English in the United States (Q1087A)

15 credits, Level 5

Spring teaching

This module, designed for both English Language and American Studies students, surveys the English language of the United States from the colonial period onward and examines the linguistic, historical 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, but nevertheless ended up with a de facto standard language – one that differs more from current British English than the official Englishes of other former colonies. We’ll examine the linguistic variety within the US, including consideration of regional (e.g. north/south, Appalachian, Californian, etc.) and ethnic varieties (e.g. African-American and Chicano Englishes) – asking how they’ve evolved and what social functions they perform. We’ll also consider whether there are particularly American styles of communication. You have a broad range of choice in the topics they choose to explore for portfolio writings and will be guided in writing short, well-researched articles in a journalistic style.


41%: Lecture
22%: Practical (Workshop)
37%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.