Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Subject area: English Language

Why choose English Language at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We're ranked in the world's top 15 universities for English language and literature in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019. We conduct world-leading research in English language and linguistics.

  • English language offers an unusually large number of course options. As well as gaining a comprehensive grounding in linguistic concepts and ideas, you will look at the development of English from pre-history and the language of early Britain, to modern English and its status as the global language of the 21st century.

  • You will approach the study of English language through the lens of modern linguistics.

  • We offer some of the best opportunities in the world for the study of Scots as spoken in northern England and Scotland. We also have expertise in the forms of English spoken in America, the Southern Hemisphere, and Asia.

  • You will be taught by world-class language scientists with a broad range of specialisms including sociolinguists, historical phonology, dialectology, syntax, Old English, and varieties of English and Scots.

  • English language can be studied as part of a joint programme with a wide range of subjects, where an understanding of the history and development of the English language can deepen and enhance your understanding of subjects such as English literature or Scottish ethnography.

Study abroad

My programme is not only equipping me with skills that I can use for my future career, but also with the tools and attributes to look at the bigger picture.

Bryan Tan MA (Hons) English Language & Literature graduate
Bryan Tan MA (Hons) English Language & Literature graduate

Introducing English Language

As well as being interested in the study of change in English, we have a strong tradition of investigating different varieties of the language, including Scots, distinct dialects of English, and international variations.

The English language has a well-recorded history of more than 1,000 years and its changes can be traced through written materials ranging from medieval manuscripts to text messages, and more recently, through recordings of spoken English.

Using techniques from modern linguistics, you will analyse the structure of written and spoken English and will explore how the language has changed in the course of its history.

You can also study modern-day varieties of English and Scots and identify the similarities and differences between the features of English and other languages.