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BA (Hons) English Language course preparation

To help you feel prepared for your university studies, we’ve gathered together a range of course related activities including suggested reading, useful websites and some great things to do right now. Open the links below to find out more:

Suggested reading

You will be given lots of information about which textbooks to read and introduced to the University Library, as well as the many ebooks we have for you to access, when you begin your studies in September.

In the meantime, there are a few suggested books you might like to read before starting your degree if you can. We don’t recommend rushing out to buy texts before you arrive but if you can pick some up second hand, borrow from a library or access online to read over the summer, we suggest:

LING1015: The Sounds of English
LING1016: The Structure of English
LING1017: Studying English Language
LING1018: Exploring the Variation in English
LING1019: Language and Meaning
LING1020: Language, Mind and Communication

Read P.H Matthews Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction

You will hopefully have received an edition of P.H Matthew’s Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction from us earlier this year. It is an excellent introductory text that we will be using in Welcome Week as the basis of English Language subject meetings. If you have time over the summer and would like to give yourself a head start, why not have a read and think about the following questions:

  • What is linguistics?
  • Can we say anything with confidence about the origin of language?
  • Why does language change?
  • When different languages draw different distinctions, do their speakers still perceive the world around them in the same way? Or do people speaking different kinds of language think of it differently?
  • What are the two classes of vowels in English and what do they each contain?
  • Are there ‘speech centres’ in the brain?

Read Professor David Crystal’s work

If you are considering studying English Language at university, we would recommend you start with reading work by Professor David Crystal. This will give you the chance to explore some of the language theories you will study at university and discover which parts of English Language you are the most interested in.

Take the New York Times accent quiz

You could even start thinking about your own accent and dialect to prepare you for conversations surrounding this subject at university. Take the New York Times Accent Quiz

For each question in this quiz, choose whichever answer comes closest to how you talk casually with friends and family. This way you will be able to find out whether your dialect is linked directly to the area you live in or whether it has been influenced by other social factors.

Useful websites and podcasts

  • Make sure to visit the Prospects website if you’re thinking about a future career in English.
  • You can also create an online To Do List here.
  • Listen to Lexicon Valley, a podcast about language.

Other things you could try over the summer

  • Learn about your own accent and dialect
  • Learn a new language, Duolingo is helpful
  • Make a haiku
  • Write a sentence a day
  • Create a bullet journal
  • Start your own blog/tumblr/YouTube channel

Additional ways to prepare

Preparing to start

This session examines how to make a successful transition to university. From planning your results day, accommodation and commuting tips, extra support available to you and general advice on uni life.

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Find out more about who you are

The following information provides an insight into what to expect when coming to university along with some good advice on how to navigate some of the potential challenges you may face.

Start preparing yourself