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English Language is the in-depth study of written and verbal communication in English. It explores the building blocks of the language, covering aspects such as phonetics, semantics and pragmatics. If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of the language, this just might be the subject for you!On Vaia, you will find English Language revision notes along with flashcards, to…
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English Language is the in-depth study of written and verbal communication in English. It explores the building blocks of the language, covering aspects such as phonetics, semantics and pragmatics. If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of the language, this just might be the subject for you!On Vaia, you will find English Language revision notes along with flashcards, to help you whatever your level of study.
Studying English Language can boost your employability while helping you to become a more effective communicator. By understanding the English language on a deeper level, you will find that you can articulate points more easily in speech, as well as in e-mails and letters; strong English Language skills will help you in both your career, and in your personal life.
English Language covers pretty much anything you can think of that involves the use of words, whether written or spoken. Whatever level you’re studying at, we aim to cover as many bases as possible here at Vaia. Here is an overview of the English Language topics that we cover:
This area of study concerns the auditory side of speech in the English language; in other words, what does it sound like? Phonetics is all about speech sounds, whereas Phonology focuses on the patterns of these sounds in speech. Finally, Prosodics are the variabilities of speech, involving rhythm, pitch, loudness, tempo, and voice quality.
Lexis refers to the words of a language – have you ever heard the term lexicon, meaning vocabulary, or dictionary? Think of a lexis as being a large vault full of words.
Semantics refers to the meanings of words. Words on their own are just sounds, or a collection of letters, until we interpret meaning from them; Semantics explores this concept in detail.
This section also covers figurative language, which includes metaphor, simile, and hyperbole – these are all figures of speech, which are creative, non-literal ways of using language.
Grammar is the system, or rules, that language follows. It allows us to structure words and sentences so that other people can understand them. English grammar is what has helped us to form the words, sentences and paragraphs that you are reading right now!
The first known guide to English grammar, Pamphlet for Grammar, was written by WIlliam Bullokar and published in 1586. There is currently no official regulating body when it comes to English grammar (unlike other Germanic languages such as French and Dutch, which have language academies to set the rules). However, for the most part there is a general consensus when it comes to English grammar – in this section we’ll be covering all of the essentials.
Pragmatics considers the meaning of language within the social context and refers to how we use words in a practical sense. It helps us to understand how the same word or phrase can have different meanings in different settings and contexts; it is all about the real-world application of language.
The term “Pragamics” was coined in the 1930s by philosopher and psychologist Charles W. Morris. In his 1946 book, Signs, Language and Behavior, Morris stated that pragmatics “deals with the origins, uses, and effects of signs within the total behaviour of the interpreters of signs.” In other words, pragmatics considers the use of “signs” (such as tone of voice, gestures and body language) as well as how others interpret what somebody is saying within the social context.
Discourse is all about how we use language to share ideas, debate, or discuss topics. Michel Foucalt, the French philosopher, writer and literary critic, developed and popularised the concept of discourse, and his theories remain highly influential to this day. Discourse is an important part of everyday conversation, and it is ever-present in the media we regularly consume.
Graphology is the visual appearance of language. This includes elements such as the layout, font and use of colour.
Language and Social Groups examines sociolinguistics, or the study of language in society. This topic looks at how language varies between different social groups, which could be based on age, class, gender, religion, or shared interests, to name but a few factors. Key theorists in the area of sociolinguists include Howard Giles, WIlliam Labov, and Lesley and James Milroy.
International English explores the many variations of the English language; this includes accent, dialect and vernacular. English is a language that is spoken in many different countries, from the UK and Ireland to the USA and Australia. This topic is an opportunity to explore how the language has changed and adapted across continents and cultures.
Language Acquisition is the way in which we learn and develop our understanding and production of language. This includes child language acquisition (the way in which children learn language), first-language acquisition (your native language), bilingual language acquisition (having two native languages), and second-language acquisition (learning a foreign language).
This topic delves into scientific theories on learning, such as behavioural theory, nativistic theory and cognitive theory; for each of these, we will look at how they specifically relate to the learning of language. Influential figures whose work we will discuss in this section include Jerome Bruner, B.F. Skinner and Noam Chomsky.
Language Analysis explores the elements of writing, such as audience, genre, story, and narrative. Many of these will help to unpick creative works, such as novels, movies, and poetry.
From ancient Greek tragedy to Marvel movies, we will take a look at the techniques writers have used to construct stories through the ages, using ideas developed by theorists such as Jacques Derrida, Norman Fairclough and Gérard Genette.
The myriad topics within English Language can be quite intimidating. Thankfully, Vaia has separated these topics into manageable sections to allow you to focus on one aspect at a time. If you have English Language coursework, or are revising for exams, we’re here to help; delve into any topic, or subtopic, and you’ll find articles, revision guides, revision notes and flashcards to help you on your way. On top of this, you can personalize your learning experience by adding your own resources, ensuring that all of your revision material is in one place.
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