English studies

English studies (usually called simply English) is an academic discipline taught in primary, secondary, and post-secondary education in English-speaking countries; it is not to be confused with English taught as a foreign language, which is a distinct discipline. English includes: the study of literature written in the English language (especially novels, short stories, and poetry), the majority of which comes from Britain, the United States, and Ireland (although English-language literature from any country may be studied, and local or national literature is usually emphasized in any given country); English composition, including writing essays, short stories, and poetry; English language arts, including the study of grammar, usage, and style; and English sociolinguistics, including discourse analysis of written and spoken texts in the English language, the history of the English language, English language learning and teaching, and the study of World Englishes. English linguistics (syntax, morphology, phonetics, phonology, etc.) is usually treated as a distinct discipline, taught in a department of linguistics.

The disciplinary divide between a dominant literature or usage orientation is one motivation for the division of the North American Modern Language Association (MLA) into two subgroups. At universities in non-English-speaking countries, the same department often covers all aspects of English studies, including linguistics: this is reflected, for example, in the structure and activities of the European Society for the Study of English (ESSE).

It is common for departments of English to offer courses and scholarship in the areas of the English language, literature (including literary criticism and literary theory), public speaking and speech-writing, rhetoric, composition studies, creative writing, philology and etymology, journalism, poetry, publishing, literacy, area studies (especially American studies), the philosophy of language, theater and play-writing, screenwriting, communication studies, technical communication, cultural studies, critical theory, gender studies, ethnic studies, disability studies, digital media and electronic publishing, film studies and other media studies, and various courses in the liberal arts and humanities, among others. In most English-speaking countries, the study at all educational levels of texts produced in non-English languages takes place in other departments, such as departments of foreign language or of comparative literature.


See also Literature and linguistics, along with List of academic disciplines

English major

The English Major (alternatively "English concentration," "B.A. in English") is a term in the United States and a few other countries for an undergraduate university degree focused around reading, analyzing, and writing texts in the English language. The term may also be used to describe a student who is pursuing such a degree.

Students who major in English reflect upon, analyse, and interpret literature and film, presenting their analyses in clear, cogent writing. Although help-wanted postings rarely solicit English majors specifically, a degree in English hones critical thinking skills essential to a number of career fields, including writing, editing, publishing, teaching, research, advertising, public relations, law, and finance.


The history of English studies at the modern university in Europe and America begins in the second half of the nineteenth century. Initially, English studies comprised a motley array of content: the practice of oratory, the study of rhetoric and grammar, the composition of poetry, and the appreciation of literature (mostly by authors from England, since American literature and language study was only added in the twentieth century).[1] In Germany and several other European countries, English philology, a strongly positivistic and historically interested practice of reading pre-modern texts, became the preferred scholarly paradigm, but English-speaking countries distanced themselves from philological paradigms soon after World War I.[2] At the end of this process, English departments tended to refocus their work on various forms of writing instruction (creative, professional, critical) and the interpreting of literary texts, and teacher education in English recovered from the neglect it had suffered because of more science-oriented paradigms.[3] Today, English departments in native-speaking countries re-evaluate their roles as sole guardians of the discipline because English is less and less native speakers' unique 'property' and has to be shared with the millions of speakers and writers from other countries for whom English is an essential means of communication and artistic expression.[4]

English literature became an object of study in French universities as part of foreign (comparative) literature in the nineteenth century. A chair of foreign literature was established at the College de France in 1841.[5] English was first taught independently from other languages and literature in the University of Lille and in the University of Lyons and only afterwards in the Sorbonne. These three universities were the first major centres of English studies in France. The first lecturer and later professor of English studies would seem to have been Auguste Angellier. After spending several years teaching French in England in the 1860s and 1870s, he became a lecturer in English studies in the University of Lille in 1881 and a professor of English in 1893. In France nowadays, literature, civilisation, linguistics and the spoken and written language are all important in English studies in universities.[6]

The English major rose to prominence in American colleges during the first half of the 1970s.[7] It provided an opportunity for students to develop skills in analytical reading with the aim of improving their writing, as well as exercises in rhetoric and persuasive expression that had been traditionally only taught in classical studies and available to the very few due to language barriers and a shortage of professors who could actively engage students in the humanities. Outside the United States (originating in Scotland and then rippling out into the English-speaking world) the English major became popular in the latter half of the 19th century during a time when religious beliefs were shaken in the face of scientific discoveries.[8] Literature was thought to act as a replacement for religion in the retention and advancement of culture, and the English Major thus provided students with the chance to draw moral, ethical, and philosophical qualities and meanings of older studies from a richer and broader source of literature than that of the ancient Greek and Latin classics.

