Undergraduate course

British Sign Language, English Language & Linguistics BA (Hons)

Want to learn about language and linguistics while learning British Sign Language?

bsl students

Join a thriving community of British Sign Language (BSL) speakers in a school which prides itself on a personal approach to learning. You will learn to communicate in BSL to an advanced level at the same time as asking big questions about how people use, learn and understand languages.

96% of graduates from our School of Languages and Linguistics were in employment or further study within six months.

  • UCAS Code – QQ13
  • Location – York campus
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2020
  • School – Languages & Linguistics

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2019-20 £9,250 per year

    International 2019-20 £12,750 per year

The York St John Experience

Course overview

You do not need any previous experience of BSL to join the course, as you can start your language learning from either beginner or intermediate level. As you progress through the course you will have the opportunity to study for nationally-recognised Signature qualifications in British Sign Language. Alongside your language learning you will also explore the historical, social and linguistic aspects of BSL. Studying the lives of deaf people, their communities and culture gives context to your language development and allows for a more rounded understanding of BSL.

This course also allows you to understand BSL in the wider context of language and linguistics. In your linguistics modules you will learn about how language is structured and articulated, how we use it to convey meaning and how we acquire it. 

You will also consider social attitudes to language, assessing the place of English in a multilingual world and exploring how languages can express identity and cultural values. You can also choose between many specialist modules, delving deeper into the study of accents and dialects, forensic language or the relationship between gender, sexuality and language.

In your second year you will have the chance to find out more about language, linguistics and BSL use in the workplace with a fifteen day work placement in a relevant setting. You may also have the opportunity to contribute to some of our exciting research through our Students-as-Researchers scheme. All students have access to dedicated work spaces including the Languages Workshop and the Linguistics Lab.

Course Structure

Level 1

Modules

Semester 1:

One of:

British Sign Language Beginners 1- This course is suitable for complete beginners or those with very little prior knowledge of the language. BSL is a visual/gestural language so much of this module will be about getting to grips with this new modality.
British Sign Language Intermediate 1 - Taking a broad view on sign language this module enables you to develop the ability to communicate with Deaf people in a range or familiar and work-related contexts, participating in longer and more open-ended exchanges.
Both of:

Deaf History – This module will look at the history of deaf communities and people around the world, including key theoretical concepts such as colonialism and postcolonialism. We will explore the experiences of deaf people in the past, and look at the emergence of key philosophies around sign languages and deaf people from Ottoman Empire to present times.
English Language and Linguistics - This module aims to develop your critical awareness of language, introducing the historical development of language and of English, of linguistics, and a variety of systematic approaches to language study.

Semester 2:

One of:

British Sign Language Beginners 2 - This module builds on the knowledge gained from the BSL Beginners module to develop students’ proficiency in the language. Vocabulary and phrases will be revised and expanded so that you can cope with a greater range of scenarios and in greater depth. As well as every-day, practical situations like choosing goods in shops or making enquiries about family, we will study topics such as interests and activities, refreshments and directions
British Sign Language Intermediate 2 - This module builds on the knowledges gained from BSL Intermediate 1. Vocabulary and phrases will be revised and you will look into real-world situations.
Both of:

Descriptive Grammar of English - This module examines the grammatical framework of linguistic structures. Discussions will also consider how configurations of the elements of this framework relate to meaning. Where possible, the module examines these issues in relation to real texts.
Multilingualism - This module addresses the world's linguistic diversity and variation and situates the English language within the context of our multilingual world. Language variation and multilingualism are considered form linguistic, psychological, sociocultural and educational perspectives.

Level 2

Modules

Semester 1:

One of:

British Sign Language Intermediate 1 – This module will take a very broad view on sign languages, to enable learners to develop an ability to communicate with Deaf people in a range of familiar and work-related, contexts, participating in long and more open-ended exchanges. This will contain more Receptive skills.
British Sign Language Intermediate 3 – This module builds on the knowledge gained from BSL Intermediate 1 and 2. It allows the student to put skills together to demonstrate that they can understand and exchange information during a routine conversation.
And:

Sociolinguistics of British Sign Language - This module will take a very broad view on sign languages, in particular British Sign Language, to explore the historical, social and linguistic aspects of signed languages, signing people and sign language communities. We will look at a few different ways of analysing languages, and perform some experiments in class to see how these issues can be explored in a practical way.
One of:

Analysing Texts - This module allows you to develop advanced skills in reading and analysing texts, across a variety of genres. You will explore how notions of genre, ideology structure, critical reading and discourse can be applied when reading texts. Specifically, a broad linguistic perspective will provide insights into how meanings are created and debated in texts. As a result, you will have more understanding of issues of representation and power in contemporary discourses.
Analysing Talk-in-Interation - This module develops students’ skills in close and detailed analytical observation of actual inter-actional behaviour. It introduces fundamental concepts of conversation analysis including the transcription and sequential organisation of talk-in-interaction. Topics covered will include issues such as Turn-Taking, Repair and Preference Organisation.
Applied Phonetics and Phonology - This module builds on and applies phonetics teaching from level 1. You willl be introduced to aspects of phonetics and phonology which support the analysis of varieties of language including child phonology and languages other than English.
Language, Gender and Sexuality - Language, gender and sexuality is a diverse and often controversial field, giving rise to varying and sometimes contradictory theories. This module will provide you with a thorough grounding in the main areas of feminist and queer linguistic enquiry. The main aim of the module is to empower you to argue for your own position, and give you the grounding from which to develop your own work and ideas.
Language Diversity in the Classroom - This module will consider issues of language use in education.
World Englishes - What is the impact of the spread of English on other languages, cultures and identities? This module addresses the development, structure and use of international varieties of English, tracing the origins and history of the language to its current role as a global language.
Semester 2:

One of:

British Sign Language Intermediate 2 - This module builds on the knowledges gained from BSL Intermediate 1. Vocabulary and phrases will be revised and you will look into real-world situations.
British Sign Language Advanced 1 - This course is designed so that students gain a more indepth understanding of the linguistics of BSL and will be able to use and understand varied BSL in a range of work and social situations. Some sample topics include 0 established and productive lexicons, different BSL verbs, different sign types and non-manual features in BSL.
And:

Language at Work - This module comprises of a 10-day work placement. In addition the module will consider relevant issues and practices within places of work as well as the communication demands on the prospective work-seeker within contemporary society.
One of:

Communication, Reasoning and Persuasion - This module explores the link between language use and reasoning, focusing on how this link underpins the persuasive power of language. Data used comprises, but is not limited to, communication about different cultures and unfamiliar contexts. You’ll develop research skills through weekly data analysis.
Forensic Linguistics - On this module you will learn how to analyse language as forensic evidence across a range of crime scenarios, examining cases in which forensic linguistics have played a key role in making convictions and overturning miscarriages of justice.
Language and Literacy - This module will introduce you to key issues in relation to the development of literacy, focusing primarily on the development of writing skills.
Psycholinguistics - This module helps you develop an awareness of the psychological dimensions of language knowledge and use and provides you with a broad map of the concepts, issues, phenomena and research methods associated with the field of psycholinguistics.
Sociolinguistics - This module investigates what issues influence the way language is used in various aspects of everyday social life. Different theoretical and methodological approaches to sociolinguistic study will be addressed and the central themes of each will be identified, including concepts of face and im/politeness.
All modules are worth 20 credit points unless otherwise stated.

Level 3

Modules

Semester 1:

One of:

British Sign Language Intermediate 3 – This module builds on the knowledge gained from the BSL Intermediate 1 and 2. It allow for the student to put both skills together to demonstrate that they can understand and exchange information during a routine conversation.
British Sign Language Advanced 2 - This module follows on from BSL Advanced 1 and aims to develop students' advanced language skills and provide them with an insight into Deaf culture and issues.
Two of:

English Accents and Dialects - During this module you will learn about regional variation in pronunciation, lexis and syntax.
Attitudes to Language - This module examines publicly held views of language. It covers topics such as Standard English and correctness. With particular reference to education it also investigates the social, political and idealogical issues associated with these views.
Child Language Acquisition - This module introduces students to key theories of child language acquisition with a focus on the acquisition of speech sounds. The module takes a workshop approach to learning about the typical phonological processes seen in children and how these articulations move towards the adult system over time.
Deaf Social Theory - Deaf Social Theory – As Pierre Bourdieu once said, ‘Research without theory is blind, and theory without research is empty’. This module will build on the key concepts established in the first year Deaf History and Deaf Culture modules to examine in more depth the different social theories which can be used to understand the experiences of deaf people.
Language, Identities and Cultures - This module explores the ways in which language can function as an indicator of a range of social and cultural identities and how language plays an active role in contructing identites. The module takes an interdisciplinary approach to analysing the relationship between language, identity and culture.
Language in InterAction - This module introduces fundamental concepts of discourse analysis. It will involve studying language in use from a Clarkian perspective which recognises formal, functional and social aspects of using language to do things.
Grammar and Phonology - You will explore core features and structures of English grammar and phonetics. Skills taught on this module will enable the detailed description of L2 Englishes, drawing on theories of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and second language acquisition.
Speech and Language Pathology - This module will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to speech and language pathology and give you an appreciation of how clinicians evaluate and make decisions about intervention to remediate speech and language difficulties in both adults and children.
TESOL Theories and Methods - This module applies linguistic theory to the practical issues of teaching English to speakers of other languages. Theories of second language acquisition and learning, and methodologies of second language teaching will be related to a variety of teaching and learning contexts world-wide.
Semester 2:

One of:

British Sign Language Advanced 1 - This course is designed so that students gain a more indepth understanding of the linguistics of BSL and will be able to use and understand varied BSL in a range of work and social situations. Some sample topics include 0 established and productive lexicons, different BSL verbs, different sign types and non-manual features in BSL.
British Sign Language Advanced 3 - This module follows on from BSL Advanced 2. As well as developing students' early advanced language skills, this module also aims to develop students' ability to critically evaluate Deaf issues.
And:

Dissertation (40 credits) - you will carry out independent research related to your programme on a topic of your choice backed by tutorial supervision.

All modules are worth 20 credit points unless otherwise stated.

Teaching & Assessment

Delivery

British Sign Language classes are delivered in small groups of up to 25 students. Deaf studies modules are delivered using a mixture of lectures, workshops and seminars. Seminar groups have up to 30 students.

Academic and research skills are embedded in modules, for example, academic writing and referencing, peer review, use of web based resources for document sharing and the use of wikis and blogs.

Contact Hours

You will take three modules per semester (except for your final semester when you will take a 40-credit dissertation module and one other module). Each module has 2-4 hours of contact time. The taught sessions could be spread across all five days of the week, or could be concentrated into fewer days. Taught sessions are scheduled between 9.00am-8.00pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9.00am-1.00pm Wednesday, and 9.00am-6.00pm Friday.

As well as the taught sessions, you will also have academic tutorials through the semester, you can set up tutorials with your module tutors, and you'll be able to attend events such as the Colloquium Lectures and Language Talks.

Self-study time 

You will take three modules per semester (except for your final semester when you will take a 40-credit dissertation module and one other module). Each module has 2-4 hours of contact time. The taught sessions could be spread across all five days of the week, or could be concentrated into fewer days. Taught sessions are scheduled between 9.00am-8.00pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9.00am-1.00pm Wednesday, and 9.00am-6.00pm Friday.

As well as the taught sessions, you will also have academic tutorials through the semester, you can set up tutorials with your module tutors, and you'll be able to attend events such as the Colloquium Lectures and Language Talks.

Staffing

Our British Sign Language & Deaf Studies academic staff are Amanda Smith and Dr Dai O'Brien.

You will be taught by other academic staff in the School. The School of Languages & Linguistics Head of School is Dr Rachel Wicaksono. The British Sign Language, English Language & Linguistics programme is managed by the Subject Director for Languages and TESOL Dr Becky Muradás-Taylor. University support staff are well intergrated into our programme, for example, a representative from the library contributes sessions on research and referencing over the course of the programme.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

96 UCAS Tariff points

3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay will depend on whether you're a UK & EU student or an international (non-EU) student. Tuition fees are charged for each year of your course.

Find out more about funding for Foundation Year and/or Placement Year by visiting the Funding Advice pages of our website. York St John offers special reductions to students graduating from York St John University Undergraduate degrees in 2019 and continuing directly onto Postgraduate study. Find out more about discounts and scholarships. There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

 

Tuition fees

Home / EU students

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE Primary and Secondary and UG Health Programme degrees is £9,250 per year for UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

Overseas students

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE degrees is £12,750 per year for international students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

Funding your course

Additional costs and financial support

COURSE-RELATED COSTS

Whilst studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

STUDY ABROAD

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad webpages.

ACCOMMODATION AND LIVING COSTS

View our accommodation webpages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

FINANCIAL HELP AND SUPPORT

Help and advice on funding your studies at York St John is available through our Money Advice service.

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