Our BA English Language and Literature enables you to combine your study of the structure, development and use of English as a world language with your reading of literature written in English from all parts of the globe.
You’ll be taught by research-active academics who bring fresh thinking to our accessible, engaging courses. We’ll introduce you to writers who will open doors to contemporary worlds and cultures remote from your own, and also help you explore more familiar literature in ways that challenge your preconceptions.
You’ll enrich your study of English literature in its cultural and historical contexts through modules on the history of the English language. You’ll balance your reading of poetry and drama with analyses of how language is used in the media, to inform or persuade. The common link between the two disciplines will be your analysis of language and how it operates in literature and in real life.
A core module in your first year will equip you to read and interpret both traditional and contemporary literary texts critically as a scholar of English literature. You’ll also be introduced to English Linguistics, the scientific study of our language, from how language develops in children, to the ways it reflects society and how it changes over time.
Your second-year core modules will focus on English grammar and the sounds of English, and you’ll also study period-based literature from the Renaissance onwards, gaining an understanding of literary history, from Elizabethan verse and drama to the emergence of modernity in the 20 th century. A core module in English Literature will introduce you to a range of theoretical lenses which you can apply to your further study of texts.
You’ll have the chance to specialise in your final year, tailoring your degree to reflect your own interests. English Literature options include children’s literature, young adult fiction, 21 st century American literature and literary adaptations, amongst others.
Alongside these, a module on Corpus Studies in English Language will allow you to bring your literature and language interests together. Using Sketch Engine, a text analysis tool that enables you to search vast databases of language, you’ll be able to search literary texts to identify how particular words have been used in novels or literature. With more than 15 billion words available to you, you’ll be able to ask questions no one has asked before and pursue uniquely creative research projects.
An understanding of applied language, to underpin your future career
A fresh take on both traditional writing and contemporary works that speak directly to our everyday lives
A supportive, research-active academic team
A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
Access to huge online databases, including literary texts, to drive your original and creative research
CV-building potential through work placements and extra-curricular activities
Our English Language and Literature students benefit from being part of a supportive, research-active academic community. From tutorials and group work to eye-opening psycholinguistic experiments, we use a range of engaging, student-centred teaching methods to help you work confidently and creatively.
You’ll dive into real-life data, get involved in research and learn from guest experts. You’ll have the opportunity to get involved in activities that will complement your studies, such as working for the student newspaper or radio station. Not only do these enhance your experience, they also make for a more impressive CV.
Work placements enable you to gain valuable experience, explore career possibilities and make useful contacts with a potential future employer. We offer our students a career development module that will equip you to take up a teaching work placement or become a Stroke Association volunteer. You may also shadow speech and language therapists or help with specialist language teaching in sixth form college.
Alternatively, our students can choose a literature-focused work experience module, Literature at Work, which explores English Literature in the classroom and aspects of the literary heritage industry. The module is centred around a six-week work placement where you’ll gain valuable transferable skills. Our students have worked as school classroom assistants, in publishing houses or attractions such as London’s Charles Dickens Museum and Dr Johnson’s House.
Taking a year’s study abroad is an excellent opportunity to broaden your understanding of the world. Living in another country opens up fresh perspectives and helps create global citizens.
For our English Language students, it will enable you to experience Global English while gaining an appreciation of another culture and society. Recent students have studied in Japan.
For our English Literature students, a natural step from studying global literature is to go out into the world and experience it for real. If you’re reading African American literature and take the option to study in the American South you’ll see the legacy of slavery or the birthplace of the civil rights movement at first hand. Your year will broaden your horizons and enhance your understanding of the literature of other cultures.
The focus of this module is on “language in inter-action”. It sets out to maximise awareness of the factors at play when we communicate with others. Language is used to ‘do’ things in communicative situations and we look at several theories that seek to explain how this is achieved, e.g. Grice’s (1989) Theory of Cooperation and Politeness Theory (Brown and Levinson 1987). We also explore how we understand what someone is saying to us when much of the language we use is ambiguous, implied or figurative. Communication involves more than a code, and we explore the role of context, the knowledge we bring to conversations and the importance of ‘Theory of Mind’ in understanding what someone says to us. The first part of the module will be concerned with face to face communication, but in the second part, we will focus on computer mediated communication including communication through social media.
