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.
Fundamentals of Language: Sounds and Words
This core module explores foundational concepts and issues in the study of English language and linguistics in preparation for the specialised subject pathways the students will follow in Years 2 and 3. In particular, the module focuses on the areas of phonetic/phonology, morphology and lexical semantics. Topics covered include how the sounds of a language pattern and how they can be described, how words enter the language and how they relate to one another and carry meaning.
Fundamentals of Language: Grammar and Discourse
This core module explores foundational concepts and issues in the study of English language and linguistics in preparation for the specialised subject pathways the students will follow in Years 2 and 3. In particular, the module focuses on the areas of syntax, semantics (broadly conceived) and discourse/pragmatics. Topics covered include how words can be classified according to their grammatical properties, how they are related to each other in sentences, and how speakers understand utterances in specific contexts of interaction and make sense of each other’s communicative intentions.
In this module, students will consider the ways in which linguistic ideas, insights and methods can be applied in fields such as teaching, translation, social research and forensic science. The topics covered directly feed into many of the modules that students can choose to study in the second and third years of the programme.
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.
Widening Horizons Module
Students will study one module from a wide range of outside topics offered by other departments across the University.