Module Catalogue 2019/20

GER4015 : A Comparative History of German and English: phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon.

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Carol Fehringer
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment

Students must have an advanced knowledge of German (e.g. be studying Level D German or equivalent)


To introduce students to the study of historical linguistics, with particular emphasis on etymology, using English and German as the languages of analysis.

Outline Of Syllabus

Comparative analysis of English and German, from Old English/Old High German to the present day. Topics include: phonological change, orthographical development, semantic change, lexical borrowing from other languages, changes in inflectional morphology, analogical change, syntactic change. This course is taught and assessed in English

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

A broad knowledge of the main developments in historical Germanic linguistics. A more detailed knowledge of specific aspects of the history of German and English, particularly phonology and morphology. A more detailed understanding of etymology.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Linguistic analysis: problem solving skills developed by analysing historical data using the analytical tools given in class (e.g. comparison, synthesis, deduction). Team-working skills developed through group work in class.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops321:0032:00Mixture of lecture and seminar style In one class
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1641:00164:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SML8021A Comparative History of German and English: phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

As this module usually attracts between 15 and 20 students, there is no need to split the group up into separate seminars. A workshop works well for this sort of subject, as one can combine lecture-style teaching with group work and discussion within the same hour. As linguistic analysis and problem solving form a large part of this module, students benefit from the workshop approach.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70N/A
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
SML8021A Comparative History of German and English: phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon.2N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M3060 minute in-class test
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MMock Exam.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The problem-solving skills practised in the course are best assessed by tests and a formal examination. Most of the questions have specific answers, which are best tested under examination conditions rather than as take-home coursework.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.