Undergraduate Course

BA English Language and Language Development

(Including Foundation Year)

BA English Language and Language Development

Overview

The details
English Language and Language Development (Including Foundation Year)
QQ3G
January 2018
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

This course is open to Home, EU and international students. It will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your academic skills.

This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study four academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with the Department of Language and Linguistics, an academic community in which the majority of research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, placing us firmly within the top 10 departments in the UK and among the top 200 departments on the planet according to the QS World University Rankings (2017).

Unlike other English Language courses in the UK, our focus is not on the history of language, but on the contemporary use of English – on the way that we use language, in English-speaking countries and around the globe, and the ways in which language is changing. You explore specialist topics including:

  • The relationship between language and mind
  • First and second language acquisition
  • The development of bilingual children
  • Language loss and language disorders

You study how children acquire their first language, or languages, how people acquire further languages later in life, and how and under what circumstances language knowledge can be lost, whilst simultaneously receiving a thorough grounding in the structure of English sounds, words and sentences. With such a wide scope of study, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between our language and our minds, with a special focus on the process of acquisition and the prevalence of disorders.

Why we're great.
  • In your final year, all your modules are optional so you can tailor your degree to suit your interests and career goals.
  • You are taught by lecturers who are internationally recognised for their language research.
  • You join our diverse community of students from all corners of the globe - the world in one place.

Our expert staff

We have some of the best teachers across the University in our Essex Pathways Department, all of whom have strong subject backgrounds and are highly skilled in their areas.

Our staff are internationally recognised for their language research (REF 2014). We maintain excellent student-staff ratios, and we integrate language learning with linguistics wherever there is synergy. Our hands-on approach enhances your experience in the department.

In theoretical linguistics, Louisa Sadler and Kyle Jerro work on the structure of sentences, focusing on English and other languages. Nancy Kula and Yuni Kim investigate how complex words are created and also analyse the sounds of a number of languages.

In sociolinguistics, Peter Patrick, Rebecca Clift, Enam Al Wer, Vineeta Chand and Ella Jeffries all work on different aspects of how language varies, and investigate the factors that cause such variation such as gender, age, or social class. Peter is also involved in language rights, and offers expert opinions in asylum cases where language is used to determine origin.

In applied linguistics, Florence Myles, Monika Schmid, Sophia Skoufaki, Karen Roehr-Brackin and Adela Gánem-Gutiérrez focus on the learning of second and further languages, whilst Christina Gkonou, Tracey Costley and Neophytos Mitsigkas focus on issues to do with the teaching and learning of English as a Second/Foreign and as an Additional Language.

In psycholinguistics, Claire delle Luche and Laurie Lawyer use experimental techniques to understand how children learn language, how adults process language, and what happens when language ability is impaired by disorders.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
  • Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends

In our Department of Language and Linguistics you also have access to:

  • Our ‘Visual World’ Experimental Lab records response times and eye movements when individuals are presented with pictures and videos
  • Our Eye-Tracking Lab monitors eye movement of individuals performing tasks
  • Our EEG lab monitors how the brain processes language through measuring the electric signal when people hear or read sentences
  • Our Psycholinguistics Lab measures how long it takes individuals to react to words, texts and sounds
  • Our Linguistics Lab has specialist equipment to analyse sound
  • Our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
  • An exciting programme of research seminars and other events
  • Our Albert Sloman Library houses a strong collection of books, journals, electronic resources and major archives

Your future

Studying language and linguistics allows you to develop your research and IT skills by collecting and analysing linguistic data using state-of-the-art technology, and a combination of team-work and independent projects enhances your communication, problem-solving, and management skills.

Our graduates have gone on to have careers in a wide variety of fields, including teaching, journalism, branding, advertising, marketing, travel, communications, publishing, speech and occupational therapy, interpreting, translating and media.

For example, one of our department’s recent graduates is now an Assistant Editor at Scholastic, whilst another teaches English in South Korea. Other graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:

  • Royal National Institute for the Blind
  • Macmillan Publishers
  • Cambridge University Press
  • Decisive Media Ltd
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • HSBC
  • British Telecom

We also work with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A-levels: DDD, or equivalent in UCAS tariff points, to include 2 full A-levels.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory modules and options chosen from lists. Below is just one example from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change.

Introduction to Linguistics

This module is designed to prepare students wishing to join a degree course in the Department of Language and Linguistics. It is also a suitable choice for students who simply have an interest in language and it similarly provides a sound academic background for the study of subjects which rely extensively on proficient use of the English language such as Literature, History, Sociology, and Philosophy.

View Introduction to Linguistics on our Module Directory

The United Kingdom from 1900 to the Present Day (optional)

Britain has experienced unprecedented changes in the last 100 years. What has brought about these changes and how have they affected the Britain of today? This course will outline political, economic, social and cultural change in the UK during the Twentieth Century and beyond and offer an insight into Britain’s place in the modern world.

View The United Kingdom from 1900 to the Present Day (optional) on our Module Directory

Major Writers in English Literature (optional)

Want to study Hamlet? And contemporary works by Angela Carter or Kazuo Ishiguru? Interested in World War One poetry? Study a range of drama, poetry and prose fiction. Describe, analyse and reflect on key texts from Shakespeare to the present day. Become familiar with the crucial terms for assessing literature.

View Major Writers in English Literature (optional) on our Module Directory

Sounds

This module introduces you to the production of language sounds and their distribution in words, in particular, but not exclusively, in English. You will study the basic principles of phonology and develop the knowledge required to understand and begin to analyse sound systems. You will also discuss phonological processes and investigate the context and motivation of occurrence.

View Sounds on our Module Directory

Skills for Linguists

Develop three important skills for your future studies in this mixture of lecture and lab sessions: Tools of the trade – brush up on your ICT skills; Presentational skills – get to grips with talking in front of an audience as well as presenting written ideas; Analytical skills – refine your analytical skills for academic and non-academic work. By the time you’ve completed this module, you will be equipped with a skill set will see you through your studies and beyond.

View Skills for Linguists on our Module Directory

Language in Society

Discover the role of variation in language systems, and learn the techniques and concepts needed to study the way language varies. You will look at geographical, social and historical dialects, explore language myths, and cover topics such as measuring language variation, social patterns and functions of language variation, speaker variables, and the relationship of language variation to language change. At the end of this module, you will have gained a clear understanding of the role variation plays in language systems, and will be able to look critically at the social functions and values of dialects and vernacular language usage.

View Language in Society on our Module Directory

Psycholinguistics I - Language Development

Gain a thorough overview of key concepts, methods, and theoretical approaches in research on language development throughout the lifespan. Investigate monolingual and bilingual child language acquisition, second language acquisition, language loss, and the attrition of the first language in second language learners, by looking at a broad range of studies, including ongoing studies from the Centre for Language Development throughout the Lifespan (LaDeLi), at the University of Essex.

View Psycholinguistics I - Language Development on our Module Directory

Psycholinguistics II - Language Processing

How are words organised in our brain? How do we understand sentences? What is the relationship between language, music, and the brain? Find the answers to these questions by taking a critical look at findings from a broad range of studies, whilst learning about key concepts, methods, and theoretical approaches in research on language processing.

View Psycholinguistics II - Language Processing on our Module Directory

Words and Sentences

Discover how to describe and analyse the structure of words, phrases, and sentences in this introductory half module. With topics including the English parts of speech, word structure and the distinction between inflection, derivation and compounding, and the identification of phrases, you will gain a solid grasp of the foundational material for the study of English linguistics, whilst developing useful analytical skills.

View Words and Sentences on our Module Directory

Foundations of Teaching English as a Foreign Language I (optional)

Do you dream of a career that could take you around the world? This module will introduce you to the fundamentals of English Language Teaching, showing how the theory of linguistics, pedagogy and psychology all shape classroom practice. You will look at the variety, purpose, content and contexts of ELT, focussing on the classroom, the language, and the different participants in the learning process, and will cover everything from the role of the teacher to classroom management.

View Foundations of Teaching English as a Foreign Language I (optional) on our Module Directory

Foundations of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (II) (optional)

Build on your knowledge acquired in LG117 in this complementary module, which will introduce you to the fundamentals of contemporary language teaching practice. Discover how classroom practice is shaped by background theory, covering aspects of linguistics, pedagogy and psychology. By the end of this module, you will be familiar with some of the main issues relating to TEFL, know more about the factors which influence second language learning and how they can inform teaching practice, and become familiar with some of the varied outlooks to teaching vocabulary, grammar, comprehension and communication skills.

View Foundations of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (II) (optional) on our Module Directory

Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics

What are your skills? And how do they fit in with your career plans? Build your employability skills through this non-credit bearing but obligatory module. Attend workshops and events, engage in activities to raise your employability and build your knowledge of the graduate job market.

View Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics on our Module Directory

Phonology

Continuing from LG110, you will build on your existing knowledge, reinforcing the cognitive aspect of spoken language, the way in which sounds combine to make up words, and the interaction between word formation and phonology, as well as phonology in the wider context of phrases. The theory you learn throughout this module can be used to analyse other languages.

View Phonology on our Module Directory

Analysing the structure of English

Build on analytical concepts introduced in your first year, and investigate a range of key grammatical constructions in English. With an emphasis on description, rather than a particular theoretical approach, this practically orientated module will provide you with a solid foundation for tackling more theoretical options in English linguistics. As well as gaining an understanding of key areas of English grammar and grammatical terminology, you will also equip yourself with analytical, data, and evaluation skills.

View Analysing the structure of English on our Module Directory

Language Development throughout the Lifespan

Building on your existing knowledge of Psycholinguistics, this module aims to familiarise you with processes of language development and language change that may occur throughout the lifespan of an individual. You will look at some of the most common theoretical approaches to language learning and gain an insight into both monolingual and bilingual language development from infancy to puberty. You will also look into how and why some parts of language proficiency may be lost.

View Language Development throughout the Lifespan on our Module Directory

Semantics and Pragmatics

What is 'meaning' as it relates to words and sentences? How is the meaning of a sentence affected by the context it is produced in? These are the fundamental issues you will address in this module. You will examine the relationship between what is said and what is meant, with the first part of the course looking at basic issues in Semantics. The second part of the course will examine the distinction between a speaker's words and what a speaker means by those words – the domain of pragmatics.

View Semantics and Pragmatics on our Module Directory

Research methods for language and linguistics

Discover the steps involved in undertaking a research project in language and linguistics and develop your own final-year project. Topics include: Reviewing literature; Formulating research questions and hypotheses; Choosing a suitable research design; Data collection; Analysis techniques; Reporting findings. You will learn through a mixture of lectures, seminars and lab sessions to build your knowledge, skills, and confidence in researching, structuring, and writing a research project.

View Research methods for language and linguistics on our Module Directory

Psycholinguistics

How do we receive and recognise speech? How are words and concepts stored in our mind? Building on your knowledge of Psycholinguistics gained in earlier modules, the focus of this module is on language processing. You will study how humans learn, represent, comprehend, and produce language. Topics covered include visual and auditory recognition of words, sentence comprehension, sentence production, language acquisition, and the neural representation of language. You will also have the opportunity to gain some practical experience with the elaboration of a research poster.

View Psycholinguistics on our Module Directory

Multilingualism (optional)

This module covers topics in multilingualism and language contact. First, you will look at multilingualism at the level of the individual and cover topics such as language choice, diglossia, and code-switching. You will then consider multilingualism at the societal level and look at the outcomes of language contact. This will involve exploring the coexistence of more than one language within the same community and the issues that arise as a result including language maintenance and shift, the plight of minority and endangered languages and the emergence of Pidgin and Creole languages.

