Undergraduate Courses

English Language and Linguistics Minor

Language is said by many people to be unique to our species. Certainly we are all involved in relationships, projects and institutions that could not exist without complex linguistic interaction. Over a lifetime, we each need to produce and respond to huge quantities of language, with enormous consequences for our lives and livelihoods. Most of the time we are not aware of all the linguistic choices we’re making when we talk or write. Studying English Language and Linguistics will give you the tools for analysing language (your own and other people’s).

English Language and Linguistics (ELL) is a social science that uncovers systematic patterns in language and language use. Our main focus is on the English language, but students are given examples in unfamiliar languages, and they explore how and why regional, social and functional varieties of language vary. This provides a very useful platform for going further with theoretical linguistics itself, but is also valuable for many other fields of study, such as learning other languages (e.g. Mandarin or Spanish), literary criticism, creative writing, psychology, sociology, media studies, law, philosophy, and language teaching. Many of the questions about culture, cognition, and social structure that are the focus of these fields can only be addressed by understanding how language works.

Questions we ask in ELL include:

  • What do we unconsciously know about our own language?
  • What happens in language use that we could not know about just from intuition?
  • What does our use of language tell other people about us, and how does that affect our professional and social opportunities?
  • Is it possible to avoid bias when we speak or write?
  • What kinds of language difficulties are different learners likely to have and why?
  • What is the relation between cultural change and language change?
  • Why are some texts, and some styles of writing and speaking, valued more highly than others?

ELL subjects will enhance your ability to produce and analyse written and spoken English, and will also equip you to reason about language and make linguistic arguments about social issues. The program teaches fundamental skills that linguists use to analyse language, such as phonetic transcription, grammatical description and discourse analysis. It also teaches critical skills, like how to unravel a technical text, and will introduce you to tools such as online databases of spoken and written English (corpora).

Studying ELL can lead to a professional qualification in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) with further study.

Staff in ELL are internationally recognised researchers in functional linguistics, corpus linguistics, medical discourse analysis, and second language writing. If you take a major or a minor in ELL you will have the opportunity to conduct small research projects in these or related areas.

Subjects Required for Minor Study

English-speaking background (ESB students)

A minor in English Language and Linguistics consists of 28 credit points for students from an English-speaking background (ESB students). ESB students are required to do two core subjects (ELL 110 and ELL 182) and any other two subjects from the list below.

Subject Code subject Name Credit Points Session(s)
Core
ELL 110 Language in Social Life 6 Spring
ELL 182 Effective Written Communication (ESB) 6 Autumn
Plus TWO subjects from the following:
ELL 210 Communication Across Cultures 8 Autumn
ELL 220 Corpus approaches to learning, teaching and analysing language 8 Not offered in 2015
ELL 271 Grammar & Discourse 1 8 Not offered in 2015
ELL 281 Sound and meaning in language: variety, society and identity 8 Not offered in 2015
ELL 310 World Englishes* 8 Autumn
ELL 315 Using Language as Evidence* 8 Spring
ELL 371 Grammar and Meaning 1* 8 Spring

For students from other language speaking backgrounds (NESB students)

A minor in English Language and Linguistics consists of 34 credit points for students from other language backgrounds (NESB students). NESB students are required to take three core subjects (ELL 110, ELL 152 and ELL151) and any two other subjects from the list below.

Subject Code subject Name Credit Points Session(s)
Core
ELL 110 Language in Social Life 6 Spring
ELL 152 Effective Written Communication (NESB) 6 Autumn
ELL 151 Effective Spoken Communication (NESB) 6 Spring
Plus TWO subjects from the following:
ELL 210 Communication Across Cultures 8 Autumn
ELL 220 Corpus approaches to learning, teaching and analysing language 8 Not offered in 2015
ELL 271 Grammar & Discourse 1 8 Not offered in 2015
ELL 281 Sound and meaning in language: variety, society and identity 8 Not offered in 2015
ELL 310 World Englishes* 8 Autumn
ELL 315 Using Language as Evidence* 8 Spring
ELL 371 Grammar and Meaning 1* 8 Spring

* Note: students wanting to enrol in in a 300 level subject need to be aware that pre-requisites may apply. Please consult the Convenor for information.

Focus on Discourse Analysis

The ELL Minor gives students skills and practice in Discourse Analysis of various kinds. Discourse Analysis is the systematic analysis of how language and other systems of meaning (e.g. visual and gestural systems) both shape and reflect our social realities, especially our values and social belief systems (ideologies), and our identities. Analysing educational, media, professional, legal and medical discourses (among others) gives students experience that will be valuable for many areas of work. ELL 152/182, ELL 271, ELL 315, and ELL310 are particularly relevant subjects.

Students wishing to focus on Discourse Analysis should select electives in their Majors and other additional subjects which provide opportunities to analyse how texts work within a specific social context, e.g., Media and Communication, Sociology, English literatures, Law, Journalism, Creative Writing, Marketing, Nursing, Psychology. This will allow students interested in Discourse Analysis to use it in their other classes. ELL and the chosen electives will provide complementary ways of thinking about discourses as systems of meaning, including visual and gestural systems.

Focus on TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

Students wishing to pursue a career in TESOL will gain relevant skills and experience from the ELL Minor, especially the subjects ELL 151, ELL 152/182, ELL 110, ELL 210, ELL 271, ELL 310 and ELL 371. They are also advised to seek subjects of interest from the School of Education (Faculty of Social Sciences), and discuss postgraduate qualifications in TESOL with Education staff at an early stage of their undergraduate work.

Primary and Secondary School Teaching (especially English/History)

Many ELL students go on to become primary or high school teachers. The UOW ELL program includes a focused study of the Systemic-Functional approach to understanding and teaching English grammar. This is the model on which the new National Curriculum in English is based, so ELL subjects are ideal for students intending to teach English at primary or secondary level. Particularly relevant subjects are ELL 151, ELL 152/182, ELL 110, ELL 210, 271, and ELL 310.

Students interested in teaching often study English Literature and/or History along with ELL. Students interested in this area should contact the School of Education to discuss combining ELL with Education at undergraduate level, and/or taking postgraduate studies in Education after completing their undergraduate degree.

Focus on Modern Languages (also called LOTES - Languages Other than English)

ELL studies may also be combined with a Major in another language. All ELL subjects are relevant here but particularly ELL 151, ELL 110, ELL 271, ELL 210, and ELL 310. UOW offers Majors in French, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish. For Indonesian, a Minor is available. Please discuss these options with the Convener of each language you wish to study.

The benefits of studying ELL as well as your chosen second language(s) include:

  • you will get more tools to help you master (and teach) pronunciation, grammar, discourse patterns, and pragmatics in your second language;
  • you will learn about linguistic structures and discourse patterns in English and other languages, which will help you ‘see’ the rules and patterns in your chosen second language, and be able to explain linguistic structures and differences to others;
  • you will specifically explore the field of intercultural communication, and learn how ethnocentrism and miscommunication can be reduced;
  • you will have more tools for choosing between different translation/interpreting options and evaluating their effectiveness.

 

Major Study – Not available for 2015

Commencing 2014, English Language and Linguistics has only been available as a Minor, not a Major. Students who commenced study prior to 2014 and who have completed a significant portion of the ELL Major will be able to complete their program of studies. Speak to the Convenor if you have any concerns.

Credit Arrangements

Refer to UOW's credit arrangements for information on how to apply for credit.

Other Information

Further information is available at:
Email: lha-enquiries@uow.edu.au

Last reviewed: 5 December, 2014