Texts Up Close: Reading and Interpretation - 15 Credits
This core module aims to encourage and develop your enjoyment of the processes and practices of reading literary texts. It is also intended that the module help you transition from secondary education to university study and equip you with a strong foundation in some important skills needed throughout your university career: close textual analysis, independent learning, critical thinking, and advanced academic writing. The module aims to encourage you to think about literary genres and styles, as well as a range of approaches to literary criticism. We will focus on a small number of primary texts written at different times, as well as a selection of literary criticism. Typical examples include: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (a novel, 1818); Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (a play, 1953) and an anthology, Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets (2010). `Texts Up Close’ will also complement your work on other modules in the first year, and prepare you for the next steps in your degree.
Make it New: Literary Tradition and Experimentation - 15 Credits
This module builds on your work in the first semester and focuses on the ways in which, in the Twenty-first century, literary texts continue to undergo transformation. In studying examples from the three main genres—prose (novels), poetry, and drama—you will examine how texts either conform to, or break away from, literary conventions and traditions. The module emphasises recent material to give you a sense of the writing around us now, but we will also look at some older ‘classic’ texts. We will seek to question how the ingredients of different genres—character, plot, and narration in the novel; dialogue and structure in drama; language, metre and rhyme in poetry, for example—are re-examined and questioned over time. Typical texts include Ali Smith, How to be both (2014), Zadie Smith, NW (2010), Daljit Nagra, Look We Have Coming to Dover! (2007); Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (1952) and Emily Berry, Stranger Baby (2017).
Border Crossings: Modern Literature from around the World - 15 Credits
This module focuses on literary texts from around the world. You will explore texts from a diverse range of countries and cultures (either written in English, or translated into English), helping you to think of ‘English Literature’ as more than just writing produced in Britain. You will study a selection of significant international works that have sparked particular debate, or represent literary innovation. We will discuss themes such as: identity; belonging; migration; heritage; diaspora; indigeneity; and environment. The module will build on the work done in the first semester, continuing to help you develop ways of comparing and analysing different texts and their contexts. We will read works from countries as varied as Australia, Guyana, India, Ireland, Nigeria, Palestine and the USA. These will typically include novels, graphic novels, films, poetry and plays.
Shakespeare Reframed - 15 Credits
The work of William Shakespeare needs no introduction. Proof of its enduring appeal comes from the multiple times his plays have been adapted for film or television or repurposed for comic books and fictional retellings. This module will introduce you to a diverse range of Shakespearean drama and explores some key adaptations, allowing you to develop close-reading skills and an understanding of how contemporary concerns are reflected in adapted versions. The set texts will vary each year, but might, for example, include a comedy, a tragedy and a history or problem play. Each one will be paired with a twentieth- or twenty-first-century adaptation. These may be fictional treatments, film or television versions. By increasing your confidence in analysing Shakespeare’s plays and understanding the process of adaptation for different mediums, this module provides a good springboard for further study at levels 5 and 6 of Renaissance texts and screen adaptations.
Investigating Language - 15 Credits
This module will give students on the English Language and Linguistics Programme the opportunity to develop a variety of skills necessary to be successful in their chosen modules and to thrive in a university environment. You will develop your skills of academic reading, writing, researching, analysing and communicating with others. The learning sessions are designed to foster a sense of community within the student cohort and, at the same time, develop each individual’s communication skills whether that be when working in small groups or when giving oral presentations.
Introduction to English Linguistics 1 - 15 Credits
This module introduces you to the fundamentals of English Linguistics. We will explore the origins of modern linguistics as a discipline and discuss core concepts of linguistic analysis, including, but not limited to, phonemes, morphemes and parts of speech.
In this module you will be provided with the basic knowledge pertaining to different properties of language and how these are described, theorised and investigated.
This module is taught in workshops and will give you ample opportunities to engage in hands-on practical tasks that will hone your knowledge and understanding of the core concepts of linguistics and equip you with the analytical skills so that you are able to apply them in different contexts across other modules in your studies of the subject of English Language and Linguistics.
