BA Linguistics and Social Anthropology / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course description

Our BA Linguistics and Social Anthropology course will introduce you to the study of the unique human faculty of language and the investigation of the world's languages, while also delving into the comparative study of social and cultural life, and what it is to be human.

In Linguistics, you will explore the sounds and structure of languages across the globe, studying topics such as:

  • how languages arise, change and die;
  • how children acquire their first language;
  • how adults learn a second or foreign language;
  • differences between the speech of men and women;
  • how we communicate as individuals and within groups;
  • what happens when speakers of different languages come into contact.

You'll also be able to use quantitative methods in the study of large language corpora. This is a skill which you'll then be able to apply to other fields throughout your life.

In Social Anthropology, you will study a range of topics relating to society, culture, religion, identity and diversity, and will be introduced to methods and topics in anthropological research.

Manchester anthropologists look at the social implications of reproductive and information technologies while analysing the social meanings of consumer behaviour and studying violence, poverty, and the means for resolving conflicts and alleviating human suffering.

Special features

Placement year option  

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a  placement year  in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks. 

Study abroad  

You may apply to  study abroad  during Year 2. 

We have partnerships with many institutions throughout Europe and across the globe. 

Learn from experts  

You will learn from staff who conduct anthropological research around the world. 

We focus on economic and political issues and have also become specialists in visual and sensory media, the impact of new reproductive and genetic technologies, AIDS, sexuality and masculinities, race, cities, migration and infrastructures, urban and border politics, and crafts, play and worship. 

Our strengths in Linguistics include, among others, phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, historical linguistics, forensic linguistics, and quantitative corpus-based approaches. 

Multilingual Manchester  

With its diverse local communities, Manchester is an ideal site for carrying out research on linguistic variation and multilingualism. 

We conduct empirical and theoretical research and particularly a combination of the two.

Teaching and learning

You'll be taught through a mixture of:

  • formal lectures
  • tutorials
  • one-to-one supervision.

You'll spend approximately 12 hours each week in formal study sessions and further time in independent study.

In your independent study time, you may be reading, producing written work, revising for examinations or working as part of a team of students.

Coursework and assessment

Our courses are assessed in various ways, for example, written examinations, oral presentations and different types of coursework.

Coursework may include library research, linguistic fieldwork and data collection, or web-based research.

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

Course content for year 1

In Linguistics, you will learn to look at language in a new way. 

You will study topics ranging from grammar to semantics, from phonetics to sociolinguistics. 

All students study obligatory units including phonetics and phonology, sociolinguistics, semantics and (English) grammar, adding up to 50% of the year's credits. 

In Social Anthropology, you will be introduced to the subject through units comprising the other 50% of your Year 1 credits. 

You will receive a strong foundation in key concepts, approaches and questions.

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
English Word and Sentence Structure LELA10301 20 Mandatory
Key Ideas in Social Anthropology SOAN10321 10 Mandatory
Intro to Ethnographic Reading SOAN10322 10 Mandatory
Language, Mind and Brain LELA10201 20 Optional
The Sounds of Language LELA10322 20 Optional
Study of Meaning LELA10332 20 Optional
History and Varieties of English LELA10342 20 Optional
From Text to Linguistic Evidence LELA10401 20 Optional
Power and Culture: Inequality in Everyday Life SOAN10301 10 Optional
Cultural Diversity in Global Perspective SOAN10312 10 Optional
Regional Studies of Culture: 1 SOAN10331 20 Optional
Introduction to Business Anthropology: Consumers, Companies and Culture SOAN10361 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 12 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

In Linguistics, the emphasis will switch to linguistic theories for Year 2. 

You will build on your new analytical skills by considering ideas about the nature of language and models of its structure. 

You will cover topics such as syntactic theory, phonology, and either typology or grammatical semantics. 

In Social Anthropology, you will look more in depth at the anthropological contribution to thematic areas of the study of human life, as well as developing your research skills. 

Your course units will cover subjects including kinship and social life, anthropology of religion, political and economic anthropology and issues in contemporary social anthropology. 

At least one-third of your Year 2 credits must come from each of the two components of the course.

