English Language and Linguistics BA

English Language and Linguistics

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
Q304
Start date:
September 2018

Our interdisciplinary approach to study means you choose from a wide range of specialist areas – and examine language from psychological, cultural and historical perspectives.

From child language acquisition to forensic linguistics – our extensive range of modules and supportive learning environment enable you to graduate with the skills to develop your career in any direction you desire.

You'll be part of a close-knit community of staff and students who all support each other.

Choosing Sussex – Zoe Fuller, English Language and Literature BA

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass in the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 24 at Distinction.

 

Subjects

The Access to HE Diploma should be in the humanities or social sciences.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.     

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma)

Typical offer

DDD

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade B and AB in two A-levels.

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.     

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 77%

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually do not accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses. However, we do consider applicants who have studied 1 or more years of Higher Education in China at a recognised degree awarding institution or who are following a recognised International Foundation Year.

If you are interested in applying for a business related course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, you will normally also need a grade B in Mathematics from the Huikao or a score of 90 in Mathematics from the Gaokao.

Applicants who have the Senior High School Graduation may be eligible to apply to our International Foundation Year, which if you complete successfully you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex. You can find more information about the qualifications which are accepted by our International Study Centre at  http://isc.sussex.ac.uk/entry-requirements/international-foundation-year .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto with an overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.0.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 13/20.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at H1,H2,H2,H3,H3.

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 81/100.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole - Pass with an overall average of at least 4.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Spanish Título de Bachillerato (LOGSE) with an overall average result of at least 8.0.

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills.

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing.

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

Transfers into Year 2

Yes. Find out more about transferring into Year 2 of this course. We don’t accept transfers into the third or final year.

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • We are 1st in the UK for career prospects (The Guardian University Guide 2018, The Complete University Guide 2018 and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
  • Ranked in the top 15 in the UK (The Guardian University Guide 2018, The Complete University Guide 2018 and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
  • Ranked 9th in the UK in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014 REF) and in the top 100 in the world for English (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017).

Course information

How will I study?

You are introduced to the core areas of linguistic study. This includes word meaning, pronunciation and grammar.

You also study language use in real and fictional contexts.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules


Customise your course

At Sussex, you can choose to customise your course to build the sort of degree that will give you the knowledge, skills and experience that could take you in any direction you choose.

Explore subjects different to your course – electives and pathways allow you to complement your main subject. Find out what opportunities your course offers

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

How will I study?

You study major theories of language, the history of English, and English variation and change in depth.

Option topics may include:

  • approaches to discourse
  • child language acquisition
  • pidgins and creoles
  • theoretical approaches to grammar
  • translation between languages, culture and media.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

At Sussex, you can choose to customise your course to build the sort of degree that will give you the knowledge, skills and experience that could take you in any direction you choose.

Explore subjects different to your course – electives and pathways allow you to complement your main subject. Find out what opportunities your course offers

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

Study abroad (optional)

Apply to study abroad – you’ll develop an international perspective and gain an edge when it comes to your career. Find out where your course could take you.

Placement (optional)

A placement is a great way to network and gain practical skills. When you leave Sussex, you’ll benefit from having the experience employers are looking for. Find out more about placements and internships.

Please note

If you’re receiving – or applying for – USA federal Direct Loan funds, you can’t transfer to the version of this program with an optional study abroad period in any country or optional placement in the USA. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid

How will I study?

Your final year focuses on preparing you for the research and writing of your final-year dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Alongside this research training, you have access to a range of specialist topics including:

  • theoretical approaches to phonology
  • corpus linguistics
  • intercultural communication
  • language and gender
  • discourse of film and television
  • forensic linguistics.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options

An emphasis on research – Zoe Fuller, English Language and Literature BA

I am part of a team developing tools to link the identities of people across historical records, ranging from medieval charters to 20th-century war records.”Dr Lynne Cahill
Lecturer in Language and Linguistics

Fees

Fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. Note that your fees, once they’re set, may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

The UK Government has confirmed that if you’re an EU student applying for entry in September 2018, you'll pay the same fee rate as UK students for the duration of your course, even if the UK leaves the EU before the end of your course. You'll also continue to have access to student loans and grants. Find out more on the UK Government website.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Our focus is personal development and social mobility. To help you meet your ambitions to study at Sussex, we deliver one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university.

Careers

Graduate destinations

English and English Language at Sussex is ranked 1st in the UK for graduate prospects (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017). 

100% of English Language and Linguistics students were in work or further study six months after graduating, with 91% of employed students in graduate-level jobs. Recent graduates have gone on to jobs including:

  • assistant account executive, Weber Shandwick
  • content editor, Data Surgery Ltd
  • campaign assistant, Affiliate Window.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

Our degrees prepare you for a range of careers involving communication – from journalism, PR and new media to language teaching and speech and language therapy.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Thanks to the Wired Sussex Internship and the research skills I acquired, I found a marketing role with an online company.”Alex Blackman
English Language and Linguistics BA 

Career ambitions – Zoe Fuller, English Language and Literature BA

Approaches to Meaning

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

In this module exploration of word meaning introduces you to general linguistic concepts, terminology, methods and resources, while developing skills in linguistic analysis, research and argumentation. You will investigate meaning from psychological, social, historical, theoretical, and descriptive perspectives. Questions that may be considered include: what do you know when you know a word? Where is meaning located (in the word, society, or the mind)? How many meanings can a word have? How do meanings change? How do words/meanings differ among dialects and social situations? How do we learn meanings? You will explore such questions in small, individual research projects.

Approaches to Pronunciation

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

The module introduces central themes relating to sound patterns and pronunciation in languages, with a focus on English.

You will be given the opportunity to acquire knowledge and understanding of the production of sounds, and to acquire the skills necessary to describe, define and transcribe consonants, vowels and certain non-segmental features such as stress and rhythm, using the International Phonetic Alphabet.

You are also introduced to fundamental concepts related to contrast and meaning in sound structures and to fundamental concepts in phonology that go beyond the description of individual sounds, such as syllable structure, stress, and phonological processes.

Approaches to Grammar

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces you to descriptive grammar. You will explore questions such as: what do speakers know about the grammar of their language, consciously and unconsciously? How can we use speakers' knowledge to uncover the 'hidden rules' of language? What is the internal structure of words and how can we go about grouping words into categories so that we can label them and describe their general properties? How are words grouped together within a sentence?  What sorts of tests can we use to uncover and describe this internal structure of sentences? What does it mean to describe something as 'subject' or 'object'?  What kinds of grammatical differences distinguish a statement from a question or a command?  What's the difference between verbs like 'must' and 'love'? How are complex noun phrases structured? How can we identify clauses inside sentences, and what are they doing there?

This module will provide you with an understanding of the way in which words and sentences are constructed, and will equip you with the skills to break sentences down into their constituent parts, to construct and test hypotheses, and to represent sentence structure by means of tree diagrams.  The module will be based on English and other languages. 

Investigating Language in Context

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces the study of language beyond sentence and clause level, in real-life and fictional contexts. Following an introduction to the features of spoken language, the module focuses on conversation analysis, the approach to discourse as structured interaction, and on the discussion of some theoretical models for the investigation of contextualized exchanges, such as Grice's Cooperative Principle and Politeness theory. On this module you are presented with the methodological issues of language transcription and data collection. Aiming to introduce the notion of variation in discourse, you will be shown how in different contexts different conversational patterns are produced, and how such factors as gender, class or status can affect conversation.

The module also offers a reflection on the difference between authentic and fictional/represented conversation in both drama and film and from a conversation analysis perspective. You will be given insight into issues of characterisation and point of view through discourse representation. 

Great Ideas about Language

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module explores the history of ideas about language from the Enlightenment to the present. Through lectures and seminars we will explore the answers to the following: what questions have propelled linguists and philosophers at different points in history? How have the attempts to answer them influenced and been influenced by the intellectual milieu of the day? How do our assumptions about what language is affect what counts as evidence in investigating it? How have these ideas fared through the decades? Key topics that we will consider include: the birth of linguistics in the shift from diachronic to synchronic studies, Chomskyan rationalism and innatism, the linguistic turn in philosophy, the relation between language and thought, European structuralism and functionalism, and the cognitive turn.

History of English

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module will provide you with the groundwork for understanding the shape and status of the English language.

The module is divided between the study of the ways in which it has changed since the Old English period, and the study of the social and cultural contexts in which those changes have happened. Special attention is given to the emergence of key dialects and to the relations between English and other languages in the British Isles.

You will also gain experience of a range of different varieties of English. History of English I focuses on the Middle English to Modern English periods, exploring the changing phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and lexical semantics of English. You will also explores new Englishes and pidgin/creole varieties.

Language in the United States

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module assesses the linguistic landscape of the United States from the colonial period onward and examines the linguistic and social forces that have brought the US to its current linguistic state.

We consider how a nation of such size and diverse history has managed without an explicit language policy, arriving at a de facto standardised national language.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • What is the native linguistic landscape of North America? (How) have European and native American languages interacted?
  • What was ‘English’ in the colonial period? How did expansion and immigration change the linguistic landscape?
  • What is ‘American’ about ‘American English’? How is it different from other national varieties? Why isn’t it more different from other Englishes?
  • How was language standardisation achieved? Which institutions, individuals and events affected it?
  • Are there particularly ‘American’ forms or uses of linguistic communication?
  • Is American English a threat to other linguistic varieties?

Regional Variation in English

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module provides an introduction to regional variation in the English language. The module is divided between an overview of the types of variation found and a practical part in which students will have the opportunity to explore an aspect of variation and/or change in an original research project. The first part will discuss aspects of accent variation, looking at major parameters of phonological differences and introducing some key accents in greater detail, and also explore grammatical and lexical differences between different regional varieties. Attention is also given to 'new' Englishes and creoles and their phonological, lexical and grammatical features.

The other part will provide students with the tools to conduct their own empirical analyses, including methods of data collection and an introduction to phonetic analysis software, and connect back to the Variation in English I module by bringing regional and social variation together in the students' own linguistic analyses of selected varieties of English.

Approaches to Discourse

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module will introduce you to methods of studying various forms of discourse (both spoken and written). You will familiarise yourself with a number of different theoretical approaches to discourse and will understand the methodological premises on which they are based. Having being exposed to issues of data collection and transcription and to the conversation analysis framework in year 1, you will approach the study of discourse analysis and pragmatics from both a theoretical and an applied perspective.

Following the discussion of such theoretical approaches as ethnography of communication, critical discourse analysis, corpus and computer-assisted discourse analysis, you will focus on some of the aspects of institutional discourse for instance the discourse of the media, of politics and education. Emphasis is laid on how ideology, identity, or stance are expressed and conveyed through discourse.

Child Language Acquisition

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you explore how children learn their first language. 

During the module we'll look at language data from children and their carers to investigate questions such as:

  • what processes are involved in learning language and learning to use it?
  • to what extent is language an innate faculty in humans?
  • does it matter how we talk to children or will they acquire good language skills regardless?
  • does one lose language-learning ability as one gets older?
  • is language learning dependent on general cognitive abilities or intelligence?
  • to what extent are language acquisition processes universal or language-specific?

Social Variation in English

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module will introduce you to sociolinguistic methods of studying language and to social variation in the use of the English language (and other relevant languages when appropriate). You will focus on important social dimensions of variation, such as age, gender, ethnicity, social class and language use, taking a modern, quantitative approach to social variation. This module will therefore also provide you with an introduction to quantitative methods in linguistics more generally. In addition, you will cover important theories of social variation, such as social network theory, accommodation theory, etc. and discuss the issue of language and power/ideology. Some of your seminars will be organised as workshops, for acquiring practical skills in the description and analysis of variation in language.

Research Proposal (English Language)

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module consists of taught sessions in which research, writing, and editing methods are discussed and practised, supplemented by your own independent research. During the module, you will learn how to identify an interesting project, how to ask an interesting research question and how to do the necessary preparatory groundwork. By the end of the module you will have identified the topic and written a proposal for your Research Dissertation, on the basis of which you will be assigned a supervisor.

Research Dissertation (English Language)

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module follows on from Research Proposal. In this module you will conduct the research project outlined in your proposal, write a dissertation outline, give a presentation on your research, and write up your research dissertation. You will be supported by means of regular meetings with your supervisor (one-to-one and group meetings), by peer-group editing and support sessions, by special skills workshops, as needed (for example, on statistics, phonetics software, using MS-Word effectively), and by Study Direct discussions.

Forensic Linguistics

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module we look at the interaction between linguistics and the law and more specifically we focus on the face-threatening strategies of deception, manipulation and aggression. This is a practical module in which we study the ways that linguistics can be applied in non-academic contexts. We start by examining the role of the linguist as an expert witness in the legal system and in this section we focus on the use of stylistics in investigating disputed authorship, for instance in missing person cases. We also examine and evaluate research into linguistic markers of deception.