Introduction to English Linguistics 2 - 15 Credits
This module introduces you to the fundamentals of English Linguistics and builds on 4HUM1150. We will discuss different approaches to grammatical and syntactical analysis and how meaning is theorised, constructed and analysed both on a lexical and text level. We will also explore language change, revisiting and expanding on some of the concepts introduced in 4HUM1150. Finally, we will explore how the fundamental concepts of linguistics are used in one or more areas of applied linguistics.
The workshops for this module will provide you with ample opportunities to put your newly gained knowledge into practice by applying it in various tasks.
Language and Mind - 15 Credits
The aim of this module is to enable you to gain an insight into the relation between language and mind. We start with a characterisation of communication systems and with a discussion in what ways human language differs from animal communication. In the light of studies that have tried to teach language to chimpanzees we further explore the question whether the ability for ‘grammar’ is unique in humans. We then look at particular brain structures that are important for language functions and what happens when these structures are affected by a stroke. We will also look at the question whether language influences the way we think. Children’s acquisition of language and cases of language deprivation are other topics on this module. The notion of a ‘critical period’ in language acquisition will be applied to first and second language acquisition and we will conclude with a discussion of different approaches to language learning.
Journeys and Quests: Adventures in Literature - 15 Credits
In this module, we start to examine one of the major plots in literary history: the journey or quest. From ancient Greek poems about mythic heroes, to the search for the Holy Grail, and recent stories about returning home, the quest narrative has been central to literary texts across time-periods and cultures. This module is interested in the narrative traditions, conventions and motifs of the quest, and we will pay close attention to literary form and content. We will also think how certain narratives are recycled and re-used by writers and film-makers. We will move from ancient texts such as Homer’s epic The Odyssey to more contemporary re-writings of this story, such as Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad (2005). Other texts for study might include the autobiography The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave (1831), Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road (2006) and The Wizard of Oz (film; 1939).
Identity and Contemporary Writing - 15 Credits
This creative and critical module explores a range of contemporary poetry and prose about identity. Broadly, the module examines material written in the late-twentieth and twenty-first-century about identity positions, from race and gender, to sexuality, dis/ability, class and so on. We will consider, both creatively and critically, how one writes about one’s own life, whether marginal or otherwise. You will think about these concerns as both creative writers and literary scholars: you will be analysing poetry and prose as well as writing in these forms on a fortnightly basis. Each critical week, exploring a topic, theme or author, will be followed by a creative week, where you put into practice the things you’ve learned. In all, this module helps develop you as both a writer and a scholar of contemporary literature. Writers studied may include: Emily Berry, Danez Smith, Justin Torres, Mary Jean Chan, Andrew McMillan, Claudia Rankine, and others.
Language in the Media - 15 Credits
In this module, you will develop a range of skills which will enable them to undertake the linguistic analysis of media taken from various sources, including new media sources such as digital media, social media/ online identity, multimodal communication, mobile communication; as well as other media genres such as films, T.V shows and music. You will develop the ability to approach the language in the media critically to understand the importance and powerful effect of the media in our society.
American Voices: Introduction to US Literature and Culture - 15 Credits
This module will introduce you to some key works of US literature, from the founding of the nation until the present day, and explore how they intersect with important aspects of American history, culture and society. We will study works in a range of forms and genres, from varied historical moments, developing your understanding of recurring motifs in American culture and your skills of critical analysis. The module will suggest different ways of conceptualising -- and making connections between -- alternative literary interpretations of the American experience. These approaches may be thematic (e.g. revolution, modernity, isolation), stylistic (e.g. Gothic, realism, naturalism) or spatial (e.g. city, plantation, frontier, small town). The module will lay the foundations for the more in-depth, period-based study of American literature at Level 5 and 6 by giving you a sense of the dazzling diversity of American writing over the last two centuries and more
Romantic Origins & Gothic Afterlives - 15 Credits
This module interrogates Romanticism’s intersection with the Gothic in an era of revolution, innovation and social change. It explores a number of themes around innocence and experience, liberty and enslavement, terror and romance, together with new ways of thinking about the world, through theories of the sublime and the picturesque. The emphasis on origins invites us to investigate the development of genres and modes of writing from Romantic fragments to revolutionary feminist essays, fairy tale narratives and Gothic romances, and to give special prominence to childhood. We interrogate a range of narratives that focus on the peculiar responsiveness of children to nature and the revolutionary promise of the child. We also investigate childhood as a less than idealised state: tales of primitives, ‘savages’, feral children, and ‘monsters’. The module will conclude with an exploration of the dark ‘other’ of the beautiful Romantic child through the Gothic afterlife of Frankenstein’s creature.
English Grammar - 15 Credits
This module examines what grammar is and is not, and presents a detailed description of the grammar of English. It looks at the different word categories, constituent structure of sentences, grammatical functions and the structure of complex sentences and different sentence types. It aims at providing you with the knowledge necessary to conduct grammatical analyses.
This module is a prerequisite for study of English Language & Communication at Level 3.
Sounds of English - 15 Credits
This module will offer you the chance to study the sounds of English at two levels: the surface level (phonetics) and the underlying mental level (phonology). We will start by looking at the physiological apparatus involved with the production of speech before examining in more detail how individual speech sounds are made (articulatory phonetics). We will then turn to the organisation of speech sounds at the underlying mental level. Here we will identify the distinct 'sound concepts' of English and explore the various ways they each may be realised phonetically. We will then move on to analysing syllables and stress. The module offers you an important descriptive tool for further language study as well as essential knowledge for careers in areas such as speech and language therapy. This module is a prerequisite for study of English Language and Communication at level 3.
Graduate Skills - 0 Credits
You will be offered a variety of employment enhancing workshops and online activities such as interview skills workshops, personality profiling and career planning in order to improve your employment prospects after graduation and make you aware of current areas of strength and weakness in relation to employability.
You will also have the opportunity to learn about self-employment options, graduate schemes and will attend speaker sessions with successful professionals in areas of employment appropriate for Humanities graduates so you can learn about the skills and attributes required for these areas and how to enhance your prospects of entering such areas.
You will be required to undertake a certain number of activities chosen by you from a career “menu” and to reflect on what they have learnt in order to complete the module successfully.
Studies in Twentieth Century Literature, 1900-1945 - 15 Credits
Building on the study of narrative begun at Level One this course will examine some key texts published in the period 1900 - 1945 and offer an historical and theoretical framework in which the set texts can be read. A central part of the course will be the attempt to explain the literary developments of the period by reference to a central concept in twentieth century cultural history: Modernism. The course will make clear that the chronological division indicated here does not imply that all texts of this period can be called `Modernist'. As students will be invited to consider, this is simply a convenient label whose meaning is itself a source of controversy and debate. Attention will also be given to such common thematic motifs such as urban ambience, the 'presence of the past', social class and sexual politics. The writers studied on the course will vary from year to year but are likely to include such key figures as Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, May Sinclair, Jean Rhys, James Joyce and T.S. Eliot.
Learning and Teaching Language 2 - 15 Credits
This module is the second of two that look in some depth at issues in the learning and teaching of language, with special reference to English. In this module, more emphasis is laid on teaching.
The module takes a broadly historical approach to language learning and teaching. The starting-off point will be a resume of the state of EFL as a result of the professionalization of teaching at the end of the C19 and the effects of the Reform Movement. Thereafter there will be examination of such trends and approaches as the grammar / translation 'method', behaviourism, the audio-lingual approach, the communicative approach, the Natural Approach and the Lexical Approach. Connections will be made in each case with the key concepts discussed in the preceding module.
A final session looks at classroom generated research and at what teachers can hope to learn from it.
American Literature to 1900 - 15 Credits
This module will trace the development of American literature from the colonial period through to 1900, examining texts from multiple genres (autobiography, captivity narrative, political propaganda, novel, poetry, short story). It will examine how writers responded to the American environment and sociopolitical events to create a distinctively American literary tradition. Attention will be paid to issues such as New England Puritanism; the treatment of Native Americans; slavery; the War of Independence; Americas relationship with England; Manifest Destiny, expansionism and the frontier; transcendentalism; the Civil War; industrialization and the growth of the city; gender and sexuality. Authors who may be studied include: Mary Rowlandson, Phylis Wheatley, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allen Poe, Harriet Jacobs, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Stephen Crane, Sarah Orne Jewett.
