Universität Wien FIND

122222 SE Linguistics Seminar / BA Paper (2020W)


11.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 18 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

This is a so-called HYBRID course,
most sessions (incl. the first one) will take place online in Big Blue Button but the last three sessions will take place in the classroom in small groups (of 6-8 people):

13.01 (face-to-face presentations)
20.01 (face-to-face presentations)
27.01 (face-to-face presentations)

NB: As a student you will ONLY have to be present at the department for ONE of the three presentation dates in January
In case the COVID-19 situation worsens, we will switch to a complete online course!!!

Wednesday 07.10. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Wednesday 14.10. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Wednesday 21.10. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Wednesday 28.10. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Wednesday 04.11. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Wednesday 11.11. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Wednesday 18.11. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Wednesday 25.11. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Wednesday 02.12. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Wednesday 09.12. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Wednesday 16.12. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Wednesday 13.01. 16:15 - 17:45 Hybride Lehre
Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Wednesday 20.01. 16:15 - 17:45 Hybride Lehre
Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Wednesday 27.01. 16:15 - 17:45 Hybride Lehre
Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13


Aims, contents and method of the course

In this corpus-based BA seminar we will investigate the process of Subjectification in language change. When doing so, we will focus on the Early English Period. Students will write an empirical BA paper based on their findings in the EEBO corpus. Early English Books Online (EEBO) is a collection of texts from the 1470s to the 1690s. Students will empirically analyze one case of subjectification:
The development of intensifying adverbs like pretty, terribly, horribly, fucking, damn…
The development of some discourse markers, like well, I think, you know, sort of /kind of,…
The development of some modal verbs (may, might,...)

In historical (or diachronic) linguistics, subjectification (also known as subjectivization or subjectivisation) is a language change process in which a linguistic expression acquires meanings that convey the speaker's attitude or viewpoint. One English example is the development of the string 'kind of', which exclusively used to mean a 'type/sort of X' (e.g. a kind of flower). Nowadays, the usage/semantics of kind of has changed – among other things - turning it into a discourse marker (e.g. I lied to him, kind of) which is used to express the speaker’s interpersonal evaluation of the situation.

Another example would be 'after all' which used to mean 'after everything' but came to be used as a concessive (e.g. It wasn’t a movie after all /‘despite what we thought’, it was real) and as the speaker’s justification for what is said or done (e.g.Their values and interests are, after all, opposed to ours).
Subjectification, is a pragmatic-semantic process, which includes semantic bleaching/shifts and is related to grammaticalization. Subjectification is realized in lexical and grammatical change. It is also of interest to cognitive linguistics and pragmatics.

Assessment and permitted materials

Course evaluation is based on:
60% seminar paper
20% paper proposal
20% short presentation

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The minimum requirements for passing the course are:
• regular online attendance (max. 2 absences)
• handing in the proposal
• giving the oral presentation (on set date)
• handing in the seminar paper (on time)

The pass rate is > 60%. To pass the course successfully, the final seminar paper has to be positive, if not the whole course is an automatic fail. Final grades & points (%) achieved: Sehr gut: 90-100; Gut: 80-89; Befriedigend: 70-79; Genügend: 60-69; Nicht Genügend: 0-59

Examination topics

- will learn about grammaticalization and subjectification
- Discourse markers and other interpersonal expressions
- will engage with Early Modern English
- will learn how to trace and investigate semantic change in a corpus
- will learn how to write an empirical, corpus-based paper

Reading list

will be announced on Moodle and in the first session

Association in the course directory

Studium: UF 344, BA 612
Code/Modul: UF 4.2.3-222, BA06.2
Lehrinhalt: 12-2222

Last modified: Mo 05.10.2020 10:09