Part time 36 Month(s)
This MA focuses on the description and explanation of the English language, including its structure, functions and social contexts of use. English language here refers to the study of English as an academic subject, not the practice of English.
It is designed to appeal to a wide audience (including U.K. teachers of the English Language A level). Each of the six modules, spread over two years, begins with a Saturday face-to-face session at Lancaster University and is completed in distance mode. Assessment is via coursework. The final year involves a dissertation supported by an individual supervisor.
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
The aim of this module is to investigate the resources available in spoken English for conveying information. We shall be studying spoken data from a range of sources, including natural data in a corpus of spoken English, and other data from certain non-standard varieties. We will pay particular attention to (i) the nature of information in the speech signal, and (ii) those aspects of speech which are crucial for effective communication but which are inadequately represented in the writing system.
This course aims to provide students with a solid foundation in the grammar of English, prominently including the ways in which it interfaces with, and is often motivated by, meaning (semantics-pragmatics). Using a fairly standard textbook (see below), we will go through the main areas and aspects of English grammar (word classes, grammatical functions, complementation, etc.). However, where many traditional courses in English grammar (and the textbook we use as well) would discuss these only or mainly in terms of their structural aspects, we will go beyond that by showing how an appreciation of their meaning adds to our understanding. In the process, sometimes long-established definitions turn out to need to be re-assessed in so-called ‘functional’ or ‘cognitive’ terms. We conclude the module by considering how this modern ‘cognitive’ approach might also enrich traditional teaching methods.
Corpus linguistics is a methodology whereby large collections of electronically transcribed texts are used in conjunction with computer tools to investigate language. The course centres around two main parts: (1) methods of analysis for exploring linguistic variation (concordances, collocations, frequency lists, keyness), and (2) applications of corpus linguistics (language teaching, forensic linguistics and discourse analysis). Students will also learn how to use corpus analysis packages such as BNCWeb and AntConc.
This module has three aims: (1) to enable students to differentiate between various definitions of discourse, genre and text; (2) to enable students to apply a range of analytical methods to different genres of mainly spoken and written discourse; and (3) to familiarize students with specific analytical approaches to spoken and written discourse. Whilst it takes account of the various meanings that the term “discourse” has across the social sciences and humanities, it shall primarily be concerned with discourse seen as language in use. This means that we shall look at the technical details of linguistic analysis, while also asking how different kinds of language use relate to society as a whole. The seminars will involve practical hands-on work with texts and transcripts representing a variety of genres. While dealing with both spoken and written discourse, the module is divided into analytical approaches informed by areas such as pragmatics, critical discourse analysis and, to a lesser extent, cognitive linguistics.
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 aims to introduce the main developments in the History of English at a variety of linguistic levels, as well as the controversies that have accompanied those developments. The first session of the course discusses different versions of the history of English, including the controversies surrounding its origins. The following four sessions encompass the key structural aspects in the development of English, specifically concerning letters, spellings, lexis and semantics. These sessions will also introduce the latest methods in establishing the descriptive history of English (notably through the use of corpora and the electronic Oxford English Dictionary) and the latest theoretical accounts (e.g. lexicalization and grammaticalization). The following session is designed to offer an opportunity for students to practice researching historical linguistic features and to learn about what computer resources are available. The following three sessions introduce three fields – historical sociolinguistics, historical pragmatics and historical genre analysis – that have come to the fore in the last decade of English historical scholarship. Where possible, sessions will not only discuss and problematize the topics and theories, but also aim to equip students with the skills for historical research.
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: 36 months, part-time
Entry requirements: An upper 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
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