The English Language and Linguistics MA aims to provide you with a thorough understanding of the linguistic features of English from a wide range of perspectives: theoretical and applied, synchronic and diachronic. It will enable you to understand and evaluate critically a wide spectrum of ideas put forward in the study of the English language (particularly in connection with linguistic variation in terms of space, time, communicative context and linguistic contact) and will equip you with the intellectual perspectives and the scholarly skills that will prepare you to conduct independent research.
The English Language and Linguistics MA is suitable for students who have taken English language and/or linguistics modules at undergraduate level, and others who have taken allied disciplines such as psychology, philosophy or TESOL. It is of particular interest to those wishing to pursue further study and those teaching English who wish to gain a further qualification and investigate recent and current developments in the field.
If pursuing the degree full-time, you will study 180 credits in one academic year; if part-time, you will normally complete 180 credits in two academic years. You will study three core modules (including a 60-credit dissertation on a topic of English language and/or linguistics), as well as two modules from the list of options. The core modules English Language in Use and English Worldwide examine linguistic variation from a wide range of perspectives and many of the options complement this approach. You can explore TESOL issues as part of your options.
The teaching is mainly through weekly two- or three-hour sessions for each module, which include tutorials, seminars, practical sessions and workshops. There is also independent self-directed study, and you will be prepared for the Dissertation via structured sessions in research methodology. Assessment methods include submitted coursework such as essays, reviews and exercises; there are no formal examinations.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.
The Dissertation gives you the opportunity to conduct autonomous work with supervisory support on a topic you feel passionate about. At the beginning of the module you will have a series of practical seminars on the different issues involved in the process of writing a dissertation, such as finding a topic, the role of the supervisor, research methodology and the conventions of academic writing. English Language in Literary Contexts
In this module you will study English historical linguistics and stylistics, literary linguistics and cognitive poetics. Thus, you will gain a good knowledge of the ways in which the language has changed over time and the stylistic effects of particular linguistic choices, as well as an in-depth understanding of the theoretical frameworks that can be used to describe the interaction between language and literature.
This module explores the nature of English in the modern world, examining such varied but closely-related topics as standard English, world varieties of English, causes of variation, attitudes to English varieties, English as a lingua franca, creole linguistics and multilingualism.
Analysing Spoken and Written Discourse
This module offers a range of different linguistic tools for exploring texts. They are analysed for lexical and grammatical cohesion, metonymy and metaphor, and register and thematic progression (Hallidayan functional grammar). Texts are also analysed using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Multimodal Discourse Analysis (MDA). You will acquire a theoretical understanding of the main approaches to discourse analysis, and the practical skills for carrying out these analyses on real texts. You will also gain a broader awareness of how written discourse is constructed by comparing it to spoken discourse, and by discussing it in terms of more general semiotic and communication theories.
Current Developments in Language Teaching
You will examine current practice and developments in language teaching, including communicative competence in language learning. During this module you will cover a range of topical issues in language learning and teaching, including: content and language integrated learning; individual differences in language learning; language for specific purposes; learner autonomy and strategy training; methodology; neurolinguistic processing and multiple intelligences; skills lessons and real language; and teacher language and national curriculum.
You will gain a greater understanding of what is happening in cross-cultural communication, and develop your ability to do it well. In the first part of the module you will examine critically different theories of the nature of cultural difference and its impact on cross-cultural interaction. You will also explore theories of the intercultural abilities needed to manage such interaction effectively. In the second part of the module you will apply these theories to specific issues in professional contexts of potential relevance, such as language teaching.
You will critically explore concepts and issues in sociolinguistics, including: language in face-to-face interaction; language variation, choice, creation, planning, change, decline and death; languages and factors such as age, class, gender and ethnicity; multilingual communities; language and society; bilingualism and diglossia; casual and ritual interaction; conversational interaction focusing on issues such as linguistic politeness; oral narratives, and conversational routines; language socialisation; conversational code-switching; talk and gender. Throughout the module, attention will be paid to issues of methodology, and the most appropriate methods for studying each topic area.
This module aims to give you a better understanding of what translation is, how translation is a reflection of its social setting, and what goes on in the mind when a translator translates. Translation Studies has seen rapid growth in recent years, and this module reflects these developments. The topics you will cover include: discourse analysis approaches; equivalence; historical and contemporary translation theories; loss and gain; psycholinguistic approaches; ‘skopos’ theory; the unit of translation; translatability; translating culture; translating ideology; translating literature and sacred texts; and translation and ICT.
Teaching and assessment
Assessment methods include submitted coursework such as essays, projects or reports. There are no timed written examinations.
The Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster boasts a long established research culture in linguistics, with international reputation in the fields of creole linguistics, phonetics and syntax. More recently, the Department has also developed the English language and creative writing areas, appointing internationally renowned experts in these fields. Work on the English language focuses broadly on its history, its presence worldwide, multilingualism, stylistics, discourse analysis, semantics, translation and TESOL.
The English Language and Linguistics MA will provide you with sophisticated analytical skills and a widely applicable knowledge base, which will enable you to study at MPhil or PhD levels with a view to pursuing an academic career. The course is also particularly relevant to teaching English as a first or foreign language, and to a range of professions involving language and communication.
While studying the MA, you will also benefit from the careers workshops organised by the departmental employability coordinator.
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Last updated March 1, 2017