Foto: Matthias Friel
The seminar will examine the phonological, morphological and syntactic features of Middle English, i.e. of the language and its development between 1150 and 1500. Middle English is considered the period of the most drastic changes in the history of English. And so, based on the reading and analysis of excerpts from pieces of Middle English literature from different times and different regions, the seminar will focus on those changes which have altered the structure of English entirely: (1) sound changes: e.g. lengthening of vowels (findan > f[i:]nden) consonantal changes (godspelle > gospel) (2) Middle English morphology: e.g. reduction and loss of grammatical morphemes (3) syntactic structures in Middle English: e.g. the development of analytical constructions (Icc hafe don, Þi broþir is comen) word order, negation, complex sentences (4) the enrichment of the vocabulary and semantic change.
Relevant Passages from the following books (and other texts) will be made available on moodle:Horobin, Simon & Jeremy Smith. 2002. An Introduction to Middle English. Oxford: OUP. / or later version: Edinburgh University PressBurrow, J.A. and Thorlac Turville-Petre. 1992. A Book of Middle English. Blackwell.
final written exam (90 min)
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