Friday, 19 September 2014

What's new this (academic) year

Welcome (back) Sussex Linguists!

The campus is warm and gorgeous, the first-years seem to have been absolutely exhausted by Freshers' Week, and the English Language and Linguistics staff are putting the finishing touches on their first-week lectures.

So far, so familiar.  But there are a few new things in our midst that are worth mentioning.


A new face
The first new thing in our midst is actually a person.  Dr John Lonergan has joined us from University College, Dublin, and will be covering for Justyna Robinson during her leave.  John is a sociolinguist specialising in phonetic variation and perceptions of variation, with much of his work concerning Dublin English. He'll be teaching the history and variation modules in year 2, Language and Gender in year 3, and Researching Language in Use at the MA level. In addition, he'll be contributing to two of our new modules and supervising undergraduate dissertations.




So, by the way, we have some new modules on offer.

First year
Structure of English is a spring-term first-year module for joint honours students only. It covers the kind of material that single-honours students cover in Approaches to Grammar and Approaches to Pronunciation, while also making room in joint students' timetables to take the full 30-credit version of Approaches to Meaning and benefit from its academic skills training.  It will be taught this year by John Lonergan and Lynne Cahill.

Second year
We have a new core module for single-honours called Great Ideas about Language. It runs in Autumn and gives an overview of major approaches to language from the 17th century onward, looking at the historical contexts of these ideas and the varying philosophies of linguistics. This module is convened by Lynne Murphy and taught by all staff members.

Third year
Two new options are running, which are available to single- or joint-honours students:

Forensic Linguistics has been designed by Charlotte Taylor to offer a look at language and the law, showing how linguistic study can be put to concrete use in investigative and judicial situations.  Charlotte teaches it in Autumn term.

Contemporary Stylistics is Roberta Piazza's new module. It looks at linguistic approaches to the narrative language of fiction. This seminar-based module runs in Spring term.

Electives
We're also for the first time (in the current curriculum) offering elective modules that can be taken by single-honours students in any subject (including English Language and Linguistics)--and we're happy to say that they have recruited well:
  • Language and Technology: Papyrus to Pixels: taught by Lynne Cahill (Autumn)
  • Language, Mind and Brain (an elective version of our popular 3rd year option): again, Lynne Cahill (Spring)
We'll have different English language elective options running next year, with these and the others in rotation. They can be taken by first- or second-year students.


And finally...
New degree title
We love our BA in English Language so much that we're giving it a longer name. Starting with the 2015-16 student entry, the degree will be called BA in English Language and Linguistics.  We feel this name more clearly communicates the ways in which we at Sussex approach our study of the language.


Any questions? We're happy to answer them in the comments here. Or see your academic adviser in office hours to chat about your studies and our programmes.  Happy new academic year!

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