Module Catalogue 2022/23

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

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • 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
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion671:0067:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching22:004:00Present-in-Person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching261:0026:00Present-in-Person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00Present-in-Person
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1001:00100:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SML8021Comparative History of German and English: phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

In the seminars we will combine lecture-style teaching with group work. 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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M3060 minute in-class test
Essay2M702500 - 2800 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MPractice essay plan.
Written exercise2MMock test
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The problem-solving skills practised in the first part of the course are best assessed by an in-class test. Most of the questions have specific answers, which are best tested under examination conditions rather than as take-home coursework.

For the second part of the course, the essay allows students to choose a topic that interests them and examine it in more detail by doing their own research.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 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 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.