ENG4119 – Early Modern English

Course content

This course introduces you to the Early Modern English period between 1500 and 1700 – to the Renaissance, the Reformation, and Shakespeare. We study the linguistic features of Early Modern English, and how they differ from present-day English, both with reference to theoretical descriptions and to authentic texts. We also consider Early Modern English in the context of the processes of language change that English has undergone. In addition, emphasis will be placed on understanding language and language change in the context of the historical period.

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you will

  • be able to account for the main lexical, morpho-syntactic and phonological features of the period
  • ba able to identify and analyze a number of early modern English texts
  • be able to give an overview of the background for the linguistic changes that took place in this period
  • be able to account for some of the main cultural and historical aspects of the period


Seminar, 2 hours per week for 14 weeks , 28 hours in total. Attendance is obligatory at least 11 out of 14 seminars.  Additional absences must be justified by documentation given to the exam coordinator. Active participation is expected.


The exam consists of a final four-hour written exam.

To sit the final exam, candidates must have submitted two qualifying papers, and these must have been approved.

Digital examination

The written 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 written examinations using Inspera.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in 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

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






This course is taught irregularly.

It was originally planned for spring 2017, but due to few students signing up, it will not be taught at this time.

If you have any questions, contact the advisor for this course

Teaching language