Modern Languages and Linguistics

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In this course students study one modern language together with linguistics, the study of language itself. One half of your course will be half of the Modern Languages course as described on the Modern Languages course page, giving you practical linguistic training and an extensive introduction to the literature and thought of the European language you have chosen. The other half of the course will introduce you to the analysis of the nature and structure of human language. Topics include: how words are formed; how sentences are constructed; how we make and hear sounds, and how these sounds behave in particular languages; how age, sex and social status affect language use; how children learn to speak; how languages change, and how they vary according to where they are spoken; how words and sentences mean what they mean; how language is used in literature, the media and by various social groups; and how language is organised in the brain. You will also apply these ideas to the study of the structure and history of your modern language.

Oxford offers facilities for the linguistic and philological study of European languages unmatched anywhere else in Britain. The University has particular expertise in general linguistics, phonetics, syntax and semantics, and in the history and structure of many individual European languages and families of related languages. This degree course combines the theoretical study of what human language is and how it works with more detailed study of specific issues of language structure and change applied to the language you are studying. You will find a wide range of options available, allowing you to concentrate on those areas you find most exciting.

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