Twentieth Century North American Writing - 15 Credits
This module considers the diversity of twentieth-century North-American writing and the plurality of American culture and identity. It will consider some twentieth-century American writings about America as well as looking at theories of race, ethnicity and citizenship as explored in the selected texts. It will address the ways in which ideas about community and American citizenship and nationhood are historicized. The module will explore some of the repercussions and ramifications on recent American literature of such major American events and ideas such as:
* the notion of 'The American Dream',
* immigration over the twentieth century,
* the 'annexing' of native American lands,
* America's involvement in WWII,
* the legacy of slavery,
* capitalism and consumerism.
The module will consider the ways in which these and other issues are explored by a close examination of the literary devices, conventions and techniques deployed to investigate and imagine American identities. The focus of the module may change from year to year, depending on the writers chosen for study.
Language and Species - 15 Credits
Research into the evolution of human communication has been controversial. Shortly after the publication of Darwin's masterpiece in 1859, the topic w as banned by the London Philological Society. Recent advances in genetics, anthropology and cognitive science, however, have together resulted in renewed interest and more rigorous investigation and the birth of a new field.
Evolutionary Linguistics is an interdisciplinary field which draw s upon linguistics, evolutionary theory, biology, anthrolopology, primatology and psychology in order to answer three key questions: Why do we communicate? When did language evolve? What are the origins of language? In this module, students are first introduced to the basics of evolutionary theory before focusing on the questions raised above. Additional questions addressed include: How do other species communicate? Could Neanderthals speak? Can chimpanzees lie?
Language in Society - 15 Credits
Sociolinguistics is the study of language in society. This module will introduce you to the major issues in sociolinguistics. We will start by addressing the relation between language and society and the nature of variation. We will address varieties of language use at the level of the group and the individual and explore three kinds of lectal variation: regional, social and functional. We will consider how and why users vary their language according to different social settings as well as the social pressures that cause language change. Further topics to be studied include accents and dialects, language and ethnicity and language and gender. This module should appeal to anyone interested in the way language is used to signal identity and negotiate society.
Ways of Reading: Literature and Theory - 15 Credits
Ways of Reading is an introduction to literary critical approaches which call into question apparently common sense interpretative concepts such as 'intention', the 'author' and 'character'. The module will offer a survey of twentieth-century trends in critical thinking about literature, including Marxism, psychoanalysis and feminism, together with later developments such as deconstruction and Postmodernism. The emphasis will be on learning to apply concepts which are characteristic of these approaches within the context of your own critical writing about literature. This module is compulsory for students intending to take an independent project module or dissertation in Literature at Level 6.
Forensic Linguistics - 15 Credits
In this module we will be concerned with real examples of language use in legal contexts. Specifically, the module will first give an introduction to discourse analysis and then apply the methods of discourse analysis to Forensic Linguistics, the application of linguistics in order to understand conversation in legal contexts and establish authorship, authenticity and veracity in forensic texts. The talk and texts we will analyse will be taken from court proceedings, police interviews, witness statements, confessions, emergency calls, hate mail and suicide letters.
Language Competencies in Career Development - 15 Credits
In order to be able to take this module, you need to have found a suitable work placement opportunity by the end of Semester A (1st December) and not have taken a work experience module in a different subject area. The module provides you with an opportunity to reflect on the experience you are gaining in EL&C related work experience. One the one hand, you will focus on subject specific skills applied in the work experience as well as communicative events in the workplace, on the other you will reflect on personal and key skills that the experience has helped you to develop and articulate the ways in which it has enhanced your career development. Suitable work experience includes: communication support volunteer for the stroke association, assistant supporting school students in literacy and English language skills, assisting with the teaching of English Language and Culture to adults, mentoring international students.
History of the English Language - 15 Credits
In this module you will study how English as a language has developed from Old English to its present form. We will discuss evidence for the earliest form of English together with the development of Old English dialects and the influence from a variety of languages. We will relate linguistic change such as the Great Vowel shift to the difficulties of the standardisation of spelling from the 15th century onwards. Vocabulary changes in the Early Modern Period are linked to contemporary history and the beginnings of the establishment of English on the world stage. The theoretical input is balanced by the study of contemporary texts in Old English, Middle English and Early Modern English, concluding with a view of how present day English has changed within living memory.
Research Methods in English Language & Communication - 15 Credits
This module provides you with a broad overview of research skills and the theoretical and empirical issues involved in carrying out research. We will focus on how to perform systematic literature reviews and to synthesise information, as well as on both empirical and non-empirical research methods. You are introduced to current research strategies used in English Language & Communication and will develop the skills (including IT skills) required in order to collect, code and analyse pre-existing, naturalistic, experimental and questionnaire data. Data archives and computer based analysis programs as well as psycholinguistic experiments are explored. The module will prepare you for the kinds of work you will undertake at level 6, as well as for conducting a long or short project.
Lines on the Map: Explorations in Colonial Writing - 15 Credits
This module introduces you to writings produced in international contexts, focusing on the period of Britain’s colonial expansion and empire c1700-1914. We will study writings about formerly colonised regions - Africa, the Americas, India, the Caribbean - and consider how the set texts represent these places and populations. The module is centred on some of the controversial issues and legacies debated by present-day critics and historians: national identity, race, trade, slavery, conquest, imperialism. We will also broaden the picture by looking at how contemporary writers in former colonies have, alongside film-makers, established a post-colonial literature to contest earlier representations.
Typically authors/texts will include Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe), autobiographies by former slaves (Olaudah Equiano and Mary Prince), Charles Dickens’s Arctic melodrama The Frozen Deep (prompted by a real-life scandal involving British explorers and cannibalism), stories by Joseph Conrad and H.G. Wells plus more recent novels by China Achebe and J.M. Coetzee.
Images of Contemporary Society: British Literature and the Politics of Identity - 15 Credits
Drawing on a wide variety of writing produced since the Second World War, this module focuses on the changing situations of both writers and readers of British fiction.
At the centre of the module will be an examination of realism in post-war writing through the texts of a wide range of authors. Students will be asked to consider the cultural representations of the period as they are evinced in both fiction, drama, and poetry including those of the late 1950s and early 1960s, a time of unprecedented change in British Society.
The module provides examples of this writing by investigating such authors as for example-, Sam Selvon, Pat Barker, Alan Sillitoe, Tony Harrison and Jeanette Winterson, Zadie Smith, Irvine Welsh and Kazuo Ishiguro. As well as considering the ways in which the set texts deal with such issues as class antagonisms, race and ethnicity, masculinity and femininity and differing sexualities, students will be invited to consider the extent to which the set texts can be seen to be representative of contemporary society.
Postcolonial Cultures: Texts and Contexts - 15 Credits
This module will introduce you to a sample of texts and films produced within countries and regions which were formerly part of the British Empire, for example the Caribbean, Australasia, South Africa, India. Postcolonial criticism is one of the most significant developments of the last thirty years. We will consider some of the major theories which have emerged. The search for a national identity is a key issue. We will also look at the resistant strategies employed by post-colonial writers together with the idea that many are forced to write with `a borrowed pen’ i.e. they write in the language of the coloniser (Britain) even though this is not necessarily their first language. Texts studied will vary but might range from novels (Things Fall Apart; Chinua Achebe), poetry (Linton Kwesi Johnson, Derek Walcott, Grace Nichols) to the films (Muriel’s Wedding; P.J. Hogan; Ten Canoes; Rolf de Heer).
Learning and Teaching Language 1 - 15 Credits
This module is the first of two that look in some depth at issues in the learning and teaching of language, with special reference to English. In this module, more emphasis is laid on theories of second language development and the learner, while greater emphasis is placed on the teaching of a second language in the second module.
The module examines both naturalistic methods of learning and classroom learning, discussing the impact of and typical outcomes for the learner in each condition. It considers the work of contemporary theorists, and examines factors such as the role of the L1, the different aspects of L2 knowledge and the interplay of variables that contribute to successful second language development.
Age of Transition: the Victorians and Modernity - 15 Credits
The Victorians recognized their own period (1837-1901) as a time of extremely rapid social change - an “age of transition”. In this module, we will study representative Victorian genres (novels, poems, plays, journalism), which respond to this sense of upheaval and the emergence of the modern world. Against this, we will read novels by writers working today who choose to set their work in the Victorian period. These so-called “neo-Victorian” novels re-write the Victorians from the perspective of our 21st century. They also ask us to reflect on our own preconceptions about the Victorian period and our sense of living in a more “enlightened” society. Texts for study will thus typically include examples of Victorian writing (Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Mary Braddon) but also recent bestsellers by writers such as Sarah Waters, John Fowles and A.S. Byatt and films such as Wilde (1997) which present the Victorians in a different light.
Literature at Work - 15 Credits
This module enables you to incorporate practical experience into your study of English Literature and/or Creative Writing. It focuses on how literature (the writing process, the marketing and retailing of texts, their critical analysis, or literary history) is encountered by an audience outside academia. To take this module, you must find a suitable work placement by the end of the previous semester, with guidance from the module leader. Suitable sites for work experience might include: a school, or further education college; a heritage site associated with a writer; a literary festival; a publishing company; a bookshop; a funding body or arts organisation; a theatre. Your time spent on placement should total up to at least 24 accumulated hours, though in practice you may spend longer. In seminars, you will reflect on your experiences, explore related conceptual issues and develop a broader appreciation of how literature is engaged with outside higher education. The module will be assessed by a presentation and portfolio of materials including the development of a new curriculum vitae.
A Nation of Readers: British Identity and Enlightenment Culture - 15 Credits
This module focuses on British literature first published between 1640-1740 and is designed to build on your ongoing close-reading and analytical skills. The module considers many key cultural themes during this turbulent period of history, including power and political authority, national identity, class hierarchies, print culture, gender and sexuality, and religion, and encourages students to consider texts from a historicist approach. Texts include works by Dryden, Marvell, Milton, Gay, Pope and Swift as well as lesser-known female authors such as Mary Chudleigh and Mary Wortley Montagu. Prose works include Behn’s ‘Oroonoko’ and Defoe’s ‘Moll Flanders’. You will therefore be looking at both the work of writers whose works are often identified within the 'canon' of 'great' English literature as well as others who have, until more recently, often been excluded from literary histories.
Revisiting the Renaissance - 15 Credits
This module takes a historicist approach to British literature first published between 1550 and 1642 and is designed to build on your ongoing development of close-reading and analytical skills in relation to many key cultural themes during this turbulent period of history, including power and political authority, national identity, class hierarchies, print culture, gender and sexuality, and religion. Texts include plays by Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson, and poetry by Wyatt, Sidney, Spenser and Donne as well as lesser-known female Renaissance authors such as Whitney, Wroth and Lanyer. Prose works such as Sir Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ and the Tilbury speech of Queen Elizabeth I will also be considered. We will therefore be looking at both the work of writers whose works are often identified within the 'canon' of 'great' English literature as well as others who have, until more recently, often been excluded from literary histories.
Child Language & Communication - 15 Credits
This module provides a detailed investigation of how children acquire their first language and the theories that seek to explain the process. We will look at child language from the pre-linguistic stage through to the acquisition of words, morpho-syntax and inflections. You will also explore the relation between language and cognitive development, as well as the acquisition of communication skills. These topics will be considered for both monolingual and bilingual children.
Clinical Linguistics - 15 Credits
This module examines the effects of developmental and acquired disorders of language and/or communication on the acquisition and use of language. Different kinds of linguistic disorders are presented in an attempt to explore the nature of language and communication. Topics include, for example, the study of: phonological disability, stuttering, grammatical impairment, semantic/pragmatic disorders, hearing impairment, Downs Syndrome and autism. The module also looks at other language modalities, such as British Sign Language and addresses issues concerned with the assessment of comprehension and production and the use of computer programs and databases in language analysis.
Language & Communication Project - 30 Credits
In this module you undertake an individual project on a topic of your choice. The project is the opportunity for you to demonstrate your ability to use many of the skills developed over your previous studies, and to take those skills to a higher plane.
Language Processing - 15 Credits
Learning outcomes will be achieved through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and directed tasks.
The module introduces you to the theories and methodologies of psycholinguistics relating to language processing. You will consider psycholinguistic models of the mental lexicon and of language production and comprehension. You will be taught how to critically examine this work, looking not just at the results but how they were obtained - the underlying assumptions, what counts as evidence. You will assess the contribution that linguistics can make. You will also collect and analyse relevant data, commenting on difficulties
The module will distinguish five ways of approaching the mental lexicon: how lexical information is acquired, how it is stored, how it is accessed in production, how it is accessed in comprehension, and how it is lost. The module will focus on questions of storage and access, but will make reference to acquisition and dissolution as appropriate. Students will be introduced to the modularity/connectionism debate; they will then explore the modularity model of the organization of the mental lexicon in some detail. Key models of lexical processing in word production and in word comprehension will be examined, and some conclusions drawn.