Since 2000, there have been more and more questions about the specific function of English departments at the contemporary U.S. college and university. The absence of a clearly defined disciplinary identity and the increasingly utilitarian goals in U.S. society present a challenge to those academic units still mostly focusing on the printed book and the traditional division in historical periods and national literatures, and neglecting allegedly non-theoretical areas such as professional writing, composition, and multimodal communication.[9]

Skills acquired

In the past an academic degree in English usually meant an intensive study of British and American literary masterpieces. Now, however, an English Major encompasses a much broader range of topics which stretch over multiple disciplines. While the requirements for an English Major vary from university to university, most English departments emphasize three core skills: analyzing literature, a process which requires logic and reflective analysis; creativity and imagination with regards to the production of good writing; and an understanding of different cultures, civilizations, and literary styles from various time periods. The skills gained from studying English include acquiring tools that will never lose value, understanding the ever-changing media, to explain your own world, and more.[10] Prospective English Majors can expect to take college courses in academic writing, creative writing, literary theory, British and American literature, multicultural literature, several literary genres (such as poetry, drama, and film studies), and a number of elective multidisciplinary topics such as history, courses in the social sciences, and studies in a foreign language. To the end of studying these disciplines, candidates for a Major in English attain skills in professional writing with relations to rhetoric, literary analysis, an appreciation for the diversity of cultures, and an ability to clearly and persuasively express their ideas in writing.

Examples of courses

Most English courses fall into the broader categories of either Literature-based studies, which focus on classical authors and time periods, or Rhetorical studies, which concentrate on communication skills in preparation for specialization in a variety of professional fields. While specific graduation requirements vary from university to university, students can expect to study some of the following courses.

Courses in Writing and Composition: such as Academic and Professional Writing, which stress analytical writing and train students to produce clear, cohesive arguments.

Courses in British Literature: Courses may focus on time periods, authors, genres, or literary movements. Examples include Shakespeare's Tragedies, History and Theory of British Drama, Medieval English Literature, and the Victorian Novel.

Courses in American Literature: Depending upon the university, these courses can either be broken down by time period, such as Nineteenth Century Gothic Fiction; authors, such as classes on Hawthorne, Hemingway, or Frost; or Literary schools and movements, such as Naturalism or Transcendentalism.

Courses in Multicultural Literature: The value of bringing a range of cultural and multidisciplinary perspectives to the study of English literature is being increasingly recognized in a number of universities. Examples include Multi-cultural Literatures in Medieval England, Latina Narratives, and Studies in Jewish Literature.

Rhetorical courses: Focus on techniques of persuasive arguing in the written form, as well as skills which involve the analysis of written texts.

Career opportunities

A major in English opens a variety of career opportunities for college graduates entering the job market. Since students who graduate with an English degree are trained to ask probing questions about large bodies of texts and then to formulate, analyze, and answer those questions in coherent, persuasive prose—skills vital to any number of careers—English majors have much to choose from after graduation. The most obvious career choices for English majors are writing, publishing, journalism, and teaching. However, other less intuitive job options include positions in advertising, public relations, acting, law, business, marketing, information assurance, and directing.