In the second part of the module we analyse the language used in the legal process with a particular focus on courtroom discourse and police interviews. You will visit a courtroom and report back on the language practices you observed. We will describe the norms of courtroom discourse with particular reference to the pragmatic and discourse features. Subsequently, we focus on the ways in which certain groups may be linguistically disadvantaged in that process and how they are, or could be, protected from discrimination.

In the final part we briefly address the ways in which the law is applied to language, for instance in determining what counts as hate speech or libel.

Linguistic Typology

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Whaley (1997: 7) defines linguistic typology as 'the classification of languages or components of languages based on shared formal characteristics.' In this module, we investigate some of the structural similarities and differences between the languages of the world, focusing on the patterns that are found in grammar (morphology and syntax). Which features co-occur within a language? Why are some patterns common across languages and others rare? We explore the principles of research in language typology, including establishing representative language samples, and look at grammatical phenomena including basic word order, word structure, case systems, relative clauses, interrogatives and information structure.

Phonology

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

You study current phonological theory, covering both theories of phonological representations, such as:

  • distinctive features
  • autosegmental phonology
  • feature geometry
  • syllables and other prosodic phenomena like stress and tone.  

You also look at theories of phonological operations including:

  • rules
  • ordered derivations
  • lexical strata and cyclic derivations
  • constraints and constraint interaction
  • Optimality Theory.

The module is data-oriented, and phonological generalisations will emerge through the analysis of data sets.

You look at data from varieties of English as well as from a range of typologically different languages, shedding light on how English relates to other languages typologically, and what the parameters and limits of phonological variation are.

The Discourse of Social and Personal Identity

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The module presents the concept of identity as socially constructed, as communicatively produced and constantly negotiated and reinvented. The focus is on situated talk and especially narrative, although not exclusively, as social practice. The module is divided into two sections that aim to presents two facets of the identity issue. The first part revolves around the negotiation of personal identity in a number of different contexts, from courtroom testimony to negotiations in committee meetings (along the line of work by Gumperz and Goffman). It considers the issue of positioning of self and others especially through the use of deixis, time and space. This first section includes the consideration of some of the sociolinguistic literature on self-narratives in interaction and oral history in a number of social settings, from immigrant discourse to traumatic recollections. Discussion of some TV programmes revolving around personal stories will be included as an opportunity to reflect on the impact of the medium and the function of 'infotainment' on identity.

The second part of the module focuses on the representation by others. It discusses the media representation of given communities and highlights the ideology that such representation construes in the readers' mind. Examples from case studies are the Islamic community in the UK press (Poole, 2002), the representation of countries at war, eg the Iraqis during the 2003 conflict (Haarman and Lombardo eds. 2008), the identity that some political parties offer to their constituency in TV interviews etc.

Contemporary Stylistics: The discourse of film and drama

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The module introduces you to the main issues and themes in the study of language and literature with specific reference to those narrative forms in which the viewers are actively involved as 'ratified overhearers'. These include film and drama in which the discourse reflects the typical double plane of communication between the characters in the story, on one level, and the external viewers on the other. The module revolves around the idea that theatre and film offer re-presentations of the world. In so doing they reorganise and recreate language, together with time and space, in respect of socio-cultural and media conventions and expectations. The module familiarises you with a number of approaches and practices in modern stylistics and explores such issues as characterisation, the relation between real-life and fictional talk, deixis and the construction of viewpoint and the notion of narrative. The module also discusses the concept of genre and focuses on the specific discursive representation within the confines of comedy, drama, horror and on what can be defined hybrid genres.

Language and Gender

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module students explore the relationship between language and gender/ sexuality from a wide range of theoretical perspectives. Although the module mainly takes a linguistic perspective on the construct of gender by enabling students to draw on their knowledge of sociolinguistics, language change, and discourse analysis, it also provides students with an opportunity to discuss the construct of gender by exploring relevant areas of sociology, anthropology, ethnography, and fictional discourse (mainly in film and theatre). By the end of this module students will be able to draw on interdisciplinary approaches and employ traditional and modern methodologies (e.g. quantitative, interactional, and ethnographic) to critically assess key issues and controversies in language and gender studies.

Pragmatics and Intercultural Pragmatics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

You study linguistic pragmatics (the study of language in use) including: 

  • presupposition
  • conversational implicature
  • speech acts
  • conversational structure
  • politeness.

You also explore key current debates among pragmatic theorists, testing these ideas cross-culturally, and considering the implications for intercultural communication.

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