View Multilingualism (optional) on our Module Directory

Second language learning (optional)

The module introduces you to the field of second language learning, from an applied linguistics perspective. You will cover key topics and questions in the field, such as how second language learning differs from first language learning, the role of the learner's age in the second language learning process, the influence of the first language on the second (and vice versa), the role of the learning context and social dimensions of second language learning, cognitive processes underpinning language learning, the stages of development of learner language, and the role of individual learner variables.

View Second language learning (optional) on our Module Directory

Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics

What are your skills? And how do they fit in with your career plans? Build your employability skills through this non-credit bearing but obligatory module. Attend workshops and events, engage in activities to raise your employability and build your knowledge of the graduate job market.

View Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics on our Module Directory

First Language Acquisition (optional)

Wish to run experiments on child-language acquisition? Examine research on children’s acquisition of English. Understand and critically evaluate the data analysis techniques available. Develop and present your own arguments in a variety of formats, building your knowledge and professional skills for future research.

View First Language Acquisition (optional) on our Module Directory

Phonological Development (optional)

How do children develop phonologically? And how does this change if they have delayed or disordered speech? Examine how phonological theories have been applied to first language data. Apply the knowledge you gain to sample data sets of child speech.

View Phonological Development (optional) on our Module Directory

Nature and Nurture in Second Language Acquisition (optional)

How are second languages learned? To answer this question, you will investigate and critically analyse the roles of nature and nurture in second language development and become familiar with some well-known topics and theories on the subject. You will also look at some fo the techniques used by researchers use to collect data when studying second language acquisition.

View Nature and Nurture in Second Language Acquisition (optional) on our Module Directory

Sentence Processing (optional)

Why do speakers of English initially think that sentences like “The horse raced past the barn fell” are ungrammatical? Why are sentences like “The mouse the cat chased stole the cheese” more difficult to understand than “The mouse stole the cheese and the cat chased the mouse”? Learn about the principles of sentence and discourse processing that guide language understanding. Conduct experiments testing how speakers respond to structurally different types of sentences.

View Sentence Processing (optional) on our Module Directory

Foundations of Computer Assisted Language Learning (optional)

Why should we use computers in the language classroom? When is their use appropriate? And how do you best use them? Study computer-assisted language learning (CALL), so that you understand the arguments for and against. Create CALL tasks using available tools and become familiar with a range of CALL resources.

View Foundations of Computer Assisted Language Learning (optional) on our Module Directory

Linguistic Description of English (optional)

How can we explain our intuitive judgements about the acceptability of English sentences and the meanings that they convey? How accurate are the descriptions proposed in traditional grammars? Gain a detailed understanding of how English grammar works. Learn how to solve grammatical problems for yourself.

View Linguistic Description of English (optional) on our Module Directory

Project: Linguistics

What fascinates you about linguistics? Work independently on an extended project of your choosing within linguistics, with supervision from our expert staff. Build your subject knowledge, as well as your research skills and project management abilities.

View Project: Linguistics on our Module Directory

Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics

What are your skills? And how do they fit in with your career plans? Build your employability skills through this non-credit bearing but obligatory module. Attend workshops and events, engage in activities to raise your employability and build your knowledge of the graduate job market.

View Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • Teaching is arranged to allow freedom in how you organise your learning experience
  • Examples of practical work include digitally recording dialect speakers in a small traditional fishing community, or scouring digitised child language databanks
  • Other teaching methods include lectures, demonstrations and learning by teaching others

Assessment

  • You’re assessed through a combination of coursework (assignments, essays and tests) and end-of-year examinations.
  • Weighted 50% coursework and 50% exams depending on which modules you choose.
  • Other assessment methods include quizzes, presentations, portfolios, group work, and projects.

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250

International fee

£11,750

International students: The standard undergraduate degree fee for international students will apply in subsequent years

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

Please note that we are unable to consider applications for deferred entry to October 2018 for this course if you are an international applicant

Applicant Days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our applicant days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your applicant day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email visit@essex.ac.uk so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

We want you to throw yourself in at the deep end, soak up life and make the most of those special Essex moments.

Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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