History of the English language, or Introduction to Maximum Literacy

Class Name History of the English language, or Introduction to Maximum Literacy
Age Range 8-13
Brief Description Most of us use English effortlessly. We might think about, or reflect on, our thoughts and feelings, but the expression of those thoughts and feelings tends to come automatically. In this class, we will begin to reflect on the medium we use to communicate, especially as it relates to Latin. For centuries, to be literate in Western Europe meant to be able to read and write Latin. The vernacular languages (Italian, French, Spanish, English, etc.) were primarily oral languages used to communicate with people who did not have a formal education: slaves, women, and merchants. As times changed and people started to seek the same kind of status and uses for their mother tongue that Latin enjoyed, they naturally turned to Latin as a model. For this reason, knowing how Latin works and how it is intertwined with English will broaden and intensify your knowledge of English, thus helping you to make considered choices in your use of language and to understand better the considered choices of others. In this course, we will spend about 3 weeks learning some very basic Latin, followed by 3 weeks of Latin roots in English, before finishing up with a whirlwind tour of the passage from Old and Middle English to modern English.
Skills Required At least fourth-grade reading level and an interest in how language works.
Homework Requirements Light homework most weeks.
Cost/Materials free
Teacher  Doug O'Hara; dougohara at sbcglobal dot net
Teacher Bio I have a PhD in English from UC Berkeley and have taught classes there and at NU.
Class Size Min/Max 4/10
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Parent Contact Doug O'Hara; dougohara at sbcglobal dot net