English Language & Linguistics BA (Hons)

Our English Language & Linguistics programme enables you to study language from a broad range of perspectives, including the way speech is articulated, how language is structured and related to meaning, and how it relates to speakers’ intentions and purposes in social interaction.

As well as studying how speakers and writers use language, you may also study social attitudes to language, and the way language choices can express identities and cultural values.

UCAS course code
York St John University
Course fees
2019 - 2020: Home & EU students: £9,250 per annum, International (non EU) students: £12,750 per annum
3 years full-time | part-time options available on request
Study Abroad
Yes - see our study abroad web pages for more information
Start date
September 2019
Languages & Linguistics

Course overview

The English Language & Linguistics degree programme aims to educate you, excite you and empower you. Let’s do the education bit first.

Everyone uses language, but not everyone knows about it - for example, why we have certain words and phrases; how we learn language; why our language abilities sometimes fail us; why people might have different views about what is correct; how language varies…

If you choose to study our English Language & Linguistics degree, you will learn about all these aspects, and more.

But we also want to excite you. Our staff are real enthusiasts. We live and breathe language, and we want you to share our passion for the subject. Of all the complimentary things our students say about us, the most frequent comment is that our own fascination for our subject area really comes across to students and helps them to do well. We are a very experienced team of people who are highly qualified academically, but also friendly and accessible who understand the nature of learning and teaching.

Knowing about language, and being enthusiastic about it, is empowering. It means you are much more likely to be an effective language user, because you understand others’ meanings and are thoughtful about your own. To be in control of the meanings you express is a very powerful position, regardless of whether you exercise your language skills in workplace contexts, or in personal relationships.

Find out more about us by following us on Twitter ‎@YSJLangLing and visiting the School of Languages and Linguistics.

Dr Rachel Wicaksono - Head of School, Languages & Linguistics

92% of students on TESOL & Japanese BA (Hons) were satisfied with their course.

National Student Survey 2017

Course structure


This programme enables you to study language from a broad range of perspectives, including the way speech is articulated, how language is structured and related to meaning, and how it relates to speakers’ intentions and purposes in social interaction.

As well as studying how speakers and writers use language, you may also study social attitudes to language, and the way language choices can express identities and cultural values.

While some modules are compulsory and are therefore always on offer, optional modules may vary according to student demand and staff availability. The information below is based on what we currently offer, but we are always looking for ways to explore new areas of language study and new questions about language use.

Level 1

Modules include:

  • Introduction to 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. Seminar sessions will allow you to develop academic literacy skills through individual and small group development of lecture content, and workshop sessions will focus on an introduction to the study of English phonetics.
  • Introduction to Language & Society: This module explores key aspects of language variation and the relationship between language and society. Throughout the module, you will be introduced to terms, ideas and approaches to the study of language and society and to some general notions of language variation. The module considers different types of language variation (phonological, lexical, grammatical, discursive and generic) from both a synchronic and diachronic perspective. You will learn about language as a social phenomenon and will be given opportunities to explore the role that social and cultural context plays in language variation. The module also introduces you to the ways in which language resources can be used to reflect and construct a range of social identities, such as social class, gender, sexuality, age, race and ethnicity. Throughout the module, you will be introduced to different ways of approaching the analysis of linguistic variation and will have opportunities to collect, record and transcribe their own linguistic data.
  • Semantics & Pragmatics: In order to give an overview of the analysis of the interpretation of meaning in language use, theories of semantics and pragmatics will be explored as well as applications of such theories. In the main, such applications will be based on English. Examples from other languages will be used where possible and appropriate.
  • Multilingualism: The 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 from linguistic, psychological, sociocultural, socio-political, educational and public policy perspectives.
  • Language Structure: Phonetics: This module introduces the principles of articulatory phonetics and instructs students in the description, recognition and production of a subset of the sounds and symbols of the International Phonetic Association.
  • Language Structures: Grammar: 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.

All modules are worth 20 credits unless stated otherwise.

Level 2

Modules include:

  • Language Acquisition: This module introduces you to the key theories of first and second language acquisition, including an examination of empirical data.
  • 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.
  • World Englishes: This module addresses the development, structure and use of international varieties of English (World Englishes), tracing the origins and history of the language in the British Isles to its current role as a global language; the effects of the spread of English on other languages, cultures and identities; and the implications of World Englishes for language policies and practices, both in the UK and abroad.
  • Analysing Talk: This module introduces fundamental concepts of conversation analysis.
  • Analysing Media 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.
  • Language, Gender & Sexuality: This module is designed to give you a thorough grounding in the main areas of feminist and queer linguistic enquiry. Language, gender and sexuality is a diverse and often controversial field, which gives rise to varying and sometimes contradictory theories and methods of analysis. You will learn about a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of language, gender and sexuality. You will learn about how some of these approaches have been applied in domains such as education, the workplace, literature and the media. The main aim of the module is that, after you have been presented with some of these theories, approaches and applications, you will be able to take up and argue for your own, informed position and use the grounding you have received as a starting point for your own work and ideas. You will be required to collect and analyse your own linguistic data throughout the module and in the final written assignment.
  • Psycholinguistics: This module will develop your awareness of the psychological dimensions of language knowledge and use and to provide 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 can make a difference to the way language is used in various aspects of everyday social life. Such issues will invariably involve user factors (who is involved in the language use) as well as situational factors (where, when and why is the language used). Different theoretical and methodological approaches to sociolinguistic study will be addressed and the different themes with which each is centrally concerned will be identified including the concepts of face and im/politeness.
  • Language at Work: This module addresses the University commitment to ensuring that graduates of York St John have worked towards the development of their own post-graduation careers. As such, this module comprises of a mandatory 15 day work placement as arranged by yourself. In addition, given the fundamental importance of language and communication in any working organisation, 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.
  • Phonetics & Phonology: This module introduces the central principles of phonetics and phonology, exploring the interface between the two disciplines.
  • e-communication: This module examines some of the new genres of communication that have been made possible by new technologies and considers how they both reflect and construct changes within communities and language use practices. Covering a broad range of linguistic topics and approaches this module focuses on how new technologies have enabled new practices of communication and the impact of this upon both online communication and broader discourses on language.
  • 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. Some of the topics we will discuss include how BSL has developed and its relation to other sign languages in the world, how the visual nature of BSL affects language use in deaf communities, and interpretation from BSL to English and vice versa. We will also 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.
  • Forensic Linguistics: Forensic linguistics is a relatively new and rapidly expanding branch of applied linguistics which focuses on all aspects of language and the law. On the module, you will learn how to analyse language as forensic evidence across a range of crime scenarios which may include: plagiarism and ghost-writing; rape; terrorism; armed robbery; and murder. We will examine cases in which forensic linguists have played a key role in making convictions and in successfully overturning miscarriages of justice. You will also learn about how language operates within the legal process. This includes learning how to analyse courtroom discourse, police interviews and legal statutes.

All modules are worth 20 credits unless stated otherwise.

Level 3

Modules include:

  • English Accents & 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 ideological issues associated with these views.
  • Language and Identities: 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 constructing identities. The module takes an interdisciplinary approach to analysing the relationship between language, identity and culture. It will allow you to develop advanced skills in analysing spoken and written texts and provides opportunities for you to put into practice the skills in linguistic analysis developed on other modules. In undertaking this module, you will develop an understanding of some different theoretical perspectives and debates relating to language and identity. You will learn about, and have opportunities to apply, different linguistic frameworks for analysing language and identity.
  • Language in Inter-Action: 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.
  • Speech & 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.
  • Reflections and Connections in Linguistics: This module aims to encourage you to engage with and reflect upon your learning over the entire course of your degree programme. It invites you to critically evaluate and integrate themes from across and beyond the course. Joint Honours students will normally reflect on connections between their two subjects.
  • Dissertation: The ELL Dissertation aims to provide an environment in which you are encouraged to take responsibility for managing your own learning and its outcomes. The module aims to foster this learning environment by facilitating independent linguistic research on a topic of the your choice (as far as university resources allow at the appropriate time), backed by tutorial supervision. (40 credits)

All modules are worth 20 credits unless stated otherwise.

Teaching & Assessment

Level 1

From your first weeks at university, you will engage with information literacy, supported by the programme team and our Academic Liaison Librarian, who contributes to a range of our modules, including the compulsory module Introduction to English Language and Linguistics. The programme team support digital literacy, for example, training students in the use of  blogs. The programme team are very experienced in the use of web-based resources for teaching and learning; all modules are supported by well populated and creative sites hosted on the University VLE. Research skills are embedded in modules as students are introduced to library skills, academic writing, data analysis and using electronic tools for analysis. 

Level 2

You may go on international exchange at level 2, either for one semester or two. 

Beyond the compulsory modules, you can exercise choice across level 2, opting for those areas in which you see interest value and a fruitful knowledge base for your future development. You may also choose a language in your second year at a level higher than Beginners.

Research skills are embedded within modules, for example, work on ethics, project design and argumentation skills. The presentation of work is expected to be more professional; and oral presentations more accomplished.

Level 3

You are expected to be maximally self-reliant and to learn how to use your tutors as one resource among many. In terms of subject knowledge, you are expected to be able to see some of the limitations of theoretical approaches, while also using knowledge gained over the previous two years to problem-solve and critically evaluate different linguistic phenomena.

You are supported in your dissertation by your supervisor, including in research skills where appropriate. You will also carry out the independent reflective essay, drawing on tutorial support to enable you to make connections between aspects of your undergraduate programme. Group academic tutorials support research skills for dissertations and project work. Level 3 offers more career orientation through modules that have a direct application to a number of working contexts, for example, Theories and Methodologies in TESOL and Attitudes to Language.

Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Disability Advice

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of disability advice services to assist students throughout their studies.

Our School

As a Languages & Linguistics student you will be part of the School of Languages & Linguistics (SoLL), along with other Undergraduate and Postgraduate students studying British Sign Language, French, Spanish, Japanese, English language, Linguistics and Clinical Linguistics. Our research is rated 'internationally excellent' and we frequently collaborate on research projects with our students here in York, as well as with academic colleagues across the University and around the world. We are very proud of our students' commitment to the School. As members of our well-established student societies, the Languages Society, the Japanese Society and the Linguistics Society, they organise an exciting programme of events for students (and staff!), including: a regular guest lecture series, overseas trips, conferences, dinners, and other social events.

School Opportunities

  • Japanese Society: experience Japanese culture and meet home and exchange students.
  • Specialist spaces: the Languages Workshop, the Linguistics Lab, the Lounge and the Study. 
  • Community programmes: YESOL (York: English speakers of Other Languages) and YEAL (York: English as an Additional Language). 
  • Trips: recent trips include the British Museum in London, Denmark, Sweden and Paris. 
  • Talks: the Colloquium Series and languages talks. 
  • Research: join our Students-as-Researchers scheme or present your dissertation research at ULAB, the Undergraduate Linguistics Association of Britain conference. 

Find out more about the School of Language & Linguistics.

Entry requirements


The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

96-112 UCAS Tariff points

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

Calculate your tariff points.

Personal statement

Essential criteria

As well as a strong standard of written English, we also look for the ability to demonstrate knowledge and commitment to the subject (and languages in general). This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, through previous study, relevant work experience and wider reading.

Valued criteria

Candidates can demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this include:

  • Further study e.g. additional languages
  • Discussion of future career plans
  • Demonstrating relevant transferable skills
  • Extra-curricula activities such as relevant conference/lecture attendance (e.g. English Language & Linguistics Colloquium Series
  • Becoming a member of appropriate societies
  • Subscribing to (or reading) relevant journals/magazines
  • Being involved in overseas exchange programmes

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.

Visit York St John.

Discover life as a York St John student by visiting us. You’ll be able to explore our beautiful city-centre campus, meet our friendly staff and find out more about your chosen course.

Visit us

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 offer 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

UK & EU 2019 / 20

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.

Fees & Funding

Overseas 2019 / 20

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.

International Fees & Funding

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.

Accommodation and living costs

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

Study abroad

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

Financial help and support

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

International students

We welcome international students from all over the world at York St John University and have a vibrant international community. You can find out more on our International Pages about how you can study with us and what it’s like to live and learn in York, one of the UK’s most historic cities.

Unistats data for this course

Ask a question

Do you have a question about this course? Fill out our form to send a question to our Admissions team. Alternatively, you can call us on 01904 876922.

Cookie Settings