Modern English Language


Course Convenor:  Prof. Bas Aarts

This course covers the major fields in the study of present-day English, including syntax (a branch of grammar which studies the way words are combined to form sentences), morphology (the study of the meaning and structure of words), semantics (the study of meaning in language) and pragmatics (the study of language in use).


  • To teach students about the workings of language and communication, focussing on English.
  • To teach students the fundamentals of English sentence structure, morphology, semantics and pragmatics.


At the end of the course students will have acquired a solid knowledge of the major concepts that play a role in the study of grammar, meaning and usage, and will be able to analyse language from these perspectives using argumentation skills.

The course is useful for students contemplating a career in journalism, publishing, or the teaching of English as a native or foreign language. It is taught over two terms in the form of weekly two-hour seminars based on a textbook and on handout material. In addition, students write two tutorial essays (one per term). The course is examined by a three-hour written paper (NB: it is not possible to be examined by Course Essay for this course).