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 examples from local languages and texts.
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 Education, 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.
The Drostdy Barracks, home to the Department of English Language and Linguistics
Discourse analysis studies language in use in real-life contexts, such as casual conversations and the media. In discourse analysis, we 'read between the lines' to discover the ways in which language use interacts with social power and ideologies.
In our department, the following people teach and do research in discourse analysis:
Sociolinguistics studies the ways in which language interacts with society. It looks at the ways in which people in different places or different social classes speak differently to each other, and why. It also examines how we adjust the way we speak or write according to the different situations we find ourselves in, such as on the beach or in a business meeting.
In our department, the following people teach and do research in sociolinguistics:
Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is an innovative approach that sees language as a set of systems for making meaning, and as a collection of tools which we use to communicate. It is a useful way to analyse the language in texts to look at, for example, the ways that we express emotions and attitudes, or the ways we structure texts to get our point across.
In our department, the following people teach and do research in Systemic Functional Linguistics: