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English Language and Literature

English Language and Literature

Major subject – English Language and Literature

Expertise in English involves much more than the ability to express oneself fluently in the language. As a student of English Language and Literature you will also study linguistics, literature and society. Linguistics introduces you to the fundamental concepts for understanding and describing language and linguistic phenomena, including language use, linguistic expressions and language attitudes, language learning and the history of the English language. In studies of literature, you will gain knowledge of literature in English and its history along with insights into the methods and terminology of literary criticism and scholarship. In studying society, you learn about the diversity of people, ways of life, values and identities, as well as the changing nature of political and social institutions, primarily in Great Britain and the United States. In this way, you will gain an understanding of the close relationship between the language and its social context.

At the BA (Bachelor of Arts) level, studies in English Language and Literature are the same for all students. At the MA (Master of Arts) level, you can choose between four different tracks. In the English Language and Literature Specialist Track you have access to a wide variety of choices and your studies are almost entirely in English. In the Combined Specialist Track you include a minor subject or elective studies in a variety of combinations in your degree. In the Teaching Track, or subject teacher line, you take a special course on language learning within your major subject, while your minor subject will consist of pedagogical studies. In the Professional Communication Track, you focus on organisational communication in English and choose courses in economics for the rest of your degree. In addition, all students complete a period of language practice in an English-speaking country, for instance as an exchange student or in a job.

Linguistic research is concerned with investigating the structure, functions, variation and evolution of the English language from a variety of perspectives. It focuses on, for example: various types of texts; spoken language and dialects; language and gender; language and identity; linguistic minorities and multilingualism; the historical development of the language; language for special purposes (jargon); online language; language acquisition and development; and the language of fiction.

Literary research examines genres and texts from various periods and geographical regions in the English-speaking world. It may deal with the social, historical or biographical aspects of texts, or explore the complex relationship between text, author and reader from various theoretical perspectives.


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