Literary Linguistics is central to the study and understanding of literature and the media in contemporary cultures, themselves profoundly dependent on information, communication and text. It is often invaluable in attempts to identify the essence of an author's style; it is crucial to understanding how advertisements win us over; it is important in the identification of weak writing, moments of failure or contradiction in political or persuasive language, and in many other contexts. It is newly central to the study and understanding of literature and the media because contemporary cultures are so rooted in information, communication, and text.
This programme is of value to those with an interest in the technique of a particular writer or the grammar of a particular genre of writing; to teachers of A-level courses with an English Language component; or to anyone interested in a systematic, graduate-level exploration of the linguistic bases of literary expression.
The programme includes six taught modules and a 15,000-word dissertation. The dissertation is expected to take the form of an in-depth case-study of a unified textual phenomenon (as this appears in one or several texts) and its linguistic description and explanation. The aim of the dissertation is to put to work the insights and skills learned from modules, and to enable you to develop your research ability in a more substantial format.
You will complete two core modules in Literary Linguistics (one per semester):
Language and Literature
You will gain an understanding of the principles of stylistic analysis and theory and will review core topics of stylistic analysis (including textual cohesion and coherence, modality, transitivity, speech act analysis, the discoursal representation of speech and thought, face and politeness, presupposition, etc.), applying them to those authors and texts of special interest. You will also critique the theory and practice of stylistics. This module aims to equip you with an understanding of how language works, so that this understanding can be used in the analysis of literary or other texts.
Advanced Topics in Literary Linguistics
This module builds on the foundation in Literary Stylistic description, theory, and methods set out in the first semester module. The topics selected for intensive study can vary, but in recent years this module has focused on Narrative Analysis of Fiction and Film: an advanced introduction to some of the fundamental components of narratives, approached from a linguistic and narratological point of view. Issues explored include: temporal manipulation; point of view; setting; structure; characterisation; narrativity and the non-narrative; the semiotics of visual images; narrative expectation; suspense, surprise, secrets and gaps; and print and tv narratives. This includes an exploration of the differences between prose narrative fiction and film narrative fiction which stem from their different media and technologies.
You will also choose four optional modules from a range which includes:
Narrative Analysis of Fiction and Film
Sociolinguistic and Psycholinguistic Approaches to Language
Introduction to Corpus Linguistics
Modules and courses are constantly updated and under review. As with most academic programmes, please remember that it is possible that a module may not be offered in any particular year. The University of Birmingham reserves the right to vary or withdraw any course or module.
Fees and funding
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2013/14 are as follows:
Home/EU: £5,130 full-time
Overseas: £13,200 full-time
Part-time programme fees are one half of the full-time programme fees.
Learn more about fees and funding
Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available.
For further information, visit the College of Arts and Law scholarships page or email email@example.com
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.
Learn more about entry requirements
We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
English language requirements
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
How to apply
When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages