History of the English Language 1: Focus on Old English

Language of instruction



Students are required to have passed an introductory module in linguistics at bachelor level. The level of English language skills required for this course should correspond to the level achieved on successful completion of the Language Skills and Culture introductory module.


This module introduces students to the history of English and to English historical linguistics. It is intended for Bachelor students and students who have completed the Einführungsmodule (or equivalent in other programmes) and consists of two parts: a lecture and a seminar. The lecture provides an overview on the history of the English language from the Indo- European pre-history of English to the Norman Conquest of 1066. The seminar introduces the students to Old English (the language spoken and written in Britain between AD 450-1150). The module gives an insight into these early forms of English and provides guidance on how to read original texts in Old English with the help of glossaries. It also introduces some basic principles of English historical linguistics and of the study of early medieval English literature.

Learning outcomes

Students have basic knowledge of English historical linguistics (periods of language history, linguistic phenomena and their diachronic developments). They are able to read and understand simple Old English texts in the original using appropriate study tools.


Lecture, seminar, tutorial