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English Language & Linguistics BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time See course combinations for joint honours UCAS codes 2017
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2017

Why choose this course?

This joint honours programme explores how the English language works in the real world. It develops your ability to analyse language in context, investigating meaning and discourse. You will analyse spoken and written communication, media, advertising and literary texts and understand how language is linked to identity.

See the course combinations section for more information about the different joint honours options.

Watch this video to find out what our students have to say about studying this course at Kingston University:

What you will study

Year 1 introduces you to the way language is organised as a system and how it is used in real-life. You will explore language from the smallest unit of sound, through to sentence and discourse levels. You will develop competence in describing and analysing language, and a range of writing and interactional skills, enabling you to communicate in different contexts.

Year 2 investigates differences in accents and dialects that can be linked to social factors. You will also develop a range of research methods to investigate language use, variation and change in society. Depending on your choice of modules, you might examine how a child acquires its mother tongue, how an adult learns a second language, or how style and meaning are created in a range of spoken, written and literary texts.

In Year 3, you will have the opportunity to specialise in an area of language and linguistics through an extended piece of work. Under the guidance of specialist teaching staff, you will develop your ability to work independently on topics of your choice, thinking and writing critically. Depending on your choice of modules, there may be an opportunity for a ‘Special Study' in an area of English language and linguistics, producing work that is both theoretical and creative. There are opportunities to relate theory to practice in professional contexts, including the workplace, and develop important skills for employability.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • This module is a core requirement for students of English Language and Communication. It introduces students to language as a tool for human communication drawing on linguistics and its related disciplines. The main features of the module are (a) its focus on the analysis of language use and meaning in context and (b) its concern with key issues in intercultural communication.

    Students will study language as communication in its social and cultural contexts and gain an insight into the formation of meaning and social relationships. The module will initiate students to the key concepts and frameworks for describing and analysing discourse, (i.e. language above the sentence), with specific reference to meaning in context, talk in interaction, narrative practices and discourse strategies in intercultural encounters.  

    By the end of this module, students should have gained an insight into the nature of human communication and feel competent at discussing instances of everyday and institutional communication, demonstrating familiarity with the key frameworks in the study of communication in linguistics.  This module will also encourage the development of students' interactional and intercultural competencies.  

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  • This module is a core requirement for students of English Language and Linguistics. It introduces students to the field by questioning judgemental attitudes to language and encouraging students to take a descriptive approach.  This is developed by focusing on the description and analysis of language at different levels, namely phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.  In the second half of the module students will be expected to apply such knowledge to various areas of current research interest in linguistics which could include language acquisition and processing, the history of English, the contemporary position of English around the world, language and technology and language and new media. 

    Students will gain a basic understanding of how language works and will be introduced to the key concepts and frameworks for describing and analysing language in terms of its different constituents (sounds, words, phrases, sentences, utterances), with specific reference to the underlying principles for combining them in meaningful ways. The module will provide the foundations for students for further study at Levels 5 and 6. 

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Year 2 (Level 5)

  • This module explores the linguistic study of style and meaning in a range of contexts, such as spoken and written mediums, including natural conversation, literary and media texts. It brings together work from the fields of stylistics and pragmatics to consider how we use and understand language in use. The topics presented in this module focus on contextual meaning and its effects, exploring aspects of language and creativity, as well as key theories and frameworks in stylistics and pragmatics to understand how style and meaning are created and interpreted. The module builds on the foundational knowledge acquired at Level 4 and prepares students for work at Level 6 by introducing concepts and ideas that can be explored in Special Studies or as a final-year English Language and Communication Dissertation project.

