BA Linguistics and Italian / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course description

Our BA Linguistics and Italian course will enable you to delve into the science of language - an everyday phenomenon which impacts our lives on an individual and a global scale.

You will study topics such as the ways in which children acquire their first language, differences between the speech of men and women, how the sound systems and grammars of different types of language are organised, what happens when speakers of different languages come into contact, and much else besides.

You can also achieve near-native proficiency in Italian while studying the language within its cultural and historical context. You can start as an absolute beginner and go through to an advanced level over four years.

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 Italian 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 Italy, a compulsory third year abroad gives our undergraduate students unforgettable and invaluable personal and professional experience.

Our course will help you to develop analytical and problem-solving skills. Often dealing with granular and complex data, your combination of humanities and scientific understanding will allow you to make connections across multiple fields of employment. 

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 in Italy, and further develop your language skills.

Learn from language experts

Language courses are mainly taught by native speakers, 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.

The John Rylands Library also has one of the largest collections of early Italian printed books in the UK and storyboards for the use in fieldwork.

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 and storyboards for the use in fieldwork.

Teaching and learning

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.

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

You will study 60 credits from each discipline in your first year.

This will include a blend of compulsory modern language and linguistics units.

Separate language pathways are offered for beginners and post A-level students.

Linguistics

Gain a solid grounding in linguistics, taking core course units in (English) grammar and either the sounds of language or the study of meaning. You may also choose additional, optional units such as an introduction to the relation between language, the mind and the brain.

Italian

In Year 1 Italian language instruction is divided between beginners ('ab initio') and post-A-level groups (with most students being beginners).

'Ab initio' students have 4 contact hours per week with their nominated Italian teacher as part of a course specifically designed to build confidence in comprehension, writing, speaking and listening skills.

Post-A-level students have three hours consolidating and building competency on specific language points.  All first year students also have an additional linguistics hour, introducing them to the history and structures of the Italian language.

The Italian Culture units cover topics from the filmic and literary to the historic and linguistic.

Year 1 is specifically designed to begin furnishing candidates with the tools to enable them to read cultural products with confidence, be they texts, pictures, buildings or linguistic constructions.

You will take only the language units relevant to your level of language in each year of study.

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
Italian Cultural Studies ITAL10300 20 Mandatory
Reading Italy: Medieval to Modern ITAL10500 20 Mandatory
Italian Language 1 ITAL51011 20 Mandatory
Italian Language 2 ITAL51022 20 Mandatory
Italian Language 3 ITAL51030 20 Mandatory
English Word and Sentence Structure LELA10301 20 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
Displaying 10 of 11 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

You will study a total of 120 credits.

You will continue your language learning, increase your reading of authentic texts and choose from a wide range of related subjects according to preference.

Your degree becomes more flexible as you progress into Year 2.

You will choose optional units within the linguistics and modern language parts of your course, while continuing to develop your language skills.

Linguistics

You'll begin to tailor your degree to suit your interests.  While studying two compulsory units in subjects like phonology, syntax, or semantics, and typology or multilingualism, you'll choose from a wide range of optional units tapping into academic expertise in several specialist fields such as experimental phonetics and psycholinguistics.

Italian

In Year 2, the core language component builds on the grammar topics covered in Year 1, in order to prepare you for the year abroad. Both the post-beginners and post-A-level language modules have three contact hours per week in addition to working on set assignments and undertaking private study.

Your course units in second year are more specialized than in first year, allowing you to explore a diverse range of subjects and approaches. Current options include the Italian Renaissance and Italian Fascism.

All our Italian culture units have three contact hours per week and are augmented by materials and content placed in the unit's Blackboard virtual learning environment. Our modules are assessed by a variety of different coursework assessment types, including essays and commentaries, book reviews, reports, presentations, and innovative digital projects such as group curated exhibitions.

Course content for year 3

Your third year is spent studying or working abroad under approved conditions.

Course content for year 4

You will study a total of 120 credits and may adjust the focus of your course through your unit choices for Year 4.

Linguistics

Have complete freedom of choice among a wealth of different course options, spanning subjects as diverse as forensic linguistics, sociolinguistics, formal semantics and syntax, computational linguistics and child language acquisition.

Italian

In Year 4, you build on the linguistic authenticity acquired abroad in the core language unit, and can choose from a range of specialized content course units. The final year language course develops your core skills to an advanced level, including translation into English, writing different kinds of target-language texts, and oral work including discussion of texts, debates, and presentations. The language component of the course comprises three contact hours per week, in addition to working on set assignments and undertaking private study.

Course units available in final year are closely related to the research interests of individual members of staff, in areas such as romance linguistics, Renaissance Florence, Italy and the Grand Tour, book history, and the political and cultural history of Italy.

You will also be able to undertake a research-orientated dissertation (often using the primary sources held in the Rylands Library, which has outstanding Italian holdings) and participate in the Italian department's mentoring and outreach programmes.

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
Italian Language 6 ITAL51060 20 Mandatory
Dissertation in Italian Studies ITAL30000 40 Optional
Introduction to the History of the Book ITAL30431 20 Optional
Travellers' Tales: Italy in the British Imagination ITAL30582 20 Optional
Topics in Romance Linguistics ITAL32001 20 Optional
Phonology LELA20011 20 Optional
Analysing Grammar LELA20022 20 Optional
Typology LELA20031 20 Optional
Societal Multilingualism LELA20102 20 Optional
Quantitative Methods in Language Sciences LELA20231 20 Optional
Semantics LELA20282 20 Optional
Pragmatics: Meaning, Context, and Interaction LELA20291 20 Optional
Experimental Phonetics LELA20342 20 Optional
The Changing English Language LELA20401 20 Optional
Variationist Sociolinguistics LELA20502 20 Optional
Psycholinguistics LELA20962 20 Optional
Stylistics of English LELA21511 20 Optional
Dissertation LELA30000 40 Optional
Language Contact LELA30291 20 Optional
English Phonology Past and Present LELA30441 20 Optional
The Study of the Speech Community: Manchester English LELA30522 20 Optional
Topics in Language Development LELA30671 20 Optional
Language Policy and Planning LELA30751 20 Optional
Minimalist Syntax LELA30972 20 Optional
Forensic Linguistics 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
Spanish Linguistics SPLA20772 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 30 course units for year 4

What our students say

Whilst at Manchester I volunteered working with young people in a mentoring scheme.  

Now I work with children of all ages up to 18.  

The skills I gained in this post really helped me to develop my counselling skills with young people and I use these almost daily.

Shona Becker, Speech and Language Therapist, Linguistics and French BA Graduate  

Find out more about Shona's experience on her  profile .

Facilities

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

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 Linguistics studies, we have two laboratories where you'll have the chance to use ultrasound imaging, laryngography and eye tracking technology. 

You'll also be able to use quantitative methods in the study of large language corpora. 

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: dass@manchester.ac.uk