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
Language, Mind and Brain LELA10201 20 Optional
The Sounds of Language LELA10322 20 Optional
Study of Meaning LELA10332 20 Optional
History and Varieties of English LELA10342 20 Optional
From Text to Linguistic Evidence LELA10401 20 Optional
Phonology LELA20012 20 Optional
Analysing Grammar LELA20021 20 Optional
Typology LELA20032 20 Optional
Societal Multilingualism LELA20101 20 Optional
Quantitative Methods in Language Sciences LELA20231 20 Optional
Semantics LELA20281 20 Optional
Pragmatics: Meaning, Context, and Interaction LELA20291 20 Optional
The Changing English Language LELA20402 20 Optional
Variationist Sociolinguistics LELA20502 20 Optional
Psycholinguistics LELA20962 20 Optional
Stylistics of English LELA21511 20 Optional
Power and Culture: Inequality in Everyday Life SOAN10301 10 Optional
Cultural Diversity in Global Perspective SOAN10312 10 Optional
Regional Studies of Culture: 1 SOAN10331 20 Optional
Regional Studies of Culture: 2 SOAN10352 20 Optional
Introduction to Business Anthropology: Consumers, Companies and Culture SOAN10361 20 Optional
Anthropology of Kinship, Gender and Sex SOAN20802 20 Optional
Anthropology of Religion SOAN20811 20 Optional
Political and Economic Anthropology SOAN20821 20 Optional
Anthropological Theory SOAN20830 20 Optional
The Ethnographer's Craft SOAN20842 20 Optional
Materiality and Representation SOAN20852 20 Optional
Spanish Linguistics SPLA20772 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 28 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

In both subjects, your study is tailored to your own interests by drawing on course units from a wide range of specialities which build on the research expertise of our staff and includes the opportunity to conduct independent dissertation research on a topic of your choice. 

At least one-third of your Year 3 credits must come from each of the two components of the course.

Course units for year 3

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
Phonology LELA20012 20 Optional
Analysing Grammar LELA20021 20 Optional
Typology LELA20032 20 Optional
Societal Multilingualism LELA20101 20 Optional
Quantitative Methods in Language Sciences LELA20231 20 Optional
Semantics LELA20281 20 Optional
Pragmatics: Meaning, Context, and Interaction LELA20291 20 Optional
The Changing English Language LELA20402 20 Optional
Variationist Sociolinguistics LELA20502 20 Optional
Psycholinguistics LELA20962 20 Optional
Stylistics of English LELA21511 20 Optional
Dissertation LELA30000 40 Optional
Topics in the Study of Meaning in English LELA30031 20 Optional
Language Contact LELA30291 20 Optional
The Study of the Speech Community: Manchester English LELA30522 20 Optional
Topics in Language Development LELA30671 20 Optional
Historical Syntax LELA30962 20 Optional
Forensic Linguistics in English LELA31632 20 Optional
Romance Linguistics LELA32001 20 Optional
Quantitative Methods in Language Sciences LELA32011 20 Optional
Experimental Phonetics LELA32022 20 Optional
Computational Linguistics LELA32051 20 Optional
Anthropology of Kinship, Gender and Sex SOAN20802 20 Optional
Anthropology of Religion SOAN20811 20 Optional
Political and Economic Anthropology SOAN20821 20 Optional
Anthropological Theory SOAN20830 20 Optional
The Ethnographer's Craft SOAN20842 20 Optional
Materiality and Representation SOAN20852 20 Optional
Anthropology of Development and Humanitarianism SOAN30111 20 Optional
The Anthropology of Health and Wellbeing SOAN30251 20 Optional
Anthropology of Childhood, Youth and Education SOAN30372 20 Optional
The Good Life: An Anthropology of Ethics SOAN30392 20 Optional
Dissertation B - 20 credit dissertation SOAN30600 20 Optional
Dissertation A SOAN30610 40 Optional
Screening Culture SOAN30791 20 Optional
Anthropology of Vision, Senses and Memory SOAN30811 20 Optional
Spanish Linguistics SPLA20772 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 37 course units for year 3

What our students say

My course has been invaluable in giving me the opportunity to figure out what I enjoy and what I want to do in the future.  

I came to university not knowing where that would take me, and I believe I will graduate with a plan and a renewed motivation for success.

Radina Dobreva, Linguistics BA

Facilities

Phonetics Lab
Undergraduate students can use the Phonetics Lab under supervision.

You will access resources to enhance your learning, including an extensive collection of linguistics texts and our psycholinguistics and phonetics laboratories, with facilities for:

  • signal analysis
  • speech synthesis
  • laryngography
  • electropalatography.

You will also enjoy access to the one of the largest ethnographic film libraries in Europe for your anthropological studies.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk