Skip Navigation

BA (Hons) English course preparation

To help you feel prepared for your BA (Hons) English 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:

Ready, set, READ.
LING1015: The Sounds of English
LING1016: The Structure of English
LIT1020: Ways of Reading
LIT1024: Literary History

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?

Useful websites

If you’re looking for something to read, have a look at the Poetry Foundation website, or if you’re after something to listen to, try this podcast.

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 .

Other websites include:

Other things to try over the summer

  • Buy a notebook and use it to record ideas, snippets of overheard conversations, poems, short stories, etc. As well, describe one incident in clear prose as though it were a passage from a novel you’d like to read
  • Write a short story
  • Learn a new language, Duolingo is helpful
  • Make a haiku
  • Create a bullet journal
  • Start your own blog

Meet your programme lead