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BA programme modules

Below you can read descriptions of programme modules for year 1, year 2 and year 3 of the BA Language, Culture and Communication, BA English Language and Linguistics, and the BA Linguistics with a Modern Language degrees.

Click on the module links in the table below to jump to a module description and information on availability.

* Please check our individual BA degree programme webpages (BA LCC / BA LML / BA ELL) for information on modules linked to a specific degree.

Module availability 2018/19

For students not on a Linguistics pathway, and for inbound exchange outside of CAL and ERASMUS students please note availability is limited on Applied Linguistics modules. Inbound exchange students registered with CAL, please liase directly with the CAL contact. If you are interested in taking a module please email Please note: We may not be able to confirm registration until Week 3 of Term 1.

Please note we have a few places available on the following modules:

ET116 Culture, Cognition and Society

ET211 Culture and Interpersonal Relations

ET212 Intercultural Business Communication

ET214 Qualitative Research

ET324 Multilingualism and Culture


For ERASMUS students:

If you are studying a module for 1 term = 12 CATS

If you are studying a module for 2 terms = 24 CATS

BA module descriptions
Year 1

ET116-30: Culture, Cognition and Society 

Is human cognition (the way the mind works) universal? Or do culture and society affect how we see the world? How do we understand (or misunderstand) each other in a multi-cultural society? In this module you will first learn about important aspects of cognition, such as perception, attention and memory before going on to examine the extent to which cognition is influenced by culture and society.

ET117-30: Foreign Language Learning 

What does it mean to 'know' a language, and to communicate in one? How do people learn a second language? What is the best way for you? And what are some of the global realities surrounding language use in the world today? These are the main issues to be addressed in this module. In this module, you will both engage you in learning a major language in the university's cutting-edge Language Centre and at the same time develop your ability to learn any language into the future. Which of these languages will you start with: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian or Spanish? All of them are on offer. While you're encouraged to begin a new language you can continue with one you already know if you prefer.

ET118-30: Linguistics: Understanding Language 

What is language? What is language made of? What do we do when we speak? What rules do we follow when we put sounds together to create words and when we combine words to create sentences? How many languages are spoken in the world today, and in which ways are they similar or different? These are some of the questions that this module will enable you to explore. In this module, you will use examples from different languages to help you develop practical skills needed to analyse real language data.

ET119-15: Language in Society 

What affects the way we speak? What is the difference between a language and a dialect? And how is power related to language? In this module we consider these and other questions and unpack the ways in which language shapes and is shaped by society. You will have a chance to look at how language works in different public and private contexts and in different multilingual and intercultural settings. Using real world data, you will be introduced to a range of different theoretical concepts and methodological approaches to help you understand, describe and interpret language use in society. The module provides a foundation both for further study of Communication and for Sociolinguistics in Year 2.

ET120-15: Research, Academic & Professional Skills 

What is research and how can we do it? What skills do you need to successfully conduct research? And, which of these skills are also relevant to the professional world? This module addresses questions like these, as it helps you to develop the research, academic and professional skills you need to be successful at university and beyond. You will explore different approaches to research and see how research has been conducted on a range of real life issues and concerns connected to language, culture and communication. The lectures will provide you with knowledge about different research methods and the process of conducting research in general. The seminars, on the other hand, will help you develop your analytical toolkit that will serve you in multiple contexts, including your future workplace. This course also sets the foundation for ET214 and ET215 where you will conduct more extensive language, culture and communication research projects in topics that interest you.

ET121-15: Describing English Language

Are the rules of English grammar fixed for all time or are they changing? Is it important to follow rules such as not splitting an infinitive? What is the difference between an adverb and an adverbial? In this module we will learn about the structure of the English language and explore answers to these questions. You will develop a sound grasp of a useful method for exploring English grammar, and learn the relevant terminology. By the end of the module, you will be able to apply this descriptive framework to any text in English and understand the effect of grammar choices on your style of writing.

ET122-30: The History and Spread of English

The English language has become a global phenomenon, with the number of speakers who learn it as a second language outnumbering those who acquire it as a first language. How did this situation develop? Where did English come from and how has it changed over time? What has happened to English as it has internationalised? This module will give you a comprehensive understanding of the historical and global complexity of the English language. You will learn about its roots and how it has developed. You will also gain an enhanced awareness of current issues related to its global spread and influence on other languages.

ET123-15: First Language Acquisition

Learning a language is an amazing feat, but it is one that children seem to take in their stride and manage to do without much effort. In this module you will learn how this happens. What comes first? How are sounds perceived and produced? How are words formed? How is meaning mapped onto sounds? When do word combinations become sentences? You will be introduced to the key concepts, terms, theories and research evidence related to the acquisition of language in children as well as relevant research methods so that you can engage with analysis of child language.

