ENG2166 – Middle English, introduction

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course gives an introduction to Middle English, a collective term for the language of texts dated c.1100-1500 AD. As there was no standard written language at the time, this period in the history of the English language is characterised by great regional, temporal and even individual variation, in spelling, lexicon and other linguistic features.

The course provides:

  • insights into the phonology, morphology and syntax of Middle English
  • a survey of Middle English dialects and dialectal diagnostic features
  • an overview of the types of written materials that survive from the period
  • an introduction to the principles of manuscript editing

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you will

  • understand the background for the linguistic situation in England in the period 1100-1500 AD;
  • know the linguistic structure and characteristics of Middle English;
  • have gained a basic knowledge of Middle English dialects and dialect features;
  • be able to localise Middle English texts from their spelling and other linguistic features;
  • be familiar with the written record of the Middle English period;
  • know the principles of manuscript studies;
  • understand the processes at work in the standardisation of English.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

This course requires ENG1100 - English Grammar, an introduction and ENG1103 - English Phonetics and Intonation, an introduction or similar courses.


The course is taught as a seminar, two hours per week for 14 weeks, 28 hours in total.

Students are expected to attend all teaching. The quality of the teaching depends on active participation in all seminars. If you are not able to attend, you must give notice to the seminar teacher no later than the same day as the absence.

If you miss a seminar, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you have covered the content.

Obligatory activities:

  • Students are required to submit two qualifying papers of 5 standard pages each at an appointed time. A standard page consists of 2,300 characters. Dates for submission will be announced at the beginning of the course. The essays must be approved by the course teacher for the student to be allowed to sit the final exam.

Read more about rules concerning valid excuses and how to apply for approved absences or postponements. 


The obligatory requirements must be fulfilled in order to qualify for the exam.

Autumn 2021: There will be a 4-hour take home exam at the end of the term.

Please note that the assessment of the course normally is based on a 4-hour written exam.

Assessment guidelines and previous exams.

Digital home examination

The home examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera.You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

 Read more about home examinations using Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The language of examination is English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Reports from periodic evaluations (in Norwegian)

Facts about this course






Autumn 2021


Autumn 2021

Teaching language