BA Hons Linguistics with Chinese

Linguistics is the study of the phenomenon of language. The ability to use language is something which separates human beings from other animals, and so helps to define what it means to be human. Linguists ask such questions as:

  • Do the different languages of the world share any universal features?
  • How does language relate to thought?
  • How does a child acquire a first language?
  • How do we understand spoken and written language?
  • How can we use computers to aid the study of language?

To see how our staff answer some of these and other questions, see the A-level English Language pages on our web site.

Linguistics relies upon the empirical study of various aspects of language, such as the sound, grammar and meaning systems of different languages. The methods of study vary from computerised study of texts corpora, through acoustic analysis of sound patterns, to analysis of texts, interviews and audio-visual recordings of natural dialogues. Many of the issues addressed by linguistics are of central relevance to our society - for example the relationship between dialect and social prestige, the problems of education in a multi-cultural and multi-lingual environment, or the development of technology which will allow computers to produce and recognise speech.

In your first year you will take Part I Chinese, an intensive language course, taught ab initio, with an element of the course relating to the society, culture and history but with the greater part of the course devoted to the teaching of practical language skills. In your second and third years you will take Part II Chinese, this will build on the intensive language introduction offered at Part I and increase the level of your language skills through further language tuition and understanding of the structure of Chinese. You will engage more thoroughly with the social and cultural context of (especially twentieth century) China.

What will I study?

In Part I you will take the following:

In Part II you take eight units in total, four in each year. All eight units must be taken within the Department.

The following courses are compulsory:

  • LING220 Structures of the World's Languages (second year)
  • LING221 Sounds of the World's Languages (second year)
  • CHIN200 Chinese Language 2 (15 credits)
  • CHIN201 Chinese Language 3 (15 credits)
  • LING301 Dissertation (final year)
  • LING324 Cognitive Linguistics (final year)
  • LING325 Topics in Phonetic and Phonological Theory (final year)
  • CHIN300 Chinese Language 4 (15 credits)
  • CHIN310 Chinese Culture and Society (15 credits)

The remaining units can be selected from the Department’s Part II courses.

What qualifications will I need?

We normally expect successful applicants to have AAB inc. English Language, English Language and Literature Combined or a modern/classical language. We normally expect three A-levels. One (but only one) of these grades may be achieved from the average of two AS-level grades, one of which should have been taken in year 13, with each contributory grade in a different subject.

For the degree scheme with Chinese, an additional requirement will be normally made for a grade A or A* in the study of a modern or classical language at GCSE, or a B at AS or A2 level, to ensure students are prepared for the ab initio study of a new foreign language.

How is my work assessed?

As in all courses, there are examinations at the end of the first year before proceeding to the second and final years. In the second and final years, you will normally take an examination for each course at the end of the year in which you study it. Coursework typically involves an essay (2000-2500 words) each term for each course, but it often comes in other forms. The weighting of coursework varies with departments: in the Department of Linguistics and English Language the final mark is usually based on 40% coursework and 60% examination.

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