The Structure of Language - LL302

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
View Timetable
4 15 (7.5) DR S D'Elia







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.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
• Written Assignment 1 – 30%
• Written Assignment 2 – 30%
• 10 x Online Quizzes – 20% (2% each)
• In-Course Test (45 minutes) – 20%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Biber, D., S. Conrad & G. Leech (2002). Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English. London: Longman.
Burton-Roberts, N. (2016). Analysing Sentences: An Introduction to English Syntax. London: Longman.
Crystal, D. (2004). Making Sense out of Grammar. London: Longman.
Crystal, D. (2017). Making Sense: The Glamorous Story of English Grammar. London: Profile Books.
Huddleston, R. & G. K. Pullum (2005). A Student's Introduction to English Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Quirk, R. (1985). A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman.
Tallerman, M. (2015). Understanding Syntax. Fourth Edition. Oxon: Routledge

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate understanding of the major characteristics of English grammar;
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);
Demonstrate understanding of the properties and subclasses of words, structures and longer stretches of language used to convey meaning;
Demonstrate an awareness of the nature of theory, and what constitutes an explanation;
Analyse and compare styles of writing and speech according to grammatical knowledge;
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;
Apply grammatical understanding in order to improve the quality of their written texts;
Demonstrate a sensitivity to the social, cultural and political issues, which surround the use of language.

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