Module Catalogue 2023/24

SEL3046 : English Grammar through Time (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr William van der Wurff
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
SEL1027Introduction to the Structure of Language 1: Syntax and Phonology
Pre Requisite Comment

SEL1027 or equivalent

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The aim of this module is for students to acquire a good knowledge of the main changes that have affected the grammar of English during its history. This will include an understanding of the mechanisms by which these changes have come about and their possible causes. Students will also learn how to collect data for the study of grammatical change in English and to critically assess and evaluate current research in the field.

Outline Of Syllabus

The themes to be covered in the lectures (further discussed/applied in the seminars) will include changes in the structure of NPs, the elements in the verb group, the forms of clausal constituents such as subjects and objects, word order and subordinate clauses, as well as various practical and theoretical issues involved in the study of such changes. There will be some discussion of developments in grammar at medieval stages of the language (Old and Middle English), but there will be a stronger focus on changes in more recent times (the period 1500-today).

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students that have successfully completed the module

1. know what main changes English grammar has undergone through time
2. have an understanding of the main ideas about the how and why of grammatical change
3. are acquainted with methods of textual analysis for grammatical purposes
4. have some awareness of the possibilities and limitations of corpus work on the history of English grammar

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students that have successfully completed the module

1. are able to identify the grammatical properties of historical English texts
2. are able to assess the value of analyses of grammatical change in English
3. are able to locate historical texts in digital format and explore them grammatically
4. are able to present research findings in writing
5. are able to understand and produce figures, tables, and graphs

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion153:0053:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading184:0084:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:0020:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SEL8329Diachronic Syntax
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures will introduce the material listed under the Knowledge Outcomes. In the seminars, this material will be further discussed and illustrated with reference to actual texts and published studies of such texts, contributing further to the Knowledge Outcomes and practising the Skills Outcomes.

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 exercise1M50N/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Rationale will be detailed in the module handbook.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 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 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.