Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

Subject area: English Language

Why choose English Language at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We're ranked in the world's top 10 universities for English language and literature in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022. 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 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.

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

English Language involves the study of change in English. At Edinburgh, we have a strong tradition of investigating different varieties of the language, including:

  • Scots
  • distinct dialects of English
  • international variations

The English language has a well-recorded history of more than 1,000 years. You can trace its changes 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. You will also explore how the language has changed in the course of its history.

In addition, you can study modern-day varieties of English and Scots. You will be able to identify the similarities and differences between the features of English and other languages.