ELL351 : Historical Pragmatics

Convener(s): Dr Graham Williams


Please note: This module may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the course Convenor.

General Information

How are early handwritten letters similar to emails? How do they differ?
How did one go about writing a medieval Valentine?
Can Elizabethans be considered rude in comparison with present-day English usage?

These are questions to do with historical pragmatics - a field of study that considers how people went about communicating in earlier periods, and what was important to them when they did so. This module will introduce some of the basic concepts in historical pragmatics (e.g. (im)politeness, speech acts and address terms) and apply these to the study of the letter-form in English (from medieval love letters to present-day emails).


Teaching will be by a combination of lectures and seminars.


Assessment for the course will be based on weekly online quizzes (via MOLE), a group poster presentation and one final essay.

Contact Details

Dr Graham Williams, Ext 28460


Information last changed: Monday 10th of August 2015 :: 12:40:01 PM (BST)

course convener.


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK