BA English Language and French / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course description

Our BA English Language and French course will enable you to investigate the sounds, words and grammar of the English language, and discover the origin of English, its development and variation across the UK and beyond, and how it is used in different situations.

You will acquire the skills required for analytical language study alongside the means to apply those skills to the study of historical and present-day English. In addition, you will practise key transferable skills, such as essay writing and how to give a presentation.

The course allows students to achieve near-native proficiency in French and to study the language within its cultural and historical context.

Language study offers much more than just language fluency. You'll explore diverse aspects of the culture, society, history, politics and literature of the countries in which French is spoken, helping you to develop intercultural awareness and communication skills - both highly valued by employers.

You'll benefit from excellent teaching, student support and cutting-edge study facilities, as well as from the vibrancy and cultural diversity of Manchester itself, Western Europe's most multilingual city.

With placement options available at partner universities and in professional environments in several French-speaking countries, a compulsory third year abroad gives our undergraduate students unforgettable and invaluable personal and professional experience.

Special features

University Language Centre
Take advantage of the library, language labs and multimedia facilities at the University Language Centre.

Study or work abroad

  • Your  year abroad  will offer the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of life a French-speaking country and further develop your language skills.
  • Study, work and/or teach during the Year Abroad, including outside of metropolitan France (for instance in Belgium, Switzerland, Martinique and Quebec).
  • Long-established partnership with the Alliance Française de Manchester with cultural events throughout the year (film screenings, talks, plays, concerts, exhibitions and intensive language classes).
  • Collaboration with the Institut de Touraine in the Loire Valley, hosting Easter and Summer French language classes, appropriate for ab initio students and finalists.
  • Learn from language experts

    Language courses are mainly taught by native speakers of each language, giving you a richer learning experience.

    Access outstanding resources

    You'll have the opportunity to access cutting-edge resources, including one of the largest holdings of linguistics texts in the UK, and to conduct research using English manuscripts held in our prestigious Special Collections.

    Get involved with interesting projects

    Our students are encouraged to take an active role in funded teaching-enhancement projects, whose outputs benefit them individually and collectively. For example, some of our students have developed an online atlas of dialect variation in the UK.

    Enjoy cultural activities

    Join The Francophone Society and benefit from French classes, discussion groups, cheese and wine nights, film screenings, themed socials and a yearly trip to Paris.

    Teaching and learning

    You will learn through a mixture of formal lectures, seminars and tutorials, spending approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions.

    For every hour spent at University, you will be expected to complete a further two to three hours of independent study. You will also need to study during the holiday periods.

    The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, revising for examinations or working in the University's Language Centre.

    Coursework and assessment

    You will be assessed in various ways, including:

    • written and oral examinations;
    • presentations;
    • coursework (which may include library research, linguistic fieldwork and data collection, or web-based research).

    Many course units are assessed through a mixture of techniques.

    In your final year, you can choose to write a dissertation.

    Course content for year 1

    • English Language
    • The first year provides you with an introduction to the full range of course options included in English linguistics and the basis for further and more specialised study. This diversity is essential in order to experience English language study at university level and make informed choices about your future course units. All students study obligatory course units on topics including the history of English, sounds of English, sociolinguistics and English grammar, adding up to one half of the year's credits.
    • For Joint Honours students, half your credits come from the other component of your programme.


    At least two thirds of native speaker staff, teaching you in French in `language' classes as well as most `culture' classes.

    • Between 3 and 6 hours of French grammar and conversation every week, in order to reach near-native precision and fluency, running in parallel with optional course units on French and Francophone history, politics, literature, popular culture and/or linguistics, from the Early Modern period to the present.

    Course units for year 1

    The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

    TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
    French Cultural Studies FREN10070 20 Mandatory
    Identity in Modern France FREN10150 20 Mandatory
    French Language 1 FREN51011 20 Mandatory
    French Language 2 FREN51022 20 Mandatory
    French Language 3 FREN51030 20 Mandatory
    English Word and Sentence Structure LELA10301 20 Mandatory
    History and Varieties of English LELA10342 20 Mandatory
    Language, Mind and Brain LELA10201 20 Optional
    The Sounds of Language LELA10322 20 Optional
    Study of Meaning LELA10332 20 Optional
    From Text to Linguistic Evidence LELA10401 20 Optional
    Stylistics of English LELA21511 20 Optional
    Displaying 10 of 12 course units for year 1

    Course content for year 2

    English Language

    • Second-year course units build on first-year work, developing each subject area to provide a greater breadth and depth of experience. In the second year your study is more flexible.
    • Four course units must be chosen from a list of English Language options such as Introductions to Old and to Middle English Language, World Englishes, The Logic of English, and Language Variation and Change (altogether one third of the year's credits).
    • Joint Honours students choose further course units from the same wide range of Linguistics and English language options. At least one third of second-year credits must come from each of the two components of your programme.


