Year two modules

Compulsory modules

English Grammar 

(20 Credits)

The module expands students' core knowledge of grammar gained in first year. The chief goal is to equip you with an in-depth, analytically-minded understanding of modern English grammar, and you will also be asked to critical evaluate contrasting approaches to the concept of grammatical description. By the end of the module, you should be confident in analysing clauses and phrases, and discussing word classes. You will have considered subordination and sentence structure and the relationship between grammar and lexis. Analytical work is illustrated by reference to genuine written and spoken texts, and explores the significance of grammatical choice in the overall design and effect of texts. The material in this module will contribute directly to the independent research work to be conducted in your final year research.

Research Skills 

(20 Credits)

This module supports and prepares students to undertake extensive research projects in English language. It aims to expand students’ understanding of key areas within the study of English language, with emphasis on the methodologies and objectives of language-studies research. It provides students with opportunities to conduct independent research as a foundation for a dissertation or research project. Students are required to conduct both group and independent projects in which they collect and analyse data using appropriate models.

Option modules

You will choose from options such as:

English Phonetics and Phonology

(20 credits) 

The module expands students' core linguistic knowledge gained at Level 1, especially in the areas of phonetics and phonology.  Topics covered will include pronunciation in continuous speech, allophonic variation, narrow phonetic transcription, English accents, accent prestige and vilification, the phoneme, stress and intonation, the syllable, and morphophonology. Particular attention is given to logical categorisation of forms, accuracy and economy in description and the ability to research and evaluate relevant supporting information. Knowledge gained in this module should both support and provide inspiration for the independent research strand of the English language programmes.


(20 Credits)

The module provides an introduction to key areas in psycholinguistics. It looks at how language is learned and represented, and at how it develops. The module aims to provide an understanding of the processes which underlie system that we call ‘language’. We examine language as a product of the human mind and thus as evidence of the ways in which human beings organise their thoughts and impose patterns upon their experiences. 


(20 Credits)

This module explores the relationship between language and society, examining how variation in sound, syntax, morphology and lexis distribute across different aspects of society - for example, the correlation between the use of particular linguistic forms and social class groups, genders, age groups and geographical areas. The module considers the associations that develop between aspects of a speaker's identity and different linguistic forms, the role of prestige (overt and covert), stigmatization and the significance of one's social networks and communities, and how these facets of variation lead to large-scale changes in the English language. It builds on the knowledge introduced in first year.

History of English Language 

(20 Credits)

This course introduces students to the historical development of the English Language. It explores the language of literary and non-literary texts in English, produced at various stages of its development, in order to study the linguistic processes underlying the history of the language, and the society behind that language. It considers how different aspects of English, including vocabulary, spelling and morphology, have been affected by social changes, such as invasion, culture, and technology, and the difficulties encountered when trying to explore the language use of past societies based on limited written evidence. Students will be instructed in the use of research tools, such as historical corpora and lexicographic resources, for the exploration, analysis, and description of language from a historical perspective.

Discourse Analysis

(20 credits) 

This module will introduce students to a range of language impairments in children and adults. It will draw on detailed linguistic knowledge to consider developmental disorders of speech and language in children, and acquired and degenerative language disorders in adults. Students will be given the opportunity to analyse language data to consider the impact of specific conditions across all linguistic subsystems, including phonetics and phonology, syntax and morphology, and semantics and pragmatics. The module will focus on the linguistic aspects but will also consider approaches to diagnosis, rehabilitation and therapy.

Lexical Semantics

(20 credits) 

This module introduces students to word semantics, the study of word meanings and how they are related to each other (homonymy, antonymy, synonymy etc.). The module will cover such topics as reference, semantic relations, frames, polysemy, connotation, historical semantic change, and the application of these concepts to lexicography. After introducing these basic concepts, the module will review different theoretical approaches, such as “amodal” theories of meaning (which views meanings as combinations of abstract symbols) versus cognitive semantics (which considers meaning in relation to perceptual experience, cognition, and world knowledge). Towards the end, the module will move toward cutting-edge research in the domain of lexical semantics, introducing computational approaches (LSA, vector-space models), and experimental research on the idea that meaning amounts to perceptual simulation.