Introduction to Middle English



Zeit/Ort n.V.

  • Mo 16:15-17:45, ICS

The Seminar zur Sprachgeschichte belongs to the following modules in the indicated degree programs:

  • Lehramt Englisch an Gymnasien: Zwischenmodul L-GYM Linguistics|. (Requirements: completed |Basismodul Linguistics)
  • MA English Studies: English Historical Linguistics (together with the advanced seminar (Wallis))
  • MA Linguistik: English Historical Linguistics (together with the advanced seminar (Wallis))


In the Middle English period, commonly seen as stretching from the 12th to the 15th century, the English language is undergoing considerable changes: From a Modern English speaker’s point of view, the earliest texts from that period seem to be written in a foreign language, while later Middle English texts, such as those by Geoffrey Chaucer, are by and large easily understood. In this class, you will become familiar with the most important phonological, morphological, lexical, syntactic and dialectal features of Middle English as well as their origin and further development. This will provide you with a better understanding of (ir)regularities and characteristics of today’s English. For example: the discrepancy between spelling and writing (e.g. for /i:/ as in |see| /si:/), irregular forms such as the plural form |mice| (instead of |mouses|) or the irregular verb forms |ride-rode-ridden|, the fixed word order SVO or the origin of the wealth of synonyms in English (e.g. |kingly, royal, regal|). The class also involves intensive reading and translation of a text by Chaucer as well as shorter excerpts from other – earlier and later – Middle English works. The course will conclude with a written exam. Due to the pandemic, this course will be taught online (mix of asynchronous learning and live sessions via ZOOM). Further information will follow on StudOn.

Zusätzliche Informationen

Erwartete Teilnehmerzahl: 20