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Year 2

ET211-30: Culture and Interpersonal Relations 

Why does intercultural misunderstanding occur in communication? Conversely, what do we need to know and do in order to be able to effectively build and maintain relationships across cultures? This module provides an introduction to the nature of the cultural expectations that shape how linguistic and non-linguistic behaviour is interpreted, how social attitudes shape our perceptions of self and other, and the various strategies by which rapport can be managed within the context of intercultural relations.

ET212-15: Intercultural Business Communication 

How does culture affect the way we do business? How can we communicate effectively across culturally different workplaces and with diverse stakeholders? What is localisation and why is it relevant? This module will help you to gain a better understanding of communication within and across global businesses at individual and corporate levels, internally and externally. One important topic we’ll engage with is the way social media has changed the landscape of business communication and how values and beliefs about culture are having an impact on new media use in the modern business world. This module will promote your awareness and understanding of key aspects of communication, and importantly help you to develop your ability to communicate effectively across differences within the context of global business culture.

ET213-30: Linguistics: Acquisition & Use 

What do the world’s languages have in common and how are they different? How can we classify languages? Why do languages change? How is language acquired? How does the brain create language and how does language shape the mind? This module expands on concepts introduced during ET118: Linguistics: Understanding Language in order to provide core knowledge and skills for students in all fields of language study. You’ll learn about more advanced phonetic, phonological and morpho-syntactic features of a wide range of the world’s languages and dialects. You’ll explore methodologies from a range of linguistic disciplines to document, study, and analyse real-world language data. You’ll be introduced to research in subfields of linguistics such as second language acquisition and language change.

ET214-15: Qualitative Research Methods

Have you got an inquisitive mind? Would you like to learn how to design, develop and conduct research in issues related to language, communication and culture? The ability to conduct research is a great skill to have and is one that is highly sought after by employers. In this course you will develop an understanding of qualitative research, including the primary approaches to carrying out qualitative research, some of the important data collection techniques, and how to analyse qualitative data. You will also have an opportunity to hone the crucial skills and attributes you need to be able to conduct research in the future including resilience, intellectual curiosity, personal and project management and critical thinking. This course will give you an opportunity to formulate, design and conduct your own qualitative research project related to a language, culture and communication issue you are interested in, and will provide you with support and feedback along the way to help foster your development as a researcher.

ET215-15: Quantitative Research Methods

This module builds on and extends the foundations laid down in ET120 Research, Academic & Professional Skills and constitutes the natural progression from ET214 Qualitative Research. While focusing on the generic principles of planning, collecting and analysing data that is quantitative in nature, there is a strong emphasis on honing your own research skills. This is achieved not only through weekly exercises in the seminar, but also via an empirical group project that you will carry out together with some of your colleagues. Throughout the module, you will learn about the purpose and application of different quantitative research designs and their relevance in applied contexts, such as organisational analysis and consulting. At the end of the module you will not only be able to critically review quantitative data and understand its power as well as its limitations, but also demonstrate those skills that are crucial to generate, analyse and interpret such data in the workplace.

ET216-15: Sociolinguistics 

Why do we speak differently in different situations? Can you identify the different features of a Geordie and a Liverpool accent? Do men and women really speak differently? And what underlies these differences? In ET216 we explore questions like these as we examine the relationship between language use and social context. This course builds on ET119 (Language in Society), but goes deeper to help you develop a greater understanding of the relationship between language use and its social context. It also provides you with an opportunity to conduct your own sociolinguistic research study. After taking this module, you will be armed with a set of theories, insights and skills to be able to address questions such as those above, and explore your own questions in relation to how language works in our world.

ET217-30: Approaches to Analysing Discourse

Why are some texts easy to read and others not so easy? What makes a piece of writing persuasive? What can you learn about a person from the way they speak? In this module you will learn how to analyse both written and spoken texts in detail. You will become familiar with a wide range of discourse-analytical frameworks and techniques, applying them to spoken, written and electronic data, You will be introduced to a range of approaches to theorising the links between discourse and society so that you can understand and discuss how society influences discourse and vice versa.

ET218-15: Language Teaching Methodologies

How should English be taught? What skills does an English language teacher need to be able to teach English effectively? What can help or hinder learners from becoming proficient in English? These and other questions relating to the teaching and learning of English, both theoretical and practical in focus, will be explored in this module. Specifically, you will learn about the principles, research and current issues underlying the teaching of English as a second or additional language, and you will learn how to evaluate materials and develop your own tasks for English language teaching. The module will give you a very good foundation should you wish to teach English in the future, both in the UK and abroad.

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Year 3

ET315-30: Dissertation

Do you have a topic or question about Language, Culture and Communication or English Language and Linguistics that you would like to explore in depth? By the time you get to the third year you are likely to have a lot of potential areas of interest. For the dissertation module you get the opportunity to develop a project around one of these interests and, with the support of a supervisor, conduct research and write it up! As well as developing content knowledge in an area of interest to you, the dissertation will help you enhance your research, critical and creative thinking, time management and academic writing skills. The dissertation module also provides excellent training if you are interested in undertaking postgraduate study beyond the BA.

ET316-15: English Across Cultures

People sometimes think of English speakers as all belonging to a single culture. However, the way English is used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other English-speaking countries exhibits a range of interesting differences that reveal insights into different subcultures of English. In addition, many non-native English-speaking countries now rely on English as a second language, and its use as a lingua franca is also commonplace around the world. This raises many interesting questions: How does English vary within and across these contexts, and what happens when it is used as a lingua franca or in combination with other languages? Is English becoming more powerful as a language, or is its influence waning? What is its effect on other languages, and what will happen to English in the future? In this module we examine questions like these as we explore the various functions and forms of English across cultures.

ET319-15: Professional Communication

What do professional athletes, healthcare workers, phone sales teams, teachers, journalists and politicians all have in common? Like many other professionals, they rely on communication in some way shape or form to be able to conduct their professional duties. In this module we explore professional communication and look at what linguistics knowledge can help uncover about the nature of communication in different professional sectors. This module provides critical interdisciplinary insights to promote a deeper appreciation of the way language is used at work. Importantly, the module incorporates practical applications of what you have learned that will directly enhance your employability as a global graduate.

ET320-15: Language in the Media (available from October 2019)

What influences the way language is used in the media? How do journalists, footballers, politicians and advertisers use language to shape their media messages? What happens to your own language when you have an online audience through social media? In this module we explore questions like these in order to develop a greater understanding of what lies behind language use in the media. You will develop an awareness of how language is used in print, broadcast and social media contexts, and by prominent institutions such as journalism, politics, advertisers and professional sport. You will be introduced to key issues including the role of news values, power and control, ideology, identity and audience perception. You will also get the chance to use these theories to analyse media texts of interest to you.

ET321-15: Issues in TESOL (available from October 2019)

Is it better to teach English with a textbook or without? Is teaching grammar effective? How can you continue to develop as a teacher? In this module you will critically evaluate the principles underlying the teaching of English and further develop your understanding of language learning and teaching. You will have the chance to critique published teaching materials, deepening your understanding of the intentions of materials writers and the rationale behind the language and skills practice activities that are presented in TESOL course books. You will also learn about the importance of reflection for teachers at all stages of their careers, and look at some ways to achieve this.

ET322-15: Intercultural Pragmatics (available from October 2019)

How does miscommunication work? Are the rules of politeness universal? Why is it sometimes difficult to know what is appropriate in a different language? In this module you build on your earlier study of pragmatics by focusing on concepts related to intercultural pragmatics. You have the opportunity to analyse and reflect critically on pragmatic issues arising from language use in different intercultural and multilingual contexts. You will have the opportunity to work with real life data and increase your understanding of the affective power of language and issues of appropriateness in language use.

ET323-15: Language, Gender and Power (available from October 2019)

Why do people think there is a difference in the way women and men talk? What is the relationship between communication styles, social evaluation and power? And how are language and sexuality related? In this module you build on your first and second year study and critically explore language, gender and sexuality in different everyday and professional settings. You investigate identity negotiation in real life data and critically evaluate key concepts, models and research findings associated with language, gender and power. You will have the opportunity to design your own small scale research project focusing on a topic related to language use and gender that you are really interested in.

ET324-15: Multilingualism and Culture

Is it an advantage or disadvantage to be brought up bilingual? Is the bilingual or multilingual mind different? How do multilingual individuals draw on culturally shaped understandings of the social world to manage their interactions? In this module you will become familiar with key terms, concepts, theories and research evidence related to linguistic, psychological, and social aspects of bi/multi-lingualism. By the end of the module, you will be able to describe and discuss evidence in bi/multi-lingualism research, analyse the use of language in bi/multi-lingual contexts and evaluate theoretical and empirical research in bi/multi-lingualism.

ET325-15: Communication Modes

Our ability to communicate is a multimodal achievement. Our sounds, our gestures and facial expressions and the words and grammar we use can all simultaneously contribute meaning to our messages and the interpretation of others’ messages. In this module we look at how these different modes contribute meaning in our communicative endeavours. While we will explore these different modes separately, the module will also bring them together so as to develop an appreciation of the complexity involved in the achievement of communication.

ET326-15: Global Public Relations

What is global Public Relations? How are various PR disciplines (e.g., media and social media relations, internal and crisis communications) implemented across countries? How can PR specialists address diversifying target groups? These are some of the questions you and your peers will be enabled to explore in this module. Moreover, you will use these insights to develop and pitch your own strategic global communication concept as part of a competition. By the end of this module, you will have gained excellent (group) presentation skills and a strategic mindset to employ PR tools in a global context.

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