Full time 12 Month(s), Part time 24 Month(s)
The MA in English Language and Literary Studies is ideal for you if you would like to combine your studies of English Language with the study of literature and literary theory. This MA is taught jointly by the Department of Linguistics and English Language and the Department of English and Creative Writing, allowing a great deal of flexibility to follow your own interests.
It consists of six credit-bearing modules, including at least two from each department, at least one research methods course and a dissertation. Support for your studies is provided by the non-credit Postgraduate Academic Study Skills module, which runs in terms 1, 2 and 3.
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
This course provides a structured programme of support through lectures and small group work as you develop your academic writing and study practices and skills.
Corpus linguistics is a methodology whereby large collections of electronically transcribed texts are used in conjunction with computer tools to investigate language.
This course aims to provide a general introduction to corpus based language study. It centres around two main parts – corpus methods for exploring linguistic variation and the applications of corpus linguistics such as language teaching, forensic linguistics and discourse analysis.
Students will learn how to use corpus analysis packages such as BNCWeb and Antconc. (Note that a supplementary 3 week course in Research Methods will cover corpus building, statistical analysis and corpus annotation in more detail).
This course provides students with a solid foundation in the grammar of English, prominently including the ways in which it interfaces with semantics-pragmatics — as discussed, especially, in the cognitive linguistic approach to grammar, i.e. construction grammar. Yet the module is not restricted to this theoretical framework. Instead, we will explore its research questions, analyses and methods in relation to those representing the more traditional, generative (Chomskian) alternative. A basic tenet of the cognitive (and more broadly speaking: functional) approach is that English grammar (and indeed the grammar of any language) is a tool for effective communication. This leads to an analysis of grammatical structures in terms of, and as to some extent motivated by, their meanings. We will see that this perspective is very different from the generative approach, where grammar is studied more or less in isolation from meaning, i.e. as pure structure. Towards the end of the module some recent applications of the theory of cognitive linguistics are discussed.
The term “discourse” is understood in various ways in the social sciences and humanities. In this module we approach discourse in two principal ways. On the one hand, we regard discourse as structured use of language consisting of more than one sentence. The analysis of discourse in this sense involves investigation of the ways in which words, phrases and sentences hang together and make sense in contexts of use. At this level linguistic theories and methods of linguistic description are of special relevance. On the other hand, discourse is often thought of as language use as social practice that is based on, and influences, cognition. Thus, for example, we speak of media discourse, nationalist discourse, discourses on the economy, legal discourse, and the like. Here we ask questions about the linguistic characteristics of these different discourses. In addition we relate the texts that instantiate these discourse to the context of their production, distribution and reception, as well as to their wider social context.
The module aims to familiarise students with the range of theories in Discourse Studies. It also aims to provide practical analytical skills and methodologies for analysing spoken, written and visual texts of different genres. Acquiring sufficient technical knowledge of linguistic description is regarded as an important practical goal. Hands-on practical work with texts will be an important element of the course.
The aim of the course is to examine contemporary language use online. We start from a social practice view of languages and literacies: that is we look at what people do online, what activities they engage in and what these mean to them. This means that in this module we look at language use online drawing on research sociology and cultural studies, not just linguistics. The course explores a range of platforms such as Wikipedia, Blogs, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. We talk about languages and literacies in the plural, because we start from the idea that there are many different ways of reading, writing and communicating via online technologies. This also means that we will investigate how digital communication is changing the way we, as researchers, study language. On the course, you will explore your own and other people’s digital language practices and you will be introduced to methods of researching language and literacy online. We will use a wide range of materials and readings, including videos, blogs and other online resources.
This course introduces you to fundamental concepts and approaches involved in the study of the links between language and society. We will look at a number of important approaches to sociolinguistic research, and cover the topics most central to the discipline and its development. These include language variation and change, which usually refers to social, geographical and stylistic differences within a single language and how they change through time; language contact, including pidginisation and creolisation and societal multilingualism, including language shift, language death and language revival.
About half the world’s population are bilingual, but what does this actually mean? This module provides an introduction to the subject of bilingualism and multilingualism, viewed from the perspectives of the individual (for example, how bilinguals code-switch or mix their languages in conversation), the community (what causes a group to give up their ancestral language and change to a new one, and what is the process for this) and the state (issues of language planning, policies and education). This module is designed to provide an introduction to the most important issues, methods and theoretical developments in the study of bilingual/multilingual societies. It aims to introduce different research approaches and to enable you to take a critical view of research in this field, drawing on examples from around the world.
In teaching we will draw on students’ own experiences of bilingualism and multilingual societies (even ‘monolingual’ societies are very often multilingual in reality) as well as looking at multilingual urban landscapes and multilingualism on the internet.
