Why study ELL?
In my opinion, ELL (English Language and Linguistics) is a hidden gem in the world of the Social Sciences. From my experience, English Language as a subject was never focused on as much as English Literature at school, and so when I was choosing A level subjects, it barely crossed my mind! After doing some research, I realised that the study of English Language is about some of the small areas we touched on at school (such as grammar) but enlarged, in which questions are asked about language use (mainly, WHY?).
I absolutely loved my English Language A level course, in which I explored all sorts of areas that I had barely considered before. I soon knew I wanted to continue studying the fascinating subject at University. So, if you’re interested in why English Language and Linguistics interests me, and want to know a bit more about the subject, I hope this post will help!
Obviously, the subject area of ELL is huge, but I will go over some of my favourite areas (both modules and individual topics) that I have studied at both A level and University so far.
Phonology- Ever wonder how we produce certain sounds when speaking and more importantly, why? Phonology is all about answering questions such as this. Funnily enough, I didn’t think it would interest me too much, but after studying it in my first term it quickly became one of my favourites! I am interested into looking at Child Speech Therapy as a potential career, and this topic has given me some essential knowledge that I know will be applicable.
The History of English- This area of the English Language really interests me, for you discover where certain words come from, as well as how the English Language developed over time and spread globally. It’s also an entertaining topic to read about in your spare time, for example, Flavell’s Dictionary of idioms and their origins tells you all about where certain phrases such as ‘fit as a fiddle’ and ‘spick and span’ come from!
Language and Gender- By far one of my most favoured subjects to explore, when learning about this area of the English Language you find out about whether there is a true difference in the way males and females speak (I even conducted research based on this as one of my assignments!). You also think about how language is used in the representation of gender – ever thought about the connotations of a ‘Stag Do’ and a ‘Hen do’? Pretty different animals, right?
Language and Power- Thinking about language and power is thinking about how people use language to gain power. As simple as it sounds, after studying political speeches and unpicking each segment (which is something I did at A level), you come to realise that every sentence is cleverly constructed to convey certain messages to the audience.
These are just a few of the MANY areas I have focused on during the past few years, and thoroughly enjoyed! If you want to check out some of the modules our CAL department offers, then be sure to follow this link:
The method of learning ELL at Warwick is really engaging. If you think you’ll be sitting in a lecture theatre scribbling down notes while a lecturer talks for 2 hours straight, then think again! The teaching is extremely interactive, in which questions are often asked to the students to express their opinions and ideas. Furthermore, there is an emphasis on group work, in which we often carry out activities to refresh our knowledge, particularly in the seminars. There are plenty of opportunities to carry out independent work, such as research projects. The course also has a balance between assignments and exams, which works really well for me, as I’m not overly keen on exams.
If I could describe ELL using one sentence, I would say that the course enables you to explore topics you never even knew you were curious about, and suddenly want to know everything about.