    • In the second year of your course, you build on the grounding already established. This year's core language course develops that of the previous year and prepares you for the linguistic challenges of your year abroad, including dedicated sessions on writing CVs and cover letters for job applications in French. 
    • The other courses available in your second year are options broadly falling under three categories: Literature, History and Popular Culture, and Linguistics and Translation. Topics covered include: French Art, modern French literature, French linguistics, colonisation, translating novels and bande-dessinée , cinema, the representation of conflict... All include a research component that encourages you to develop your skills of analysis and information-gathering, working independently or in a group.

    Course units for year 2

    The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

    TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
    French Language 4 FREN51040 20 Mandatory
    French Language 5 FREN51050 20 Mandatory
    Pragmatics: Meaning, Context, and Interaction LELA20291 20 Mandatory
    Variationist Sociolinguistics LELA20501 20 Mandatory
    Stylistics of English LELA21511 20 Mandatory
    French Cinema to 1980 FREN20142 20 Optional
    Race and Empire in the French-speaking World FREN20561 20 Optional
    Temptations of the Tragic: Love and Death in French Literature FREN20682 20 Optional
    Pragmatics: Meaning, Context, and Interaction LELA20291 20 Optional

    Course content for year 3

    • Your third year of study is spent abroad under approved conditions.  For more information on the period of residence abroad please consult the following: Residence Abroad

    Course content for year 4

    English Language

    • By the final year your study is tailored to your own interests by drawing on course units from a wide range of specialities. See example course units in the list below.
    • You will also have the option of writing a dissertation, where you explore and write about a particular topic in depth.


    • On your return to Manchester in your final year you will continue with your core language course and choose additional units from a wide range of even more specialised courses, building effectively on Year Two study.
    • Language study is centred on essay writing, translation and oral work involving discussion of texts, debates and presentations.
    • Also available in this year are course units that cover topics closely related to the research interests of individual members of staff. As part of your final-year work, you can write a dissertation on a theme of your choice related to one of your courses, which students find an especially rewarding experience.

    Course units for year 4

    The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

    TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
    French Language 6 FREN51060 20 Mandatory
    Introduction to Interpreting: Context, Skills and Modes ELAN30242 20 Optional
    Dissertation in French Studies FREN30000 40 Optional
    Protest Music in France FREN30002 20 Optional
    Dangerous Liaisons FREN30362 20 Optional
    Exoticism & Orientalism in C19th France: French Romantics and Local Colour FREN30871 20 Optional
    Phonology LELA20012 20 Optional
    Analysing Grammar LELA20022 20 Optional
    Typology LELA20032 20 Optional
    Societal Multi-lingualism LELA20102 20 Optional
    Quantitative Methods in Language Sciences LELA20231 20 Optional
    Semantics LELA20281 20 Optional
    Pragmatics: Meaning, Context, and Interaction LELA20291 20 Optional
    Psycholinguistics LELA20962 20 Optional
    Dissertation LELA30000 40 Optional
    Topics in the Study of Meaning in English LELA30032 20 Optional
    Language Contact LELA30291 20 Optional
    English Phonology Past and Present LELA30441 20 Optional
    Topics in Language Development LELA30671 20 Optional
    Historical Syntax LELA30961 20 Optional
    Minimalist Syntax LELA30971 20 Optional
    Displaying 10 of 21 course units for year 4


    As well as making use of the wider University library network, you will have access to the University Language Centre, a modern open learning facility where you can study independently and make use of a library and audio-visual resources. There are also language laboratories and multimedia facilities.

    For your English language studies, you will benefit from access to a wide range of technical facilities, online resources and unique collections at the John Rylands Library.

    Learn more on the Facilities pages for  Linguistics and English Language  and  Modern Languages and Cultures .

    Disability support

    Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: