The Structure of Language - LING3020

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 4 15 (7.5) Laura Bailey checkmark-circle


This module will focus specifically on the level of language we call grammar. Each week students will focus on a particular aspect of English grammar (e.g. word classes, grammatical functions, sentence structure) from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Students will be provided with analytical tools for understanding and constructing arguments about linguistic structure (e.g. morpho-syntactic tests, constituency tests). Through being provided with a conceptual framework for description and analysis, students will gain a deeper understanding of English grammar, whereas practical application will enable students to be more critical of their own written work, and thus also to develop and hone their writing skills.

The module is particularly useful for students who are studying language or literature, as it enables them to compare styles in light of grammatical information and provides them with analytical skills for understanding language and language-related behaviour. Likewise, the module is also useful for students wanting to improve their writing in an academic context as well as those contemplating a career in publishing, journalism or teaching, in which the ability to express oneself accurately and succinctly is essential.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

• Written Assignment – 50%
• 10 x Online Quizzes – 20% (2% each)
• Online Test - 30%

Reassessment methods
• Reassessment Essay (2,000 words) – 100%

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate understanding of the major characteristics of English grammar;
2 Select and apply appropriate terminology to describe and analyse the structure and systems of English words, phrases, and clauses (e.g. grammatical class, phrase,
clause, aspect, adjunct, complement, transitivity);
3 Demonstrate understanding of the properties and subclasses of words, structures and longer stretches of language used to convey meaning;
4 Demonstrate an awareness of the nature of theory, and what constitutes an explanation;
5 Analyse and compare styles of writing and speech according to grammatical knowledge;
6 Account for the implications of specific grammatical choices writers/speakers make in terms of their phrase structure and the subsequent effect on the reader/listener;
7 Apply grammatical understanding in order to improve the quality of their written texts;
8 Demonstrate a sensitivity to the social, cultural and political issues, which surround the use of language.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Communicate the results of study and work accurately, with well-structured and coherent arguments in an effective and fluent manner both in speech and in writing;
2 Demonstrate skills in critical reflection and analytical discussion of their own writing and the writing of others;
3 Demonstrate an ability to undertake independent learning, by taking initiative, being organised and meeting deadlines.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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