.

The period 1650 to 1800 saw tremendous changes in the role of the English Language. We will look at the importance of the emerging British Empire and the beginnings of English as a global language. In this period the so-called "grammarians" wanted to "fix" the language and make it more like Latin, yet at the same time Latin itself was declining in use. Find out about how this conflicting state of affairs resolved itself : did Latin win? The 18th century also sees the publication of Dr Johnson's famous dictionary in 1755, the first real dictionary of the modern age.People became more conscious of their accents and pronunciation in this era, which led to an extraordinary series of "pronouncing dictionaries" with do's and don'ts of how to speak. Above all, people were taught things about language which have stayed with us to the present day. We are nearer to this period in history than we think. Join us on the next stage of this fascinating journey of the story of the English.

Course aim

This course looks at how the English Language developed and changed between 1650 and 1800. Join us as we discover how English changed in often surprising and fascinating ways. Many of our present day attitudes to language originate in this period.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • You do not have to have studied the previous courses in this series to enjoy or benefit from this one.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Attempt to understand how and why there were major changes in the English Language, both spoken and written, between 1650 and 1800.
  • Understand there is a major difference in analyzing spoken and written English and that attitudes to pronunciation form an important aspect of this period.
  • Read and understand writing in English from this period including some study or research at home between classes
  • Understand what were some of the major texts of this period e.g. Dr Johnson's Dictionary and Pilgrim's Progress.
  • Understand that attitudes to language, and who has the power in society are important in a study of changing English.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • You will be expected to carry out a range of activities in your own time

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • A file of work will be kept which will help to record your progress

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • You may like to access the internet during the session on an ipad or phone. Please bring this equipment to class if you would like to use it. Or you may like to bring a good dictionary to class- this would be useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • This course could lead to a range of job opportunities. Follow link to National Careers Service for more details
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course information sheet

The Story of English Part 4: 1650 to 1800

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is currently full.
Join the waiting list to be notified if any places become available.

Waiting List Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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