English Literature course or English Lit AND Language course, and at what Uni?

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mickh
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I'm in my first year of college and have started looking into what courses and unis I like the look of and was hoping I could get some advice!
I know for a fact that I want to do English, but I'm finding it exceptionally hard to determine what type of course I want to do.
My top three unis that I love the look of so far are Uni of Leeds, Newcastle and Bristol. Bristol only do one English course and I love the sound of it, meaning I'm having no difficulty with that. But both Leeds and Newcastle offer the chance to do either English Literature or English Literature AND Language, and I just don't have a clue what to go with! I've read the course details but they seem to be quite brief so I don't really know specifically what each course includes and how they differ so much (obviously I know one will include the study of English Language aswell, but what does this involve?)

I'm hoping I can get some feedback from people who have studied either of the courses at Leeds or Newcastle.
Oh and also I'd love to know a bit more in general about studying English at Bristol, Leeds and Newcastle and what any current or post-grads think of the unis in general?
Thank you
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Strawberrycayk
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English Language explores how humans developed the ability and the apparatus to produce speech and communicate with one another, looking at the parts of the brain involved during speaking, reading and listening. You will also explore animals and language, how they communicate with one another and whether animals are capable of learning to communicate with humans, if they can grasp the concept of grammar (see the documentary on Nim Chimpsky). You will learn about speech sounds, accents etc
You might cover the Universal Grammar theory if you take Syntax, in grammar itself you will find out that everything you ever learned about English grammar up till now was wrong XD In grammar and syntax you're going to be learning how to construct tree diagrams, figuring out how to prove a sentence is grammatical or not, learning how certain sentence structures are achieved (like questions). You might have the opportunity to take a psycholinguistics related module where you will conduct experiments or research language experiments, there's also child language which involves learning about how children develop speech, exactly what triggers it, exploring different theories and studies regarding children who were/were not able to develop speech because they were cut off from society (see the documentary on Genie).

I've definitely missed out a lot more haha but this is just an overview of what Language involves and what you're likely to come across whilst studying an English Language degree.

With English Literature, it's heavily history based. So you will be reading novels, plays, poetry and so on, exploring the different styles, learning about the writers and the periods the works were written in. E.g. when we studying Great Expectations we were focusing on colonialism, industrialisation, women's roles, sexuality and the bildungsroman amongst a few other things. You basically use a novel to form a detailed picture of the time it was written in and the kind of people who were alive at the time. You're definitely going to have to look up a lot of critics and use them in your work. Once you hit modern literature you're going to be analysing texts a bit differently, you will learn about psychoanalysis (Freud etc), the way the novel has changed in modern lit etc.
I currently completed a Renaissance and Enlightenment module (I think this is a major module in a lot of universities), for Enlightenment we used the set texts to explore views on the civil wars, reactions to Charles I's execution and opinions on Cromwell. Additionally, we used texts like Defoe's Moll Flanders to explore London, women and sexuality, slavery etc which also tied in with Aphra Behn's Oroonoko. Oh and there's lots and lots of Shakespeare. LOL.

Again, this is just a really small picture of all the things you will potentially cover in both courses.
I've done a joint honours in English Language and English Literature and will be changing it to a single honours in English Literature during my final year. I fully enjoyed English Language though and got a lot out of it!
I recommend reading some textbooks to figure out what looks more important to you. For English Literature check out the Norton Anthologies (I think all universities use these for Lit) and for Language have a look at books covering topics like Language Acquisition, anything by Noam Chomsky, Grammar and Syntax books etc and watch some documentaries These should give you a good idea of what you're getting into.
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The Empire Odyssey
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I think the person who replied is pretty much spot on (but you have to take on board whether that person does go to one of the unis you listed).

I'm guessing since you are interested in Language, you are either doing English Lit and Lang (combined) or studying them separately?

Now, I was in the same position as you (having studying both English A-levels) and found A LOT of unis offering English Language and Literature so I thought, oh I can look at loads. However, when I got to A2 English Language, I actually didn't like the topics as much as the AS topics so I considered whether pursuing accent/dialect, grammar, history of English Language was worth it. I've come to the conclusion that I do like all of these, but I prefer Linguistics such as children's language acquisition, psycholinguistics and all that jazz.

