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Rhodes > English Language and Linguistics > About

About us

What is Linguistics?

Language is involved in and helps to shape most of our major concerns as people. Thus Linguistics is a multifaceted discipline, which is involved with language in all its manifestations and examines all these links between language and human life. In the Rhodes University English Language and Linguistics courses we aim to provide an explicitly South African focus and to use local languages and texts for exemplification.


Why study Linguistics?

Linguistics will give you insights into how language is structured, how people communicate and use language, how people learn languages and how language changes and develops in society. Training in Linguistics will also be very relevant to your career if you plan to specialise in Journalism, Teaching, Law or Psychology. You don’t need to know many languages to study Linguistics, but you do need a fascination for language and a basic competence in English.

The programme in English Language and Linguistics is designed to meet the needs of anyone involved in language and communication. Its brief can broadly be defined as the exploration of language in its changing context in the light of contemporary linguistic theory.


English Language and Linguistics at Rhodes University

In 1964 Rhodes University established the Language section of its Department of English. By 1976 it had become an independent department: the Department of Linguistics and English Language (subsequently changed to the Department of English Language and Linguistics). The department offers a proven three-year major with a commitment at every level to study of the languages of Southern Africa.  The modules offered draw from a balance of both theoretical and applied linguistics, a fact which distinguishes our courses from general linguistics courses at other universities in South Africa. Housed in the historic Drostdy Barracks, the Department has links with the School of Languages and Literatures, the Department of Literary Studies in English, the Institute for the Study of the Englishes of Africa, the Dictionary Unit for South African English and the National English Literary Museum.


The Drostdy Barracks, home to the Department of English Language and Linguistics



Last Modified: Mon, 09 Sep 2019 15:14:00 SAST