This course will focus on different methods and issues in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). CDA is broadly concerned with the way that language and other semiotic modalities reflect, legitimate and instantiate power and inequality in social relations. In this course, students are introduced to various methodological approaches to CDA which draw on and apply a range of theoretical frameworks including functional grammar, argumentation theory, cognitive linguistics, corpus linguistics, conversation analysis and pragmatics. A variety of discourses articulated in talk, text and image and operating across a range of social and political fields of action are considered, including discourses of race, immigration, war, national identity, political protest, and corporate responsibility. Students will also be encouraged to critically engage, through close textual analysis, with discourses of specific interest to themselves. Throughout the course, students will be introduced to and encouraged to engage with a number of theoretical and methodological debates currently ongoing in CDA.
This course aims to provide students with an understanding of the history and highly evolving status of forensic linguistics. To do this, we explore the nature of forensic linguistics, including its applications and limits, and investigate the differences between the broader and more narrowly defined notions of this field. We also carry out analyses of a variety of written and spoken texts from the point of view of language and the law, and explore some of the difficulties involved in writing up, presenting, and using scientific evidence in a court of law.
This course considers how meanings are constructed in communication. It aims (1) to cover the major areas in pragmatic theory, (2) to introduce the latest developments in those areas, and (3) to apply the theory to real data.
This course will introduce students to sociophonetics and equip them with the practical skills necessary to undertake a research project in sociophonetics. The course involves a synthesis of theoretical approaches and practical methodologies, and aims to introduce students to key issues and common analyses in the field. Students will learn how to use acoustic analysis software, such as Praat, and also learn to carry out data processing and analysis using R (a statistical programming language). There will also be the opportunity to integrate sociophonetic analysis with appropriate statistical methods and aspects of social and linguistic theory. The course will be structured around a series of topics that require students to analyse a particular area of phonetics in terms of its potential sociolinguistic significance.
Our sociophonetics course is designed for students who have already some undergraduate background in phonetics (including the International Phonetic Alphabet, articulatory descriptions, some basic acoustic phonetics). Please contact the course convenors if you wish to discuss this further.
This course is concerned with the linguistic analysis of literary texts. Its main aim is to enable students to use linguistic analysis in order to explain how literary texts achieve their effects (e.g. how they convey new views of reality, how they project text worlds and characters, how they convey different points of view). The course introduces the most central concepts in stylistics, including the most recent advances in the field (especially in cognitive stylistics). The focus is mostly on prose fiction, but poetry and drama will also be considered.
This course is essential preparation for undertaking the research involved in your course work assignments and dissertation and is taken by all students. It deals with theoretical, ethical and methodological issues that are central to research on language and language teaching, and has been designed to provide support for any postgraduate student undertaking research in the Department.
This module examines the range and variety of contemporary British fiction. Its five subdivisions are designed to highlight the different ways in which the sense of time manifests itself in present-day fiction – from the minimalism of Cusk and McGregor’s 24-hour novels to the temporal panoramas of Barnes and Mitchell’s fragmented world histories -- and to foster debate about the contemporary novel’s complex relationship with its modernist and realist forebears.
This module addresses the ways that contemporary literature, film and television engage with the Gothic literary tradition. Focusing specifically on texts produced since 2000, it explores the continuing relevance of Gothic in contemporary culture. The module aims to demonstrate the diversity and increasing hybridity of contemporary Gothic and with this in mind, enquires what happens when Gothic cross-fertilises a range of other modes and genres including musical, soap opera, noir, documentary, comedy, science fiction and the historical novel. It examines how traditional Gothic personae from vampires and ghosts to guilty fathers and disturbed children may find new life in the twenty-first century, and how traditional Gothic spaces from the haunted house to the fairground may be refigured in postmodern British and American culture. Finally, it reflects on what critics mean when they talk about Gothic and the ways in which the term is put to work in both popular media and in academic criticism. The self-reflexively uncanny properties of books, films, DVDs and other media will be a central feature of many of the texts under discussion, foregrounding the echoes and continuities between Gothic and postmodern fictional forms.
Each seminar will be based around two parallel strands, covering literature and television/film from 2000 to the present day. Screenings of the relevant films/programmes will be timetabled during the week preceding the seminar. Students will find it useful to have some prior knowledge of Gothic literature and/or film, but this is not essential.
This module uses contemporary theoretical models to explore the relationship between emotions and place in examples of early modern English literature. It begins by looking at the ways space is mapped in written and pictorial records, with an introduction to items in the Rare Book Archive in the Library and the electronic archive Early English Books Online. Site specific studies of texts (e.g. in Lancaster Castle and Penshurst Place) combine with study of fantasy sites like More’s Utopia (no-place) and early science fiction and travel writing. The course can be taken as part of the early modern pathway or as a stand alone module for those interested in developing transhistorical understandings of politics and place.
This module seeks to explore textual constructions of nineteenth-century urban spaces and those who inhabit them. What does it mean to live in the city in the nineteenth century and what might the city mean to its inhabitants and to the English population at large? We will consider the ways in which different types of space - the street, the graveyard, the house – are meaningful as well as the different ways more general conceptions of ‘the city’ are articulated across the century. We will pay attention to issues such as mobility, transport, technology, Englishness, class, gender, ethnicity, and religion, and we will engage with different theories of space and place (by authors such as Simmel, Heidegger, Bachelard and Massey). Throughout the course we will address the relationship between representation and place and how different types of imaginative literature present their urban spaces.
This module focuses on the idea of the ‘posthuman’ in fiction and film. It explores a range of literary and filmic texts from Romanticism to Postmodernism that have explored the question of what, if anything, might come ‘after’ the human race. To explore the figure of the posthuman in more detail, we will focus on a series of recurring tropes in posthumanist literature from H. G. Wells to Lars von Trier: the god, the monster; the robot; the cyborg and the clone. We will also place these texts in the context of various contemporary philosophical, religious, political and scientific debates surrounding the meaning (or meaninglessness) of human existence. In summary, the course will ask such questions as: why is the end of the human race such an enduring subject of fascination for writers and film-makers? Is it possible for human beings to imagine a world without human beings? Finally, what might a world after the human race look like?
This module explores the evolution of prose fiction from the late Romantic era through the first two decades of Victoria’s reign. A defining focus of the course will be on the ways in which the Victorian novel negotiates with Romantic legacies: the primacy of self, the necessity of intellectual and personal liberty and an ambivalence towards the past are crucial to the development of the genre. The historical frame of the course allows us to move from James Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851), one of the first novels of the American ‘Renaissance’. We will consider the shaping presence of other genres in the development of nineteenth-century fiction, including spiritual autobiography and the long poem. Historical contexts will also be emphasised with particular reference to the religious and political debates of the period. We will explore the emergence of the novelist as a major cultural figure and interrogate the ways in which the writers under review both internalise and contest the ethical, spiritual and economic forces of their historical moment.
This module examines the formal, historical, generic, cultural, intercultural, and interhistorical relationships between Victorian literature and other media, including painting, illustration, theatre, music, film, television, and new media.
The modules ENGL419M and ENGL149LS are intended for all MA students and for new first year Ph.D. students who have not taken an MA at Lancaster (it is designed in accordance with UK research councils training guidance). Seminars will run across terms 1 and 2, and dissertation supervision and a conference will take place in term 3. The modules aim to equip you with a range of skills, approaches and competences to draw on as early career researchers in the field of English Literary Studies and/or Creative Writing. As generalist modules, they are designed to complement the more specialist training you receive in seminars and supervisions. The modules will include sessions on research and writing skills, working with archives, working with theory, and will encourage reflection on the work of literary research. The modules will be assessed by a portfolio of tasks (that will be outlined fully within the seminar sessions). In the summer term, the module will conclude with a conference – organised by the students themselves – at which they will all give a paper relating to their research.
The central aim of the module is to introduce students to modern experimental methods of measuring the ubiquitous relationship between language and cognition, which is a basic theoretical tenet of Cognitive Linguistics. In particular, it will begin by presenting language acquisition as a general learning process, and looking at interactions between linguistic and social-cognitive development in children. It will then explore the growing body of experimental research that investigates how an individual’s linguistic and cultural background informs their view of the world, and impacts on their thinking processes in adulthood (also known as the linguistic relativity hypothesis). Hereafter, a central concern of the module will be the cognitive mechanisms by which languages are learned and processed, examining the role of individual differences, frequency of input, and memory and attention, with particular focus on artificial grammar learning, and second language acquisition and use.
The module will cover the field of Cognitive Linguistics. In particular, it will introduce the foundational principles of Cognitive Linguistics locating it in opposition to the more dominant model of Generative Linguistics. Hereafter, a central concern of the module will be the relationship between language and more general cognitive processes in the creation of meaning, as well as the relationship between language, body and mind. Students will therefore be introduced to a number of fundamental cognitive processes understood to support language, including categorisation, metaphor and Gestalt principles of organisation. The module will show how such processes underpin the semantics of various domains of cultural as well as physical experience.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Duration: 12 months, full-time; 24 months, part-time
Entry requirements: A good second class honours degree or its equivalent, in a relevant subject area
IELTS: 6.5 (with at least 6.0 in listening and speaking and at least 6.5 in reading and writing) or equivalent
Assessment: Coursework and dissertation
Funding: All applicants should consult our information on fees and funding.
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