History of English ENGLANG4037

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course is an introduction to English historical linguistics, focusing mainly on the early modern period to the present. We look at the history of English through all levels of language (speech, writing, grammar, and the lexicon) and will also use some new and innovative techniques in the field (including the use of electronic resources, historical pragmatics, and sociolinguistic approaches to the past).


1 x 2hr session per week (comprising 1x1hr lecture; 1x 1hr seminar) over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Honours options in English Language and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into English Language and Linguistics, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University 's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Essay (2500 words) - 50%

Portfolio of technical exercises - 50%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to:

■ understand the general processes underlying the history of English;

■ engage with the principles of the historical study of English at a theoretical level;

■ apply these principles to the study of particular texts.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ apply theoretical concepts in English historical linguistics to selected developments in the history of the language;

■ apply electronic resources for historical linguists to the study of English;

■ develop critical analytical skills using the principles of language change (with discussion of the limits of explanation and the various theories put forward for understanding language change).

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.