Download the course booklet to find out more about Lancaster University, how we teach Linguistics and English Language and what you'll study as a Linguistics and English Language student.
Top reasons to study with us
7th for Linguistics
The Complete University Guide (2022)
12th in the world for Linguistics (QS World University Rankings 2022)
1st for Graduate Prospects (Linguistics) in The Complete University Guide 2022
What is the relationship between accents and social status? How can voice recognition technologies be improved? How does a child learn language? What do the world’s languages have in common, and how are they different? Linguistics offers a fresh insight into the human mind, combining arts and sciences into one captivating subject.
Our approach to linguistics brings to life the theory through exploring real-world implications and applications. We are one of the country’s largest Linguistics and English Language departments, meaning that we have a wide range of optional modules available to you throughout your degree programme. Our world-leading academics cover a very wide range of language study specialisms, and our students benefit from their expertise in lectures, seminars, tutorials, and supervisions. They will teach you from day one in small classes designed to challenge you as a linguist.
Whether you want to understand more about accents or the benefits of multilingualism, how people communicate across cultures or how politicians use words to persuade, we have expertise across a very wide spectrum. We have a large Phonetics Lab and Psycholinguistics Lab which students are encouraged to use throughout their degree programme.
In your first year, the Linguistics module gives you an introduction to the basics, touching on many intriguing and inspiring topics. You also take two other subjects to complement your major. A popular choice for one of these is English Language, but you could select subjects from other related disciplines.
In addition to the core courses about the sounds and structures of language, there are many exciting options for your second and final year. They include Child Language Acquisition, Corporate Communication, Language Change, Forensic Linguistics and Stylistics. In your final year, you’ll also write your dissertation, exploring a topic that particularly interests you. You will be supported by a supervisor, one of our staff who has expertise in the area you choose to research.
A Linguistics degree is well-suited for careers in education, publishing, the media and information technology. It is highly valued in fields involving international communication, such as science, trade and international relations. We offer a Linguistics degree which teaches you the skills of data analysis, academic writing, and argumentation, and we are confident that our teaching, combined with your willingness to learn, will put you in a strong position to move forward in your career.
Language study is not just about facts, but learning a range of skills in data management and analysis, the evaluation of evidence, and the synthesis and presentation of results. These are the kinds of skills that today’s employers value.
Typically, our graduates are interested in jobs in:
- Speech and Language Therapy
- Teaching (primary, secondary, and English as a foreign Language abroad)
- Journalism, Media and Publishing
- Speech Technology
- Public Relations
Some of our graduates continue their studies at Lancaster or other institutions and undertake postgraduate studies or professional training in the field of languages or linguistics.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, but that you also graduate with relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability/career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.
A Level AAB
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 35 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Distinction
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via email@example.com
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme to complement your main specialism. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster please visit our Teaching and Learning section.
The following courses do not offer modules outside of the subject area due to the structured nature of the programmes: Architecture, Law, Physics, Engineering, Medicine, Sports and Exercise Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedicine and Biomedical Science.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, and the University will make every reasonable effort to offer modules as advertised. In some cases changes may be necessary and may result in some combinations being unavailable, for example as a result of student feedback, timetabling, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes and new research.
This module will introduce students to areas and topics across the full breadth of the linguistics discipline. The core areas of phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax will be covered in some depth, whilst semantics and pragmatics will also be included. In relation to these areas, students will get an appreciation of some of the nature of some of the major theoretical debates, whilst they will also acquire some actual analytical skills, using data not only from English, but crucially also from other languages.
In addition to these core areas, a number of important sub-fields of linguistics will be dealt with, including Sociolinguistics, the study of language acquisition and learning, historical linguistics, and linguistic typology.
Finally, a number of applications will be discussed. Indicative topics here are; forensic linguistics, educational linguistics, and language testing.
This module will introduce students to the English language – how to describe it, how it varies and how it functions in a variety of contexts. You will not only study the traditional linguistic areas of English (e.g. lexis, grammar, phonetics), but also areas that are often overlooked (e.g. letters, spellings) and areas that have more recently come to the fore, such as pragmatics or conversation analysis.
You will learn about and apply linguistic frameworks in the analysis and explanation of variation in English, both present-day and, to a lesser extent, historical. In order to study this variation, you will become conversant with crucial descriptive concepts, such as accents, dialects, registers, genres, and styles, as well as possible explanations for variation.
You will learn about the role of practices and contexts in shaping the English language, for example, how new TV genres have come about; and also about the functions of English, for example, how it can be creatively exploited for the purpose of constructing a joke. Finally, you will learn about the teaching of English, especially as a foreign language.
Developing Academic Practice
This short module provides support for students transitioning from year one to the more independent work expected in year two and beyond. It gives students the opportunity to reflect on the feedback from their coursework and exams in year one, as a foundation for developing the level of academic writing required in subsequent coursework. It also develops students’ awareness of the resources available from the library and how these may be accessed and used, particularly for independent research in coursework and the dissertation, and offers early alerts to the Careers service and planning for life after university. All majors and joint majors with either Linguistics or English Language must take this module in their second year.
Sounds of the World's Languages
In this module you will learn to produce, describe, and transcribe all the sounds in the World's languages. We will describe the physiology of how different sounds are produced and will look at the acoustic characteristics of particular sounds. You will practise transcribing all sounds within the International Phonetic Alphabet, and will learn examples of where sounds are used. For example, we spend time looking at the occurrence of click sounds in South African languages and at how pitch variation is used in tone languages. Seminars will cover the practical aspects to sound production, and we will also spend some time learning how to use computers for speech analysis.
Structures of the World's Languages
This module will cover central concepts around word order, case marking, agreement, alignment, animacy, definiteness and valency changes and teach you to analyse new data from the world’s languages in terms of these topics. You will learn to critically evaluate the extent to which the structures of the world’s languages are shaped by cognition and communication. You will also learn how linguists provide explanations for why languages are structured the way they are, given the functions they serve. It is expected that you will acquire a better understanding of the structure of English as a result of seeing how English differs from other languages.
Child Language Acquisition
This module examines explanations of how we acquire our first language. We bring psycholinguistics and theoretical linguistics together to describe and explain the processes a child goes through in learning their first language. We also look at some more advanced issues such as bilingualism, language impairments, and language development in deaf children. The module is an introduction to language acquisition studies, psycholinguistics and theories of mind and language – looking particularly at the wide spectrum of different explanations for language acquisition.
While this module is intended for students of both English Language and Business, the focus is on language and its use by and in companies, focusing on key areas such as intercultural, gendered and leadership communication. This will be complemented by input on methods and genre, with a view to enabling you to apply the knowledge in your own assessed work.
The module aims to help you develop the skills to be :
- aware of how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning
- able to apply knowledge of corporate communication, including genres and audiences, to the analysis and critical examination of authentic data
- able to apply your knowledge of corporate communication to produce your own spoken and written texts in that area
- able to evaluate the merits of linguistic and management theories for the study of corporate communication
- able to apply your knowledge of corporate communication to produce your own texts in that area.
Discourse Analysis: Looking at Language in Use
The module aims to introduce students to the critical analysis of spoken and written discourse in contemporary social contexts. It provides a range of resources and techniques for analysing texts, and enables students to apply them in looking at use of language as one aspect of social processes and change in postmodern society. Methods include functional grammatical analysis of clauses and sentences, analysis of text cohesion and generic structure, conversational and pragmatic analysis of dialogue, and intertextual and interdiscursive analysis. With a focus on spoken data and conversation analysis, we will also address written texts and introduce Critical Discourse Analysis and provide a focus on institutional discourse. The module aims to support you in:
- developing your capacity for language analysis
- learning to apply academic knowledge and analysis to real world issues and problems
- developing a critical stance towards your social environment in its language aspects
- questioning and challenging social and intellectual authority and knowledge, including what is taught on the module.
The module will cover important aspects of English grammar, stressing the sense in which grammar (in English and in general) is not an abstract system of arbitrary rules but is motivated by meaning and shaped by usage. We will apply this so-called functionalist perspective not only to present-day English but also to the way in which certain grammatical constructions have developed over time. Topics typically include:
- The purpose of (studying) grammar
- Simple sentences
- Word classes
- Grammatical functions
- Sentence structures and functions
- Types and structure of phrases
- Complex sentences
- The passive: form(s) and function(s)
- The grammar of spoken English
This module will provide students with an introduction to the phonetics of English. The first part of the module will cover the initiation, articulation and transcription of speech. We will learn about vocal anatomy and physiology, including the oral cavity, the larynx, and the extrinsic and intrinsic muscles of the tongue. We will also address how sounds are produced, and how to transcribe phonetic variation using the International Phonetic Alphabet. The second half of the module will cover acoustic phonetics and the ways in which we can represent and analyse sounds using computers. Students will learn how to describe the acoustic properties of speech and acquire competence in carrying out particular forms of acoustic analysis. Throughout the module, we will apply some of the above concepts to understanding phonetic variation in English, including various kinds of social and geographical variation.
The purpose of this module is to allow students to pursue interests which are not represented in, or central to, named modules, subject to the availability of qualified staff. Students will engage in a programme of supervised reading and produce an extended piece of coursework.
Introduction to Computational Linguistics
This module introduces students to a range of technologies that require specialist treatment of linguistic data to function. Students will engage with technologies that require text databases (such as text categorisation technologies), as well as technologies that make use of the human speech signal (such as speech recognition and speaker recognition technologies). Students will not only learn about how these systems work, but they will also start to develop the coding skills required to build them. The module will be assessed by two reports that evaluate the performance of language technologies under different data conditions, reflecting the kind of development tasks undertaken in the technology industry.
Language and Pedagogic Practice
This module provides an opportunity for students to explore language, learning and teaching. A particular focus is on classroom language, including whole class, paired and group work situations. This includes consideration of the role of technologies. We will look at a wide span of educational contexts, as we examine language and learning from the early years of schooling to looking at talk in tertiary education. We will see that language varies greatly in character and purpose according to who is involved and for what purpose. We will compare the language and learning opportunities that arise in whole class situations with pair and group work. What do students gain when they work collaboratively to help one another? What kind of teacher questions and responses promote greater learning opportunities? Do some kinds of interaction limit the potential for learning?
Using data from actual primary, secondary and/or post-secondary classrooms, students will develop their ability to analyse classroom language to explore how language fosters and/or sometimes hinders learning. This course will be of particular interest to those students who are curious about language and education, or who are considering working in educational contexts.
This course is complemented by LING209 Literacy and Education. The two modules alternate, so LING209 runs one year and then LING218 runs the following year. Most students therefore have the chance to take both modules, one in their second year and the other in their third year.
Language Origins and Evolution
This module examines explanations of how language evolved in humans. We explore the evolution of the human language capacity drawing on evidence from linguistics, evolutionary theory, primatology and (paleo)anthropology. We consider language as a cognitive adaptation and ask what it is an adaptation for, e.g. instruction in tool making, as a form of social bonding, or as a means of winning a potential mate. We consider the phylogenetic development of language within the species as well as what cognitive and communicative abilities in non-human primates might reveal about the origins and functions of human language.
The Placement Module provides students with an opportunity to undertake a short period of work experience with an employer in the north-west. All second-year students are eligible to apply for an accredited placement that counts towards your degree but the number of students we can accept on this module is limited. If accepted, you will spend 4-5 days working for an organisation which employs graduates in English Language and Linguistics. The Department is usually able to provide travel costs associated with placements in the north-west. Placements are sourced by the Faculty Careers team and include positions in areas such as Publishing, Marketing, Social media and Advertising. Workshops will prepare you for your chosen placement and training will be provided. This module aims to give you a flavour for what it might be like to work in your chosen industry, as well as developing graduate skills such as teamwork, taking direction from managers, confidence and independent working. The course is assessed via a reflective project about your work place experience and learning.
The module is concerned with the linguistic analysis of literary texts, and particularly with the relationship between linguistic choices on the one hand and readers’ interpretations on the other. It deals with all three main literary genres: poetry, prose fiction and drama. Topics typically include:
- Foregrounding in language: deviation
- Foregrounding in language: parallelism
- Figurative language and thought
- Metaphor, metonymy and pain in verbal and visual art
- Narrative and point of view
- Fictional minds 1: point of view and mind style
- Speech and thought presentation
- Fictional conversations and characterisation
- Fictional minds 2: conversation and autistic characters
- Demonstration stylistic analysis: flash fiction
The Language of Advertising
We all know when an ad has caught our attention, and whether it works for us or not, but what precisely is responsible for these effects? In this module, we will learn how to take ads apart using tools taken from linguistics, rhetoric, and semiotics. We will explore how ad writers make use of the different levels of language: for instance, how they exploit sounds and spellings; how they toy with word meanings and word associations; how they manipulate, and sometimes break, the rules of standard grammar. We will also explore how ads interact with other texts and consider the relationship between words and pictures. As well as analysing ads themselves, we will also learn how to test out our intuitions about them, by investigating how the words, structures and visuals used in the ads are employed in other kinds of texts.
The module provides approaches to analysing media discourses and practices, through introductory readings and detailed case studies. We will critically examine a variety of methods to investigate 'old' and 'new' media, engaging with a diversity of modes and technologies.
There will be an emphasis on language and the internet including Wikipedia, websites, blogging, Twitter and Mumsnet. We also investigate news discourse, the history of broadcasting technology and the Edwardian postcard. Activities in lectures, seminars, and assessments will centre on analysing media texts and practices around them.
The module seeks to provide a closer look at selected aspects of language structure and how they are analysed within various theoretical frameworks. It aims to develop a critical awareness of theoretical constructs and the extent to which they influence not only analyses but also the choice of data to be analysed. Students will also be taught to evaluate the appropriateness of specific analyses for individual languages or facets of language. By the end of the module, you should have a good knowledge of the basic principles, notions and structures of Cognitive Linguistics, particularly of Cognitive Grammar.
In addition, you should develop:
- the competence to analyse linguistic (corpus) data in terms of these theoretical constructs;
- an appreciation of the sense in which Cognitive Linguistics is grounded in cognitive psychology, and how this is different from formalist frameworks such as Generative Grammar and its derivatives.
We will start with taught sessions covering the planning and designing of research in Linguistics and English language. We will cover topics including identifying and accessing relevant literature; formulating answerable research questions; working with data; and ethics and responsibilities in research. This is assessed through a short dissertation proposal. You will then carry out the research project planned in your proposal, working independently but with guidance from a supervisor. This culminates in the second assessment which is your written dissertation.
Topics in Phonetic and Phonological Theory
This module investigates some of the theoretical aspects to speech production and sound structure across the World's languages. We will spend time discussing and evaluating different frameworks for modelling phonetics and phonology, for example generative and usage-based approaches. Then, we will examine some case-study areas which challenge existing theories, for example intonational phonology and the study of historical sound change. This module aims to contribute to questions such as 'How are groups of sounds structured so that we can understand language?' or 'How are sounds stored and processed in the mind?'
Advanced English Phonetics
This module investigates a range of theoretical and practical issues in the phonetics of English, with a focus on the perception of speech. This means that we will be investigating questions such as: Is perceiving speech different from perceiving music or other sounds? How does our knowledge of language influence what we hear? How do people evaluate different voices and accents? In doing so, we will engage in discussion of key theoretical issues, as well as practical computer-based work, such as designing experiments to test aspects of speech perception.
Corpus-based English Language Studies
This module focuses on the contemporary field of English Language Studies. In particular, it will look at corpus linguistics - a research specialism at Lancaster University - and its application to areas such as the description of English grammar.
The module's programme of lectures will begin with a detailed introduction to the method before moving on, later in the term, to discuss the applications and implications of the method. Meanwhile, lab-based seminars will allow students to acquire and exercise practical skills with the computational tools (such as concordance software) required by the area of study.
The module will cover the two main sub-areas of the field, i.e. forensic phonetics and forensic linguistics more generally. Following a general introduction on the nature and history of forensic linguistics, lectures will focus on the two main questions forensic linguists concern themselves with: what does a text say, and who is (are) its author(s)? The issues of trademarks and lie detection do not fit into either of these, but will be covered as well. All aspects of the field will be illustrated with reference to specific (court) cases, which will also help shed light on the evolving status of forensic linguistic evidence in courts of law.
Language and Identities: Gender, ethnicity and class
This module is about sociolinguistics, and in particular about how language relates to identities at different levels – for example, how individuals use language to signal their membership of particular social groups, and how different kinds of social groupings – for example peer groups, communities and nations – identify themselves through language.
