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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.

  • Available in Clearing

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

York campus

  • UCAS Code – QQ13
  • 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 equivalent) including English Language

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £9,250 per year

    International 2020-21 £12,750 per year

Discover why York St John is The One

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

Year 1

Modules

Accelerated British Sign Language 1 (20 credits)

We have designed this module for beginners in British Sign Language (BSL) so if you have little or no experience, you will take this module. You will study BSL at level A1/A2 on the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR). You will learn to give a simple description of people, living or working conditions, daily routines and more. By the end of the module you will be able to use simple everyday greetings, respond to invitations and learn to explain your likes and dislikes using BSL.

Enhanced British Sign Language 1 (20 credits)

We have designed this module for those who have prior experience of British Sign Language (BSL), so if you have studied it before, this is the module you will take. You will study BSL at level A2/B1 of the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR). Using various video materials, you will develop your receptive skills, learning to understand signed communication and answer questions. You will learn key BSL grammatical features and practice your ability to sign short BSL narratives.

Deaf History (20 credits)

On this module you will study the history of Deaf people and Deaf communities. It introduces key terms and concepts such as post-colonialism, the Milan Congress 1880 and the Deaf Resurgence. You will be able to apply what you learn on this module to all areas of your degree. You will also consider what the future may hold for Deaf people and communities, discussing it with your peers and tutors in seminars.

English Language and Linguistics (20 credits)

This module aims to develop your critical awareness of language. It will introduce the historical development of language and of English, of linguistics, and a variety of systematic approaches to language study.

Accelerated British Sign Language 2 (20 credits)

This module continues your learning from Accelerated British Sign Language 1. You will study BSL at level B1 of the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR). You will learn to use more sophisticated everyday greetings and understand signed communication to respond and answer simple questions. By the end of the module you will be able to take part in unstructured social conversations in BSL and understand key BLS grammatical features.

Enhanced British Sign Language 2 (20 credits)

This module continues your learning from Accelerated British Sign Language 1. You will study BSL at level B1 of the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR). You will focus on developing your receptive and productive skills. By watching more complex video material you will also enhance your BSL receptive skills. At the end of the module you will have an in depth understanding of BSL grammatical features and be able to communicate on a theme of your choice.

Descriptive Grammar of English (20 credits)

On this module you will examine the grammatical framework of linguistic structures. You will consider how the elements of this framework relate to meaning. Where possible, you will explore these issues in relation to real texts.

Multilingualism (20 credits)

On this module, you will address the worlds linguistic diversity and variation. The module situates the English language within the context of our multilingual world. You will consider Language variation and multilingualism from linguistic, psychological, sociocultural and educational perspectives.

Year 2

Modules

British Sign Language for Education (20 credits)

Study how to use British Sign Language (BSL) for educational purposes. You will address appropriate registers for teaching children, young people and adults. You will also study vocabulary relevant to primary, secondary, further and higher education and cover lifelong learning too. The module gives you the chance to learn and practice teaching skills, applying your knowledge in a 10 minute micro-teaching session as part of your assessment. By the end of the module you will be communicating at level B2 on the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR).

Sociolinguistics of British Sign Language (20 credits) 

On this module you will focus on the sociolinguistic elements of British Sign Language (BSL). The module provides a link between your practical and theoretical modules and gives you the change to undertake small research tasks. You will study:

  • The history of BSL
  • The visual-spatial nature of the language
  • The Deaf community,
  • Culture and language learning
  • Interpreting. 
Analysing Texts (20 credits)

Develop advanced skills in reading and analysing texts. You will explore how to apply genre, ideology structure, critical reading and discourse when reading. Your broad linguistic perspective will provide insights into how we create and debate meaning in texts.

Applied Phonetics and Phonology (20 credits)

This module builds on and applies phonetics teaching from your first year. We will introduce you to aspects of phonetics and phonology which support the analysis of varieties of language. These include child phonology and languages other than English.

Language, Gender and Sexuality (20 credits)

Language, gender and sexuality is a diverse and often controversial field. It gives rise to varying and sometimes contradictory theories. This module will provide you with a grounding in the main areas of feminist and queer linguistic enquiry. The module aims to empower you to argue for your own position and to give you the grounding to develop your own work and ideas.

Linguistic Diversity in the Classroom (20 credits)

Apply your linguistic knowledge and explore linguistic diversity in schools and classrooms. You will draw on your knowledge of language acquisition, learning, and language diversity. Explore the concept of language inclusion in schools and how this might work in practice. You will also explore the practice of working with multilingual children who have Special Educational Needs.

World Englishes (20 credits)

This module builds on the key concepts introduced in your first year. You will address the development, structure and use of international varieties of English. Trace the origins and history of the language to its current role as a global language and gain a theoretical framework for the dissertation module in your final year.

British Sign Language for Employment (20 credits)

Learn how to use British Sign Language (BSL) for employment and consider how Deaf people interact with their work environment. You will address Deaf people’s rights in the workplace by looking at the Access to Work and the Equalities act. You will also study vocabulary relating to different careers and jobs and practice translation skills. You will also consider how communication technology, such as Skype can be used effectively by and for Deaf people.

Language at Work (20 credits)

On this module you will focus on your career. You will embark on a work placement for 10 days. 5 days will be completed in a graduate level role, the other 5 can be completed in a role of your choice. You will consider the role of language in different workplace issues. This might include looking at advertising, language and power and clinical communication. We will also help you to enhance your employability by providing training in:

  • Personal branding
  • Presentation skills
  • Interview and application writing skills.
Forensic Linguistics (20 credits)

On this module you will learn how to analyse language as forensic evidence across different crime scenarios. Using case studies, you will examine where forensic linguistics has played a key role in making convictions and overturning miscarriages of justice.

Language and Literacy (20 credits)

On this module, you will develop the ability to apply your linguistic knowledge to literacy acquisition. You will examine how oral language development feeds into reading and writing development. We will teach you how to analyse reading and writing performance at various stages of literacy development.

Psycholinguistics (20 credits)

This module helps you develop an awareness of the psychological dimensions of language knowledge and use. It will provide you with a broad map of the concepts, issues, phenomena and research methods associated with the field of psycholinguistics.

Sociolinguistics (20 credits) 

This module will help you develop your awareness of the sociocultural dimensions of language in use. You will investigate issues which make a difference to the way language is used in various aspects of everyday social life. Consider “user factors” by looking at who is involved in the language use and explore “situational factors” like where when and why the language is used. This module will provide you with theoretical constructs, methodological procedures, analytical tools and research skills that you can use in your other modules, and your dissertation.

Year 3

Modules

British Sign Language for Recreational Activities (20 credits)

On this module you will study how to use British Sign Language (BSL) in the context of recreational activities and consider Deaf people’s access to mainstream activities. You will learn how to use filming technology in informal environments and develop your vocabulary relating to social interactions and leisure activities.

Attitudes to Language (20 credits)

On this module you will examine publicly held views of language covering topics such as Standard English and correctness. With reference to education you will investigate the social, political and ideological issues associated with these views.

Child Language Acquisition (20 credits)

On this module, we will introduce you to the key theories of child language acquisition. The module takes a workshop approach to learning about how children acquire and produce speech sounds. You will examine the typical phonological processes seen in children, and how these articulations move towards the adult system over time.

Deaf Social Theory (20 credits)

On this module, we will introduce you to different social theories you can use to analyse the experiences of Deaf people and Deaf communities. These will include Boudieusian and Foucaultian theories, Deaf geographies and theories of Deaf pedagogy. You will think about why we need social theory and what it is. You will also deepen your understanding of Deaf history and Dead culture.

English Accents and Dialects (20 credits)

20 credits | OptionalOn this module, you will examine regional varieties of British English. Your focus will be on lexical, morphological, syntactic, phonetic and phonological levels. At the end of the module, you will be able to complete an analytical description and comparison of social and regional accents.

Second Language Grammar and Phonology (20 credits)

On this module, you will study second language acquisition theory and gain a critical understanding of variation in L2 English. Looking at both L1 and L2 Englishes, you will explore grammatical and Phonological features including:

  • verbs and clauses
  • word class and order
  • phonotactics
  • syllable structure and stress.
Language, Identities and Cultures (20 credits)

This module explores how language can function as an indicator of a range of social and cultural identities. You will examine how language plays an active role in constructing identities. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, you will analyse the relationship between language, identity and culture.

Speech and Language Pathology (20 credits)

This module will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to speech and language pathology. You will develop 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 (20 credits)

This module will train you to be a critical, reflective and adaptive TESOL professional who is aware of current debates in the TESOL field. You will also learn how to form and articulate your position on these issues. On the module you will study the practicalities of teaching, how to assess in a globalised world, analyse the goals, needs and preferences of your students and how to cater for individual differences.

British Sign Language for Mental and Physical Health (20 credits)

On this module, you will study how to use British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate on topics relating to mental and physical health. You will develop your vocabulary to include words and phrases about mental health and common physical diseases. By learning to describe body parts, you will be able to communicate ailments in more detail. You will also enhance your translation skills and apply these in a translation task as part of your assessment.

Dissertation (40 credits)

Your dissertation is the moment where you really take responsibility for your learning and conduct a piece of linguistic research on a topic of your choosing. Your tutors will help you to refine your idea, encouraging you to choose a topic that you enjoy and excel in. You will then attend 1 to 1 supervision where they will support you as you design and conduct your research and write up your findings.

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

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements. Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our international pages.

If your first language is not English you must show evidence of English language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

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 depends on whether you live inside the UK or EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK & EU 2020 entry

The tuition fee for 2020 entry onto this course is £9,250 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

International (non-EU) 2020 entry

The tuition fee for 2020 entry to this course is £12,750 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Tier 4 visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree.

International Fees and Funding 

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While 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 pages.

Accommodation and living costs

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

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

All undergraduates receive financial support through the York St John Aspire card. Find out more about the Aspire scheme and how it can be used to help you purchase equipment you need for your course. 

Aspire Card

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