I like English Literature more and I think it's more optional than English Language. However, I enjoyed Lit more this year (A2) than Language. On the contrary, I have always been stronger with Language so I thought it would be easier to to apply for either an English degree where you can pick more Lang or Lit modules instead of having to do 4 modules in Lit and Lang that some unis require their students to do.

But, since I've firmed a uni to study English Literature and Classics, this uni allows you to pick at least one Lang option per year which is more ideal for me since I don't have an all round interest in Language like I do for literature.

You can visit these unis now, for general Open Days, but when it comes to your UCAS application and etc which I think starts in Nov, you will be heavily into your A2 subjects and that would determine your choice as it does for most people. I think when you get to A2 you realise what you actually like and dislike about your favourite subject which is more realistic than saying "I love EVERYTHING about my subject" because in the ideal world, this will not be the case.

If you're looking for anyone who studies this subject and those unis, you can post a general thread in their uni rooms and see if you get any replies.
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mickh
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(Original post by Strawberrycayk)

Again, this is just a really small picture of all the things you will potentially cover in both courses.
I've done a joint honours in English Language and English Literature and will be changing it to a single honours in English Literature during my final year. I fully enjoyed English Language though and got a lot out of it!
I recommend reading some textbooks to figure out what looks more important to you. For English Literature check out the Norton Anthologies (I think all universities use these for Lit) and for Language have a look at books covering topics like Language Acquisition, anything by Noam Chomsky, Grammar and Syntax books etc and watch some documentaries These should give you a good idea of what you're getting into.
Thank you so much! Your reply has already helped me in coming to a decision. Both courses sound so interesting but English Literature is definitely my preferred choice, it always was but as I've took both English Language and English Literature separately at AS Level and love both, I was unsure of whether to go with the single Lit honours or the combined Lit and Lang but now I feel sure that my initial decision of doing just Literature is the right choice.

I like that you can choose to do the occasional language module throughout aswell! I've had a look at Newcastle's English Lit degree overview and it sounds very similar to what you studied. It gives the opportunity to do a module in sociolinguistics which sounds good, so hopefully I'll find a way to fit in a bit of Language at some point haha!

Thanks a lot for such a detailed response I really appreciate it
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mickh
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(Original post by Cool_JordH)

I'm guessing since you are interested in Language, you are either doing English Lit and Lang (combined) or studying them separately?

But, since I've firmed a uni to study English Literature and Classics, this uni allows you to pick at least one Lang option per year which is more ideal for me since I don't have an all round interest in Language like I do for literature.

You can visit these unis now, for general Open Days, but when it comes to your UCAS application and etc which I think starts in Nov, you will be heavily into your A2 subjects and that would determine your choice as it does for most people. I think when you get to A2 you realise what you actually like and dislike about your favourite subject which is more realistic than saying "I love EVERYTHING about my subject" because in the ideal world, this will not be the case.

If you're looking for anyone who studies this subject and those unis, you can post a general thread in their uni rooms and see if you get any replies.
Hi, thank you for your response!

Yep I study both English Literature and English Language as separate subjects at AS and love them, I'm carrying both onto A2 along with philosophy.

That sounds great and is exactly what I'm hoping I can do now I've settled on doing English Literature, I'd be more than happy to just do the occasional Language module as Lit is definitely the subject I feel most passionate about.

I have only recently started using TSR so I'm sorry to be a pain but could you explain how I add this thread to the specific uni forums please?

Thanks for your help!
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by mickh)

I have only recently started using TSR so I'm sorry to be a pain but could you explain how I add this thread to the specific uni forums please?

Thanks for your help!
You can either post it again, or ask on of the TSR people in the Sticky rooms of English to send it over
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Strawberrycayk
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(Original post by mickh)
Thank you so much! Your reply has already helped me in coming to a decision. Both courses sound so interesting but English Literature is definitely my preferred choice, it always was but as I've took both English Language and English Literature separately at AS Level and love both, I was unsure of whether to go with the single Lit honours or the combined Lit and Lang but now I feel sure that my initial decision of doing just Literature is the right choice.

I like that you can choose to do the occasional language module throughout aswell! I've had a look at Newcastle's English Lit degree overview and it sounds very similar to what you studied. It gives the opportunity to do a module in sociolinguistics which sounds good, so hopefully I'll find a way to fit in a bit of Language at some point haha!

Thanks a lot for such a detailed response I really appreciate it


You're welcome, I'm glad I could help. All the best with whatever you finally decide to do.
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