Introduction to Middle English The Language of Chaucer: Sex and Practical Jokes in the Miller’s Tale



Zeit/Ort n.V.

  • Mo 10:15-11:45, Raum C 301 ICS

The Sprachhistorisches Seminar belongs to the following modules in the indicated degree programs:

  • Lehramt Englisch an Gymnasien: Zwischenmodul L-GYM Linguistics| (Requirements: completed |Basismodul Linguistics)

– BA English and American Studies: Hauptmodul B| (Requirements: completed |Zwischenmodul II)

The course will conclude with a written test.


In this introductory course, we will explore the variety of Middle English employed by the 14th-century poet Geoffrey Chaucer. You will become familiar with the most important phonological, morphological, syntactic, lexical, and pragmatic features of Chaucer’s language as well as their origin and further development. This will provide you with a better understanding of (ir)regularities and characteristics of Present-day English, for example the discrepancy between spelling and writing (e.g. for /i:/ as in |see| /si:/), irregular forms such as plural |mice| instead of **|mouses|, and why we address everyone with |you| irrespective of number or politeness (cf. French |tu| and |vous|). The class also involves intensive reading and translation into German of "The Miller’s Tale" from Chaucer’s |Canterbury Tales|, a fabliau packed with witty exchanges, sex, and practical jokes, and "in many ways the most perfectly accomplished of the |Canterbury Tales|" (Pearsall 2003: 165).

Zusätzliche Informationen

Erwartete Teilnehmerzahl: 20