English Language: Sounds, Structures, and Words
The emphasis in this module is on one of the two key approaches to understanding the English language. This concerns the concepts and technical terminology used to describe the characteristics of the language. This descriptive strand provides a grounding in the phonology, morphology, grammar and lexis of English.
Theories of Language
The aims of this module are to provide first year undergraduate students of English Language with (a) a sound basic knowledge and understanding of the major theories of language that have been developed within the discipline of linguistics from the beginning of the 20th century up to the present day, and (b) a sound basic awareness of the key figures associated with each of these theoretical traditions. The module begins with an overview of the basic concepts of structuralist linguistics as laid down by Saussure, before moving on to consider the generativist approach established by Chomsky. We then focus on the two main alternatives to (and critiques of) generative linguistics: functionalism, particularly in the British tradition established by Firth (e.g. Halliday, Sinclair, Hoey) and the usage-based theories associated with cognitive linguistics (e.g. Langacker, Fillmore, Lakoff, Tomasello). Throughout the module students will be encouraged to think critically about each theoretical tradition, and to consider which of the linguistic theories they are introduced to they find the most compelling and/or useful.
Practice of Writing
This module improves understanding of the language used in different genres and styles, and provides insight into the practical issues facing anyone who tries to edit, improve or correct the writing of others.
Introducing Corpus Linguistics
Corpus linguistics is the computer-assisted analysis of very large databases (‘corpora’) of authentic language data. Once considered a highly specialised and advanced-level research field, corpus linguistics has now become part of the basic methodological apparatus of almost all branches of modern linguistics. The module will demonstrate how to use corpus analysis software to investigate a variety of existing spoken and written corpora, and how to build small corpora for analysis.
This module is designed to develop students' understanding of key issues in research into the English language, with emphasis on the methodologies and objectives of language-studies research. It will begin to develop their skills in conducting and writing up their own research projects. Students will undertake small-scale research projects in which they will collect data and analyse it, according to descriptive frameworks that they are studying in this and the companion modules.
Module Outside the Main Discipline:
There is a vast selection of different options available to be taken as MOMDs each year.
A few examples of the sorts of modules enjoyed by our students are:
- Italian Beginners' Language
- Foundations of Politics
- Making Culture: New Ways of Reading Things
- The History of Philosophy
- Landmarks in European Film
- Art and Contexts