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Undergraduate course

English Linguistics: History of English

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeENG221
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Teaching semester


Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content

In English linguistics at 200-level, students take the same course as either ENG221 (school exam) or ENG261 (term paper).

The course provides an introduction to central aspects of the historical development of English. The course may either examine several of the stages in this development, or focus on one specific period. Moreover, the course may cover both language-internal and language-external aspects, and examine features of word and sentence structure, pronunciation, vocabulary and spelling.

In addition to the theoretical literature, the course will normally include the study of primary texts from an earlier stages of English.

ENG221 is an elective course in the specialization in English at the 200-level.

Students specializing in linguistics, in addition to ENG221, take the following courses:

- ENG263 (term paper in modern linguistics) and

- One course in English literature and culture, either ENG222 or ENG224.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

- has an extended understanding of the English language from a historical perspective

- has insight into the principles of language change in general and an understanding of changes in English in particular


The student

- is able to discuss and analyse English in light of historical developments

General competence


- have developed a critical and independent approach to central linguistic questions

- are able to express themselves in correct academic English

Required Previous Knowledge

While there is no formal requirement, the course reading and instruction presuppose that students have in-depth knowledge of English grammar and phonetics, equivalent to good exam results in ENG114, ENG115, ENG107, ENG108/118 and ENG109/119..

Recommended Previous Knowledge

It is highly recommended that students have completed EXFAC00SK Basic Linguistics, ENG100, ENG114, ENG115, ENG107, ENG108/118 and ENG109/119 with a good result, or have equivalent knowledge (cf. Required Previous Knowledge).

For students with a background other than the Norwegian school system, a level of competence in English corresponding to C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is recommended.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

Due to course overlap, a student cannot receive credits for ENG221 in combination with ENG201 (5 ECTS) ENG211/251 (5 ECTS) and ENG261 (10 ECTS).

Access to the Course

The course is open to all students admitted to the University of Bergen.

For exchange students:
Applicants have to document English language proficiency to access the course. Students should hold a level of C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR). For valid tests, please see uib.no/exchange.

Teaching and learning methods

Seminars: up to 24 hours (normally 2 hours per week for 12 weeks).

In the case that fewer than five students register for a course, the organized teaching may be adapted to fit the number of students. If this occurs, students will be informed at the start of the semester, and before the registration deadline 1. February/1. September.

Students are expected to be actively present in. This expectation is also the basis for the preparation towards the exam.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

There are no compulsory assignments, but the students will be given a written task, and it is recommended that students complete this task.

Forms of Assessment

In the spring semester 2021, the form of assessment has been changed from school exam to a 4-hour written examination from home + 1 hour technical time, as a measure to prevent transmission of the corona virus.

Examination Support Material

All aids/support materials are allowed during the take-home exam.

Grading Scale

The exam is marked on the grade scale A-F, where F is a fail.

Assessment Semester

An exam in ENG221 is offered each semester - the regular exam at the end of the spring semester and the re-take exam in the middle of the fall semester.

Reading List

The reading list is comprised of general topics in the history of English, as well as primary texts. The reading list will be available by 1 December for the Spring Semester.

Course Evaluation

The teaching is evaluated in accordance with the quality control system of the University of Bergen.

Programme Committee

The Programme Board is responsible for the academic content and structure of the study programme, and for the quality of all the subjects therein.

Course Administrator

The Department of Foreign Languages at the Faculty of Humanities has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.

Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: Written examination

    14.10.2021, 09:00
    5 hours
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam