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BA (Hons) English Language course preparation

To help you feel prepared for your BA (Hons) English Language studies, we’ve gathered together a range of course related activities including suggested reading, useful websites and some great things to do right now. Read on to find out more:

Suggested reading

You’ll 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 some suggested texts you might like to read, if you can, before starting your degree. 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, 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 during your first 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

We’d recommend reading work by Professor David Crystal if you can. 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 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.
  • 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/YouTube channel