Gail Symington, senior lecturer, Classical Studies, School of Languages and Literatures, University of Cape Town

English has the largest lexicon of all languages, conservatively estimated at more than 615 000 words. Where have these words come from? English vocabulary today is a fascinating mixture of native (Germanic) words and borrowings from around the world. This course traces the important historical and cultural events, from the first century AD to the present, which influenced and shaped this vast vocabulary, and looks at ways in which English vocabulary continues to change and expand.

In the last two lectures the focus will be on some of the more interesting words which are derived from Latin and Greek, since over seventy per cent of English lexical items have their roots in Latin and ancient Greek.




1. A brief history of the development of English

2. The evolution of English vocabulary

3. Evolution continued

4. Words of interest from Latin

5. Words of interest from Greek


Date: 23–27 January                                                 
Time: 11.15 am
COURSE FEE Full: R480,00  Staff: R240,00  Reduced: R120,00