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:
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
- Carr, P. (2013). English phonetics and phonology: an introduction. Oxford: Blackwell
- Collins, B & Mees, I,M (2019). Practical phonetics and phonology. London and New York: Routledge. (Any earlier edition is also relevant)
- Ogden, R. (2017). An introduction to English phonetics, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press
LING1016: The Structure of English
- Berry, R. (2018). English Grammar: A Resource Book for Students
- Crystal, D. (2004). Rediscover Grammar. Harlow: Longman
- Crystal, D (2018) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. London: Routledge
- Thorne, S (2008) Mastering advanced English. Basingstoke: Palgrave
LING1017: Studying English Language
- Bloomer, A; Griffiths, P & Merrison, A.J. (2013) Introducing language in use. London: Routledge
- Carter, R; Goddard, A; Reah; Sanger, K & Swift, N (2008) Working with texts. London: Routledge
LING1018: Exploring Variation in English
- Beal, J. (2010). An Introduction to Regional Englishes: Dialect Variation in English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- Bloomer, A., Griffiths, P. & Merrison, A.J. (2005) Introducing language in use. London: Routledge
- Holme, J and Wilson, N. (2017). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Abingdon: Taylor and Francis.
- Hughes, A., Trudgill, P. & Watt D. (2012) English accents and dialects: an introduction to social and regional varieties in the British Isles. London: Hodder Arnold
LING1019: Language and Meaning
- Hoffmann, Th.R. (1993) Realms of Meaning. London: Longman
- Jackson, H. (1988) Words and their Meaning. London: Longman
- Leech, G.N. (1981) Semantics (2nd ed.) London: Penguin
- Murphy, M.L. (2010) Key Terms in Semantics. London: Continuum. (e-Book)
LING1020: Language, Mind and Communication
- Aitchison, J. (2011) The articulate mammal: An introduction to Psycholinguistics. London, New York: Routledge Classics
- Bejarano, T. (2011). Becoming human: From pointing gestures to syntax. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins. (e-Book)
Creative Writing general texts
- Graham, R, The Road to Somewhere: A Creative Writing Companion. (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2004)
- May, S, Doing Creative Writing. (London: Routledge, 2007)
WRI1018: Introduction to Poetry
- Astley, Neil, Being Human (Newcastley: Bloodaxe Books, 2016)
WRI1019: Introduction to Fiction
- Borrowdale, David (ed.) A Girl’s Guide to Fly-Fishing (Reflex Press, 2018)
- Marek, Adam. The Stone Thrower (1st Edition, Comma Press, 2012)
- Graham, Robert et al, How to Write a Short Story (And Think About It) (Palgrave, 2017 2nd Edition)
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
- Buy a notebook and use it to record ideas, snippets of overheard conversations, poems, short stories, etc
- Read the first three issues of The Black Market Review, an international literary journal edited exclusively by Creative Writing students
- Learn about your own accent and dialect
- Learn a new language, Duolingo is helpful
- Write a short story
- Make a haiku
- Write a sentence a day
- Create a bullet journal
- Start your own blog/tumblr/YouTube channel
- Join our Creative Writing Facebook group
Meet your progamme leader
Additional ways to prepare
Preparing to start
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