English in the British Isles

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
19 October 2020


Requisites for this module
LG210 or LG218



Key module for

BA QV3C English Language and History (Including Year Abroad),
BA QQ13 English Language and Linguistics,
BA QQ15 English Language and Linguistics (Including Placement Year),
BA QQ16 English Language and Linguistics (Including Foundation Year),
BA QQ3D English Language and Linguistics (Including Year Abroad),
MLINQA15 English Language and Lingistics (Including Placement Year),
MLINQA16 English Language and Linguistics (Including Year Abroad),
MLINQQ14 English Language and Linguistics,
BA QB36 English Language and Language Development (Including Year Abroad),
BA QQ3C English Language and Language Development,
BA QQ3F English Language and Language Development (Including Placement Year),
BA L390 English Language and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LQ31 English Language and Sociology

Module description

The module looks at the history and development of the English Language, and variation in English as it is spoken in England. The focus is on phonological variation, although salient syntactic, morphological and lexical features are also covered, illustrating with recordings wherever possible

Module aims

• To introduce students to the salient features of the major accents and dialects of English, including historical varieties of the language and the ways in which these varieties evolved
• To enable students to develop an informed view of the status of non-standard varieties of English
• To provide practice in linguistic analysis, phonetic transcription and elementary auditory training.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, you should have...

• An appreciation of why and how the English language changed over time.
• A comprehensive understanding of historical and sociolinguistic influences on language change.
• Gained insight into aspects of phonological and morphological variation.
• Gained a comprehensive understanding of concepts such as dialect and accent.
• Improved your transferable skills in auditory perception and phonetic transcription.

Module information

Module Moodle page

Learning and teaching methods

2-hour weekly lecture The lecture provides a general overview of the topic for the week, illustrated by recorded material where appropriate. Additional activities include the following: * analysing historical texts * listening to recordings and analysing them * practice in phonetic transcription * discussion of questions arising from the lecture * discussion of readings * question period


  • Hogg, Richard M. (c2002) An introduction to Old English, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Barber, Charles Laurence. (1993) The English language: a historical introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lass, Roger. (1987) The shape of English: structure and history, London: Dent.
  • Crystal, David. (2004) The stories of English, London: Allen Lane.
  • Britain, David. (2007) Language in the British Isles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Milroy, James; Milroy, Lesley. (1993) Real English: the grammar of English dialects in the British Isles, London: Longman. vol. Real language series
  • Horobin, Simon. (2013) Chaucer's language, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Wells, J. C. (1982) Accents of English, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Foulkes, Paul; Docherty, Gerard J. (1999) Urban voices: accent studies in the British Isles, London: Arnold.
  • Graddol, David; Open University. (2007) Changing English, London: Routledge. vol. English language
  • Fennell, Barbara A. (2001) A history of English: a sociolinguistic approach, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. vol. Blackwell textbooks in linguistics

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay or small project  23/04/2021  100% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Enam Al-Wer, email: enama@essex.ac.uk.
Professor Enam Al-Wer
Professor Enam Al-Wer, 4.202b, 872240, enama@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 1112 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
1112 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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