Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

English Historical Linguistics ENGLANG5078

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course provides Masters-level students with more advanced study in English historical linguistics. The course focusses on theoretical principles of language change with reference to all levels of language (grammar, lexicon and transmission), on issues of evidence, on new resources (such as the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary) and on the historiography of English historical linguistics. Students develop their historical linguistic skills by studying specified texts from a variety of periods in the history of the English.


2 hour seminars weekly for 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


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

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses






A critical review (1000 words)

A summative essay or (where appropriate) portfolio of essays/exercises (4000 words)

Course Aims

This course will provide students with the opportunity to:

■ facilitate a critical understanding of the principal areas of English historical linguistics, including the range of approaches and methodologies for each area

■ familiarise students with the main specialised analytical research tools for studying the history of English using primary texts and data

■ provide a framework within which students can undertake research into the principles of language change at all levels of language critically assess the evidence for language

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

- critically review and evaluate a range of approaches and methods for English historical linguistics

- apply a wide range of specialised analytic skills, techniques and tools, informed by forefront developments, for the study of a specialist topic in English historical linguistics

- plan, execute, and present the results of an analysis of a body of data relevant to the topic

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.