What is it for sounds, gestures and marks on paper to have meaning? What are the various uses to which we can put language, and how does it manage to have the effects it has? How do we learn language? And how does the language we use reflect society, the nature of our thoughts, and what we take reality to be like?
Our BA Philosophy and English Language degree allows you to examine the nature of language, through two distinct approaches. You’ll develop a range of skills in analysing the structure of the English language and how it is used in a variety of situations, while exploring and challenging the assumptions about the nature of language, its limits and how it functions.
In your first year, alongside core linguistics modules, you’ll learn to think critically by examining how language may be used – and misused – in reasoning and persuasion. You’ll also study social and political philosophy, covering topics such as freedom of speech, and examine the nature of mind and reality.
All our philosophy lecturers are active researchers, so you’ll share the excitement of doing original work in a supportive and highly-rated academic community. Our English language lecturers are research-active academics working in cutting-edge areas such as language and gender, formulaic language, corpus studies, bilingualism, bilingual processing and codeswitching.
Core modules in your second year focus on English grammar and the sounds of English. You can explore theories of how and why language developed and study language-related real-life problems such as plagiarism and crime investigation in forensic linguistics. In Philosophy, you may explore a wide variety of topics, including the option to learn some languages of logic.
Work placement/study abroad option: Between your second and final year, you’ll have the option to study abroad or do a work placement for up to a year. Not only will this give you an amazing experience to talk about but will also give your CV a boost. If you’d rather go straight to your final year, that’s absolutely fine too.
One final-year option is corpus studies in English language, which will develop your research skills through your use of Sketch Engine, a text analysis tool that allows you to search vast samples of language, or corpora. In Philosophy, there is the option to study more advanced contemporary themes and theories in the philosophy of language, and also to take a module which focuses in particular on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s influential work on the nature of language.