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Philology 4: Early Modern Everyday English


Admission requirements

Philology 3 (or equivalent)


Abuse, cooking recipes, depositions, journals, letters, memoirs, presentments and wills: these are all different text types the study of which aims to illustrate the use of English other than that commonly found in printed documents. In this course, we will read a large variety of texts to study everyday English as it was used from the year 1500 onwards, and during the Early Modern English period (1500-1700) in particular. We will focus on differences between these texts and printed documents, as well as from present-day Standard English. In addition, we will look at texts by men and women, as well as by people from different sociolinguistic backgrounds, including people who were practically illiterate. We will concentrate on spelling, pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and style of writing.

Course objectives

This course builds on experience acquired during the first three semesters of the BA curriculum in English philology, particularly as it regards Old and Middle English language and the history of the English language.
At the end of the course, students
1. will have a good insight into the nature and language of different text types from the Early Modern English period (1500–1700), and of their relationship with the more standard printed texts of the time
2. will be able to analyse and identify the textual and linguistic characteristics of a large variety of text types typical of the period
3. will have a good knowledge of the spelling, morphology and syntax of Early Modern (standard and ) non-standard texts as well as of the typical lexis of the text types dealt with
4. will have acquired good working experience of relevant tools for studying and analysing texts from the period
5. will be able apply their skills when choosing and writing a BA thesis in the field of Early (or Late) Modern English.


Time and date on which the course is offered or a link to the website. The administration will complete this with the link to the website.
The timetable is available on the BA English website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

The course load of this course is 140 hours.

  • attending lectures and seminars: 26 hours

  • studying the compulsory literature/preparing weekly assignments: 60 hours

  • preparing for an oral presentation and writing of the final paper (including reading/research): 15 + 40 hours

Assessment method

  • presentation (15%)

  • final paper (75%)

  • weekly contribution in class (10%)

Students will have successfully passed the course if the average course mark is a 6 or higher.
If the final grade is 5 or less, students may only resit the insufficient course component(s). Students may not resit the weekly contribution in class (10%).
Attendance is compulsory. Unauthorized absence will mean that you cannot take part in the final evaluation for the course.


There will be a Blackboard module for the course where the weekly programme and other relevant information can be found. Students will be expected to post weekly comments and/or questions on the basis of their reading. These comments are part of the mark for their weekly participation in the course.

Reading list

Nevalainen, Terttu (2006). An Introduction to Early Modern English Edinburgh University Press.
Cusack, Bridget (1998). Everyday English 1500 – 1700. A Reader Edinburgh University Press.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory. Please note that students other than BA English language and culture studies will have to have permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Student administration Van Eyckhof


Students are expected to be in possession of the coursebooks from week 1 onwards.