Module Catalogue 2018/19

SEL1012 : Language Through Time: Introduction to the History of English (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr William van der Wurff
  • Lecturer: Dr Adam Mearns
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
SEL1027Introduction to the Structure of Language 1: Syntax and Phonology
Pre Requisite Comment

For exchange students: an introductory module on English syntax and phonetics

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



(1) To introduce ideas and concepts relevant to the study of linguistic variation and change;
(2) To introduce students to the history and diachronic analysis of the English language;
(3) To utilise the concepts and structures established in SEL1027 and apply them to historical data;
(4) To provide the foundation for more detailed and specific studies of linguistic variation, linguistic change and the history of the English language, in second and third year modules.

Outline Of Syllabus

There will be two lectures and one seminar each week. The lectures will cover themes related to the what and how of language change (weeks 1-3), the why and wherefore of language change (weeks 3-5), change in prehistoric and early medieval English (weeks 5-7), late medieval and early Modern English (weeks 8-9), and Late Modern English (weeks 10-12). These topics will be further illustrated, discussed and applied in the seminar meetings (weeks 1-12).

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students that have successfully completed this module
(1) have gained knowledge of some of the resources available for the historical study of the English language, including electronic ones;
(2) have a basic knowledge of concepts relevant to the study of language change;
(3) have a basic knowledge of the main linguistic developments in the history of English;
(4) have a basic knowledge of the main social and political events relevant to the description of English during particular periods of its history.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students that have successfully completed this module
(1) have developed the analytical skills necessary to examine historical English texts at the orthographical, lexical, morphological, phonological and syntactic levels;
(2) are able to present orally their own linguistic analyses of historical texts;
(3) are able to understand and apply concepts relevant to the study of linguistic change;
(4) are able to demonstrate this understanding in the written format of an essay meeting general academic requirements.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Assessed
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Present
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Present
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Present
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion136:0036:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1118:00118:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity101:0010:00Seminar preparation in study groups
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to impart information, demonstrate and discuss historical linguistic methodology and reasoning, and provide overall coherence for the module.

Seminars will be used to build skills in historical linguistic analysis and will therefore focus on work with concrete lingustic material of various types. They also aim to enhance understanding of approaches to historical texts from a linguistic perspective, practise and improve oral presentation skills.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A60N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M10A short written assignment (400 words) on an aspect of linguistic change
Written exercise2M10A short written assignment (400 words) on a historical English text
Written exercise2A20An essay-type assignment (800 words) on a set topic in the field of language change
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MA brief presentation analysing a passage of 18th-century English
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formative assessment asks students to analyse a (short) historical text, giving them further practice in this essential component of the module. The presentation format means that all students will see many examples of such analysis in action within a single seminar hour.

The first two written exercises allow students to demonstrate their level of attainment of the intended skills outcomes. The third written exercise in addition allows students to demonstrate their discursive writing skills, as introduced in the first-semester module SEL1029.

The exam paper allows students to demonstrate (under controlled conditions) their full command of the knowledge and analytical skills imparted in the lectures and practised in the seminars.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 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 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.