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English Language & Linguistics BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time QH90 2019

Why choose this course?

How does the English language work in the real world? On this course you will learn how to express your creativity through words to create professional writing.

You will examine how language systems work together, investigating meaning, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and conversation. You'll analyse spoken and written communication in business and society. You'll study media, advertising and literary texts and understand how language and accents are linked to identity.

Our experienced tutors have an active involvement in your learning. They use innovative techniques in their teaching, and provide constructive feedback throughout your studies. You will also undertake a work placement during the course, and write a reflective report on your experience. This will help to prepare you for the wider world and increase your employability skills.

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 helps you understand the logic behind language, analysing grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and conversation. You will look at how language is used in real-life and explore language from the smallest sounds to sentences and complex discourse. You'll become skilled at describing and analysing language. You'll develop a range of writing and interactional skills for communicating in different contexts.

Year 2 investigates differences in accents and dialects. It explores how they are linked to social factors. You'll investigate language use, variation and change in society, through a range of research methods. For example, you might examine how an adult learns a second language or how style and meaning are created in spoken, written and literary texts.

In Year 3, you'll specialise in an area of language and linguistics through an extended piece of work (eg dissertation). We'll guide you and develop your ability to work independently.

You will also be able to apply theory to practice in professional contexts, including the workplace. This will help you develop important skills for employability and your future career. Recent placements have been at Northern and Shell Media Group, SLN Media, Axis Education, NHS, Duty Free FAE, Integrated Care Partnership and Hail Care.

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 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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  • 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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  • In this module students will apply the knowledge they are acquiring on the co-requisite modules (EN4002 and EN4003) to the analysis of a language other than English. Students attend Kingston Language Scheme language classes at an appropriate level in a language of their choice. The chosen language is then explored from a linguistic perspective via a comparative analysis (with English) and from a culture perspective via a report on an aspect of culture and/or identity relating to a community where the language is spoken.

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  • A key task of sociologists is to understand the routine aspects of everyday life.

    This module will focus your attention on how researchers have utilised a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods to develop attentiveness to the seemingly mundane that is everyday life and how lives are lived at the junctures of self, family, culture and social worlds. This module aims to ground your understandings of everyday life through practical application of methods and data analysis. You will gain hands-on experience of research skills throughout the module that can be applied to future study and employability

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Year 2 (Level 5)

  • 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 sociolinguistics 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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  • 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, eg. 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, eg. 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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  • 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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  • Available options will vary each year depending on staff specialism.

    • This module is an optional period module at Level 5. The year-long module provides an introduction to the literary culture of England during the years 1380-1650. This module considers medieval and early modern English texts in relation to influential works from the continent (mostly from Italy, the ‘birthplace of the Renaissance'), and by situating canonical literature in relation to non-canonical writings of the medieval and early modern periods. You will begin by examining poetry and drama written in the late-Medieval period, including some of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The rest of Teaching Block One will focus on medieval drama - from mystery plays to morality plays - highlighting continuity and change with later, Renaissance drama. It will also study English literature and culture in the fifteenth and early-sixteenth centuries in relation to continental influences. Because Shakespeare's Richard II is a Renaissance play whose action takes place in the medieval period, this play provides a pivotal middle point between Teaching Blocks One and Two, which resumes in the mid-sixteenth century and continues with plays, poetry, prose and cultural documents framed on one side by the Edwardian Reformation and on the other by the English Civil War.

       
    • This module is an optional period module at Level 5. It will begin by exploring literature published from the 1930s through to the present day, and will examine the strategies writers have used in response to a changing Britain and wider world. We will consider how twentieth and twenty-first-century texts adapt realist, modernist and postmodern techniques to engage with issues such as the rise of mass culture, the threat of totalitarianism, the establishment of the Welfare State, post-war immigration, and sexual liberation. To enhance your perspective on these issues, you will be introduced to non-fiction material by other contemporary writers, such as J.B. Priestley, Erich Fromm, Iris Murdoch, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Richard Hoggart, and George Lamming, as well as more recent critical and theoretical material.  The module also examines the development and continuing popularity of realist drama in the twentieth century. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which realist drama is used as a tool of social and political examination in the various contexts of pre-Revolutionary Russia, Dublin in the aftermath of the First World War, and the establishment of the welfare state in Britain after 1945. Secondly, we will examine the developments in non-realist forms of drama and the experiments which gave rise to what is, somewhat controversially, called the 'Theatre of the Absurd'. The module culminates with the study of a selection of texts chosen to illustrate the great variety of genres and styles in contemporary British literature and to exemplify literature written by different nationalities and social groups. Underpinned by relevant theoretical perspectives, questions will be raised about the relation between literature and contemporary events, with relation to issues pertinent to literature, such as social mobility, hybridity, democracy and technology. In recent years, authors studied have included Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, George Orwell, Sylvia Plath, Harold Pinter, Alan Hollinghurst, and Zadie Smith.

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    • This module focuses on historical and theoretical conceptualisations and methodological approaches to researching ‘race' and ethnicity in contemporary society. Key questions that are interrogated on the module are: In what ways do the researcher and participants' racial and ethnic identities impact on the research process? In what ways are race and ethnicity shaped, and in turn shape, the experiences of class, gender, sexuality and religion? How do they intersect with other forms of social difference to affect relations of power and privilege? What are the ethical dilemmas of doing such research? How are different social contexts shaped by, and shape, race and ethnicity? What are the ways in which individuals, groups and communities challenge racism in order to raise awareness and contribute to social change? Throughout the module students will work to expand their critical thinking and research skills, make meaningful connections between theoretical concepts and lived experience, and to better understand how experiences of race and ethnicity interact with broader social structures.

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    • Through TV, newspapers, and other forms of media we are continually told that we live in a fast-moving globalised world. Yet whilst ‘globalisation' is now a common term, what it entails and how it affects our lives is often more difficult to discern.

      Focusing on the social, cultural, political and economic aspects of globalisation, this module exposes the different dimensions and implications of global social change. Opening with a critical examination of the meaning and competing definitions of globalisation, it moves on to examine: processes and theories of uneven global development, international inequality, the evolution and changing face of global capital, the significance of global environmental risk, the creation of global cultures and the transformation of local culture, migration and transculturalism, the rise of global cities and the urban experience, and the significance of global networks.

      Although not a pre-requisite, this module is also a good preparation for students wishing to study Migration and Social Transformation (SO6022) in level 6. The module will help to prepare students for a variety of professions in which knowledge and understanding of international and global social processes is relevant.

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    • This is a core module for History single-honour students at L5 but it may also be of interest to students in a variety of other subjects. This module introduces students to world history in the twentieth century. It is taught through lectures and seminars, and there is a strong element of student participation through seminar presentations. We examine wars and their  consequences from a variety of geographical perspectives: Africa, China, Japan, India, Russia, the US and the Middle East, with special focus on the First World War. No other event so significantly altered political boundaries around the world, or stimulated such nationalist sentiment. We will also look at several themes that underscore the war's worldwide impact: the radicalisation of warfare; the use of propaganda; advances in medical care and psychiatry; the mobilisation of women; economic change; the emergence of new artistic movements; the stimulus given to revolution and movements for independence; and efforts to establish global governance. The module therefore provides a world history emphasising political developments but shedding light on social and economic issues as well.

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    • This module builds on the theoretical concepts introduced in How Media Changed the World, looking closely and in more depth at how these concepts emerged and developed in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and examines their utility in the understanding and analysis of contemporary culture. The module is in two parts, in the first semester we consider how various theories of media and culture have responded to social, political and technological change. In the second semester the module explores some of the key issues surrounding the digitisation of the media and how this has transformed work, leisure and various cultural forms and practices, such as art and popular music. Through practical application of these theories we will test their pertinence and utility through analyses of contemporary media, culture, texts and practices.

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Year 3 (Level 6)

  • 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 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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  • Available options will vary each year depending on staff specialism.

    • 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 (eg. newspapers, blogs) such as those following major world events.

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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 will explore discourse aspects of social media in our globalising world, drawing on theories and methodologies developed in linguistics, sociolinguistics, critical discourse analysis and linguistic anthropology. Students will have the opportunity to research language and communication in a range of social media, including social networking sites, such as Facebook, media sharing sites like YouTube and Flickr, wikis, and other sites of (micro)blogging, such as Twitter.

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    • In this module we will explore the real time processing of language, focusing on the underlying skills which enable the comprehension and production of speech. A psycholinguistic perspective of language will be adopted, exploring the links between the brain, behaviour and cognition and the experimental research techniques used in this field. We will begin by asking how we recognise words, before moving on to sentences and the organisation of conversation. In order to fully understand the processing of language we will look at what happens when it breaks down; representative disorders may include dyslexia, autism, aphasia and dementia.

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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.

A copy of the regulations governing this course is available here

Details of term dates for this course can be found here

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