Module Catalogue 2018/19

SEL2212 : Early English: Texts, Patterns and Varieties

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Adam Mearns
  • Lecturer: Dr William van der Wurff, Dr Joel Wallenberg
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
SEL1012Language Through Time: Introduction to the History of English
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



• To develop students' competence in reading texts from a variety of periods in the history of English;
• To develop students’ ability to analyse linguistic features of texts;
• To build on the knowledge and skills relating to the history of English gained in SEL 1012;
• To enhance students’ knowledge of the processes by which the English language has evolved into its present-day state;
• To develop competence in using dictionaries, historical corpora and other electronic resources.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module is taught in two lectures and one seminar per week. The lectures provide a chronological survey of English, examining the major features of Old English, Middle English, and Early and Late Modern English. They also explore special topics such as standard languages, variation and language contact, with examples drawn from Scots, Irish and American as well as English varieties. The seminars examine the language in action by focusing on reading and analysis of texts which range across the centuries and across genre, from chronicle to letters and recipes to poetry. Two seminars take the form of visits (one to historic sites in Northumbria, the other to examine manuscripts and early printed books) which focus on language in particular historic and cultural contexts.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students who have successfully completed this module
(1) have a good knowledge of the historical evolution of English;
(2) have a good knowledge of the way linguistic properties of English in its various periods can be expected to manifest themselves in texts;
(3) have gained a good knowledge of the resources that can aid the understanding of historical texts in English, including dictionaries and electronic corpora;
(4) have a good knowledge of the mechanisms of language change.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students who have successfully completed this module
(1) are able to independently examine historical English texts at all levels of linguistic structure;
(2) are able to apply with ease concepts and theories relevant to linguistic change;
(3) are able to present their own in-depth analysis of specific properties of historical texts.

Graduate Skills Framework

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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion148:0048:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading153:0053:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity120:0020:00inc. 10 hours directed groupwork
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study126:0026:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SEL8361The Social History of English
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to provide information about the features of the English language in its various periods, outline historical contexts, demonstrate and discuss methods and resources for text analysis, and provide overall coherence for the module.

Seminars will focus on detailed textual work of various types. They also aim to enhance understanding of approaches to historical texts from a linguistic perspective, and to 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 Examination902A50N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M351500 words
Prof skill assessmnt2M15This will either take the form of a collaborative oral presentation or an individual poster presentation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination focuses mainly on close analysis of texts, informed by background knowledge; it also provides a chance to synthesise data and ideas in a short discursive essay. The submitted essay enables students to apply their knowledge more broadly, to investigate a chosen topic and to develop their written expression. The presentation assignment arises from the essay. It assesses the student’s ability to synthesize information concisely and present it coherently in oral/written form.


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.