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  • This is an optional module for students taking English Language and Communication in Level 5, and will appeal to students who are interested in developing their understanding of how language is perceived and processed. This module focuses on first and second language acquisition and the relationship between language and cognition (debate might include questions concerning the relationship between language and thought, modularity of mind, Universal Grammar, etc.). Students are encouraged to comprehend and explain the nature and relationship between first and second language acquisition/learning as well as first and second language learning processes, e.g. the critical period hypothesis and bilingualism or the differences between child and adult learners. The major strands of the module cover the underlying language systems and language processing; the course considers how children or adults acquire the various components of their native language, e.g. phonology, morphology, syntax and socio-pragmatic knowledge. Students examine psychological and linguistic theories of linguistic and cognitive development and review some empirical evidence of the nature and effects of input. Students are expected to engage with the nature of researching language acquisition and the challenges this poses for researchers. Other languages apart from English will be used to highlight how language is represented in the mind of bilinguals. Students are encouraged to analyse and critique major theories and models in the light of their own learning experiences. The module is also aimed at giving students solid foundation of applied linguistics in which areas from psychology, cognition, computing and biology also enrich their understanding. The topics will cover linguistic, psychological as well as pedagogical perspectives.

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  • In this core module, students will engage critically with the complex relationship between language and society from a range of sociolinguistic perspectives and they will be encouraged to develop their research skills in preparation for the requirements of Level 6.

    In the first teaching block, lectures and seminar discussions Will focus on sociolinguistics at the macro level to look at language diversity, language endangerment multilingualism and language contact, in addition to the global spread of ideas, identities and discourse through language.

    We will also touch upon major debates regarding gender and power in both media and scholarly discourses and use this theme to show how academic theories evolve through research.

    . Weekly sessions will involve investigating case studies from different countries to showcase  how language research can be applied to the study of policy, politics, education  and media. A further focus  will be on interactional sociolingusitics through the study of the relations between language and gender in mixed and single-sex talk in both private and public spheres

    In the second teaching block, sessions introduce students to key sociolinguistic research and findings that shed light  on  how and why different speakers systematically vary their language use in relation to a range of social factors, such as class, social status, age, ethnicity, gender. Sessions then move on to explore how and why individual speakers alternate between styles and languages on different occasions, drawing on sociolinguistic models of style and code-switching/code-mixing. In the course of this module, students will be encouraged to explore variation at all levels of language: from phonetics to syntax and pragmatics and will be introduced to key research methods in the field of sociolinguistics as a way of learning to evaluate qualitative and quantitative approaches to the study of language and society. Finally, students will conduct their own sociolinguistic projects, collecting spoken data or analysing existing recordings,taking into account issues of ethics and permission. 

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Year 3 (Level 6)

  • This module covers a broad range of topics to engage students in different genres of communication to develop both spoken and written skills necessary for employability. The topics, drawn from sociolinguistics, stylistics and discourse analysis, include analysing interaction in the professional setting, copy-editing, writing to a specific brief and presenting a professional brief. Through interactive lectures, guest talks, personal tutorials, and a workplace option where students have the opportunity to experience working practices, students are encouraged to develop skills and reflect on their own practices as a way of gaining an  understanding of communication matters in real life and work contexts. The module's focus on professional interactional and writing skills as well as its links to Kingston's KU Talent activities and events guides students in planning their careers and developing their employability skills.

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  • This module provides the opportunity for students to prepare a sustained piece of independent research in the field of English Language and Communication. The course begins with a programme of dissertation and research interactive lectures which provide introductory advice on how to undertake independent work at this level. Students work with a subject specialist supervisor to develop and produce an extended research essay on a topic of research they have agreed with the teaching team via the submission of a dissertation proposal.  All students present their work at a student conference to be held at the end of the second teaching block.

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  • This module explores ideas from a wide range of disciplines and introduces students to some of the key concepts in the study of meaning. It begins by considering work in the philosophy of language on what it means to ‘mean' something and moves on to the distinction between the context-dependent meaning inherent in language-in-use – the domain of pragmatics – and context-independent meaning – the domain of linguistic semantics.   Students will consider how different linguistic elements interact with the discourse context to contribute to the communicative act, and we will also consider the role played by extra-linguistic aspects of communication such as facial expression, gesture and body language.

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  • This module looks at narrative story telling in both fictional and real life stories. We explore concepts within narratology to explore the theory of narrative, as a way to understand the nature, form and function of narratives. We will look at the common or universal characteristics of narrative storytelling as well as differences and find out how it is that we are able to comprehend, memorise and produce stories. We will look at narrative structure, characterisation, narration and disnarration, narrative beginnings, the narrator as witness, children's narratives and fairytales, and narratives in the media (e.g. newspapers, blogs) such as those following major world events.

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You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

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