Sentential processing will be considered, both from the point of view of production and of comprehension. Questions of serial/parallel, autonomous/interactive processing will be explored. In each case, production and comprehension, the strategy will be to see to what extent a serial, autonomous model can be maintained.
Speech errors and hesitation phenomena will provide the main evidence for production, and lexical and syntactic ambiguities the main evidence for comprehension. The strengths and limitations of psycholinguistic modelling will be assessed
Communication and Cultures - 15 Credits
The module gives you an opportunity to bring to the surface some of your personal / social cultural assumptions and working beliefs, and to see how they map onto those of other cultures, with specific attention to a specified domain of each student's choice. In particular, you are encouraged to look at inter-cultural communication, in the forms of face-to-face conversation, interviews, group encounters, formal situations such as conferences, e-mail and other forms of written communication, in order to see how other cultures, and especially a culture of your own choosing, articulate, disguise, hide and express beliefs.
Meaning and Context - 15 Credits
This module is concerned with meaning in language and communication. It introduces students to different types of meaning and different theoretical approaches to studying meaning in the philosophy of language and linguistics. A key issue will be the distinction between semantics and pragmatics, where the boundary between them lies, and the way in which the two realms interact in the communication of meaning.
In this module you will find out what a formulaic sequence is, why they play such an important role in native speaker (L1) communication, and how and why they are stored in and retrieved from memory as a whole. We will look at different types of language data produced by children and adults, including, but not limited to, the British National Corpus, Aviation English, sports commentaries, sitcoms, cookbooks and weather reports. We will also discuss why second language (L2) learners rely heavily on these sequences during the early stages of second language development (SLD), only to then find that they are the "biggest stumbling block to sounding nativelike" (Wray 2002: ix) in later stages of SLD.
Gender in Language and Communication - 15 Credits
We will begin the course with a study of the historical and theoretical background to the study of language and gender within the larger area of sociolinguistics.
We will examine various theories that attempt to account for gendered differences in language, and look at the key pieces of research in this area. This will include a focus on the following: sexism in language; gender differences in pronunciation and grammar; sex and convert prestige, discourse features and turn taking, narratives and storytelling, and politeness. We will then move on to contemporary theories in the area that move beyond the binary distinction of men and women to how speakers can perform their gendered identity. This includes a focus on workplace discourse to examine how leadership and power are enacted within masculine and feminine workplaces.
Recent changes in language and gender studies, such as the incorporation of the Community of Practice framework to analyse language use, will also be addressed.
Global Englishes - 15 Credits
This module will focus on the global spread of the English language, which is no longer used only by native speakers but increasingly by speakers from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Despite these changes, the native speaker continues to dominate in English Language Teaching. This module will explore various issues in the spread of English, including: the influence of other languages on English; the rise, standardisation, ideology and ownership of English; varieties of English across the world (including ‘New Englishes’, English as a Lingua Franca, pidgins & creoles); attitudes towards varieties of English and the pedagogical implications of these issues for English Language Teaching in the context of Global Englishes.
Corpus-based Studies in English Language - 15 Credits
In this module you will learn how to use electronic databases (corpora) to address research questions in English Language & Communication. We will look at a range of different corpora (spoken, written, different genres and speakers) to see how they are adapted for research both qualitatively and quantitatively. We will explore areas of English Language (including word use, collocations, discourse, gender, language change, language teaching, translation), select suitable corpora for investigation and analyse the data output. In this module we will also address issues in the compilation of corpus data and the way corpus investigations can impact on theories of language.
*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s
Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.
GCSE Maths grade 4 (D) and English Language grade 4 (C) or above.
The University of Hertfordshire is committed to welcoming students with a wide range of qualifications and levels of experience. The entry requirements listed on the course pages provide a guide to the minimum level of qualifications needed to study each course. However, we have a flexible approach to admissions and each application will be considered on an individual basis.
All students from non-majority English speaking countries require proof of English language proficiency, equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band.