The module will focus on three important areas of variation in language within society: gender, ethnicity and class, and will discuss the key research in each of these. Both theoretical and applied aspects of topics will be covered. The notion of ‘Identity’ provides the module with a unifying theme.
This module aims to broaden and deepen your capacity for language analysis applied to real social issues and problems and to encourage you to evaluate research critically and undertake your own data collection and analysis.
Language, Culture and Thought
The module combines classic philosophical approaches with recent state-of-the-art experimental evidence to address a central topic in modern cognitive science: Does the language we speak affect the way we think? And as a result, do speakers with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds think differently? These questions form the core of the so-called linguistic relativity hypothesis, which will be the focus of this module. The module begins by laying down the foundation of the cognitive mechanisms underpinning the interaction between language and thought, such as working memory, semantic memory, and the structure and nature of meaning representations in the brain. The module then examines in detail the different ways in which language may affect thinking and give rise to cross-cultural and cross-linguistic differences between different populations, different individuals, and during first and second language development. Throughout, emphasis will be given to the different experimental methods used and the kinds of evidence that can inform our understanding of the linguistic relativity hypothesis.
Psycholinguistics is the study of the psychology of language, which is one of the abilities that makes humans unique. It can cover topics in social psychology, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. The exact topics we cover vary each year depending on who is teaching on the module, but we aim to balance these areas and include topics on how children learn language and to read, how language is used in social interaction, how adults process sounds, words and sentences, and what happens when children fail to learn language normally or when adults suffer from brain damage.
Schools Volunteering Module
This module will provide students with an opportunity to work as classroom volunteers in primary or secondary schools over the course of one term.
Fees and Funding
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2023/24 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2022/23 were:
Scholarships and bursaries
At Lancaster, we believe that funding concerns should not stop any student with the talent to thrive.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover the cost of tuition fees and/or living expenses.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small college membership fee which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2022, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2023 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Study abroad courses
In addition to travel and accommodation costs, while you are studying abroad, you will need to have a passport and, depending on the country, there may be other costs such as travel documents (e.g. VISA or work permit) and any tests and vaccines that are required at the time of travel. Some countries may require proof of funds.
Placement and industry year courses
In addition to possible commuting costs during your placement, you may need to buy clothing that is suitable for your workplace and you may have accommodation costs. Depending on the employer and your job, you may have other costs such as copies of personal documents required by your employer for example.
Fees in subsequent years
Fees are set by the UK Government annually, and subsequent years' fees may be subject to increases. For international applicants starting in 2022, any annual increase will be capped at 4% of the previous year's fee.
English Language and Linguistics
- English Language BA Hons : Q304
- English Language (Placement Year) BA Hons : Q305
- English Language (Study Abroad) BA Hons : Q311
- English Language and Chinese Studies BA Hons : TQ13
- English Language and Creative Writing BA Hons : Q3WV
- English Language and Creative Writing (Placement Year) BA Hons : Q4WV
- English Language and Creative Writing (Study Abroad) BA Hons : Q5WV
- English Language and French Studies BA Hons : QR31
- English Language and German Studies BA Hons : QR32
- English Language and Linguistics BA Hons : QQC3
- English Language and Linguistics (Placement Year) BA Hons : QQC4
- English Language and Linguistics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : QQC6
- English Language and Literature BA Hons : Q302
- English Language and Literature (Placement Year) BA Hons : Q303
- English Language and Literature (Study Abroad) BA Hons : Q306
- English Language and Spanish Studies BA Hons : QR34
- English Language in the Media BA Hons : QP33
- English Language in the Media (Placement Year) BA Hons : QP34
- English Language in the Media (Study Abroad) BA Hons : QP35
- French Studies and Linguistics BA Hons : QR11
- German Studies and Linguistics BA Hons : QR12
- Linguistics (Placement Year) BA Hons : Q101
- Linguistics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : Q103
- Linguistics and Philosophy BA Hons : QV15
- Linguistics and Philosophy (Placement Year) BA Hons : QV16
- Linguistics and Philosophy (Study Abroad) BA Hons : QV17
- Psychology and Linguistics BA Hons : CQ81
- Spanish Studies and Linguistics BA Hons : QR14
The information on this site relates primarily to 2023/2024 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.