See also


  1. ^ For a survey of these developments, see Gerald Graff, Professing Literature. An Institutional History (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1987).
  2. ^ Richard Utz, "Englische Philologie vs. English Studies: A Foundational Conflict," in: Das Potential europäischer Philologien: Geschichte, Leistung, Funktion, ed. Christoph König (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2009), pp. 34-44.
  3. ^ Bruce McComiskey, ed., English Studies. An Introduction to the Discipline (Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2006), esp. pp. 44-48, "The New English Studies."
  4. ^ See, for example, the English Without Borders Archived 2014-02-04 at the Wayback Machine project at Texas A&M University
  5. ^ Vorachek, Laura (2017). "Journalism and the Periodical Press in Nineteenth-Century Britain ed. by Joanne Shattock (review)". Victorian Periodicals Review. 50 (4): 829–833. doi:10.1353/vpr.2017.0059. ISSN 1712-526X.
  6. ^ Imelda Bonel-Elliott (2000), “English Studies in France” in: Engler, Balz and Haas, Renate, European English Studies: Contributions Towards a History of the Discipline. Leicester: The English Association for ESSE, pp. 69-88.
  7. ^ National Center for Education Statistics (January 1993). "120 Years of American Education: A Statistical Portrait" (PDF). National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  8. ^ "Literature and Science" (Matthew Arnold [1882])
  9. ^ Richard Utz, "The Trouble with English," Chronicle of Higher Education, 13 January 2013 (http://chronicle.com/blogs/conversation/2013/01/03/the-trouble-with-english/); and "Quo vadis, English Studies," Philologie im Netz 69 (2014): 93-100 (http://web.fu-berlin.de/phin/phin69/p69t8.htm)
  10. ^ "Why Major in English?". Yale University. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  • O'Hara, Shelly. What Can You Do with a Major in English. Hoboken: Wiley Publishing Inc., 2005. ISBN 0-7645-7605-4
  • The University of Chicago Courses and Programs of Study The College 2006-2008. [1]
  • de Vane, William Clyde. The English Major. College English, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Oct., 1941), pp. 47–52 [2]
  • On the History of the English Major, [3]

External links

Avans University of Applied Sciences

Avans University of Applied Sciences (Dutch: Avans Hogeschool) is a high-ranked Dutch vocational university. It is located in three cities: Breda, 's-Hertogenbosch, and Tilburg. The school has 30,000 students studying 40 courses in 18 institutes. There are 2,900 employees.

Avans University of Applied Sciences itself was founded on January 1, 2004, as a union of Hogeschool 's-Hertogenbosch and Hogeschool Brabant in Tilburg, Breda, and Etten-Leur. Hogeschool Brabant itself was a union from 1988 of Hogeschool West-Brabant (Etten-Leur and Breda) and Hogeschool Midden-Brabant (Tilburg). The oldest branch of Avans University of Applied Sciences is the Kunstacademie in 's-Hertogenbosch, which was founded on October 1, 1812.


In Norse mythology, Bergelmir ( bair-GHEL-meer; Old Norse "Mountain Yeller" or "Bear Yeller")

is a frost giant, the son of giant Þrúðgelmir and the grandson of Ymir (who was called Aurgelmir among giants), the first frost giant, according to stanza 29 of the poem Vafthrudnismal from the Poetic Edda:

"Uncountable winters before the earth was made,

then Bergelmir was born,

Thrudgelmir was his father,

and Aurgelmir his grandfather."

— Larrington trans.According to the Gylfaginning section of the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson, Bergelmir and his wife alone among the giants were the only survivors of the enormous deluge of blood which flowed from Ymir's wounds when he was killed by Odin and his brothers Vili and Vé. They escaped the sanguinary flood by climbing onto an object and subsequently became the progenitors of a new race of frost giants.

Bridge to Terabithia (novel)

Bridge to Terabithia is a work of children's literature about two lonely children who create a magical forest kingdom in their imaginations. It was written by Katherine Paterson and was published in 1977 by Thomas Crowell. In 1978, it won the Newbery Medal. Paterson drew inspiration for the novel from a real event that occurred in August 1974 when her son's friend was struck dead by lightning.

The novel tells the story of fifth grader Jesse Aarons, who becomes friends with his new neighbor, Leslie Burke, after he loses a footrace to her at school. She is a smart, talented, outgoing tomboy from a wealthy family, and he thinks highly of her. He is an artistic boy from a poorer family who, in the beginning, is fearful, angry, and depressed. After meeting Leslie, his life is transformed. He becomes courageous and learns to let go of his frustration. They create a kingdom for themselves, which Leslie names "Terabithia."

The novel's content has been the frequent target of censors and appears at number eight on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books for the decade 1990–2000. It is studied in English studies classes in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.It has been adapted for the screen twice: a 1985 PBS TV movie and a 2007 Disney/Walden Media feature film.

Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform

The Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform was an organisation set up to campaign for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the 1970s. Its most prominent leader was David Norris, an English studies lecturer in Trinity College, Dublin, Joycean scholar and from the 1980s to the present a member of Seanad Éireann.

European Journal of English Studies

The European Journal of English Studies is a peer-reviewed academic journal focusing on English language, literature and culture, established in 1997 and published by Routledge. It is the official journal of the European Society for the Study of English. The current editors-in-chief are Martin A. Kayman, Angela Locatelli, and Ansgar Nünning. The journal appears three times a year and the individual issues are devoted to specific topics, e.g.:

Letters and letter writing

New Englishes

Intercultural negotiationsThe aim of the journal is to reflect the multicultural perspective characterising the current state of English studies research in Europe, while encouraging dialogue and not avoiding controversial topics.

Germanic philology

This article is about the history of the discipline, for linguistic phenomena, see Germanic languages and the navigation template below.Germanic philology is the philological study of the Germanic languages, particularly from a comparative or historical perspective.The beginnings of research into the Germanic languages began in the 16th century, with the discovery of literary texts in the earlier phases of the languages. Early modern publications dealing with Old Norse culture appeared in the 16th century, e.g. Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus (Olaus Magnus, 1555) and the first edition of the

13th century Gesta Danorum (Saxo Grammaticus), in 1514.

In 1603, Melchior Goldast made the first edition of Middle High German poetry, Tyrol and Winsbeck, including a commentary which focused on linguistic problems and set the tone for the approach to such works in the subsequent centuries. He later gave similar attention to the Old High German Benedictine Rule. In England, Cotton's studies of the manuscripts in his collection marks the beginnings of work on Old English language.

The pace of publication increased during the 17th century with Latin translations of the Edda (notably Peder Resen's Edda Islandorum of 1665).

Germanic philology, together with linguistics as a whole, emerged as a serious academic discipline in the early 19th century, pioneered particularly in Germany by such linguists as Jacob Grimm, who discovered Grimm's law, on the sound change across Germanic languages. Important 19th century scholars include Henry Sweet and Matthias Lexer.

The structure of the modern university means that for the most part work on the field is focused on medieval English studies, medieval German studies, etc. Only relatively few universities can afford to offer Comparative linguistics as a discrete field.


Hyperlexia is a syndrome characterized by a child's precocious ability to read. It was initially identified by Norman E. Silberberg and Margaret C. Silberberg (1967), who defined it as the precocious ability to read words without prior training in learning to read, typically before the age of 5. They indicated that children with hyperlexia have a significantly higher word-decoding ability than their reading comprehension levels. Children with hyperlexia also present with an intense fascination for written material at a very early age.Hyperlexic children are characterized by having average or above-average IQs, and word-reading ability well above what would be expected given their age. First named and scientifically described in 1967 (Silverberg and Silverberg), it can be viewed as a superability in which word recognition ability goes far above expected levels of skill. Some hyperlexics, however, have trouble understanding speech. Some experts believe that most children with hyperlexia, or perhaps even all of them, lie on the autism spectrum. However, one expert, Darold Treffert, proposes that hyperlexia has subtypes, only some of which overlap with autism. Between 5 and 20 percent of autistic children have been estimated to be hyperlexic.Hyperlexic children are often fascinated by letters or numbers. They are extremely good at decoding language and thus often become very early readers. Some hyperlexic children learn to spell long words (such as elephant) before they are two years old and learn to read whole sentences before they turn three.

An fMRI study of a single child showed that hyperlexia may be the neurological opposite of dyslexia.

Institute for the Study of the Americas

The Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA) was established in 2004 following a merger of the Institute of Latin American Studies and the Institute of United States Studies. ISA formed part of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study along with nine other research institutes. In 2013, the Institute of Latin American Studies was re-established in order to focus the support provided to scholars of Latin America. Activities pertaining to the study of the United States continue within the School of Advanced Study under the direction of the Institute of English Studies and Institute of Historical Research.

Institute of English Studies

The Institute of English Studies (abbreviated as IES) is a centre of excellence in the research, promotion and facilitation in the field English Literature and Language. With a specialisation in book history, palaeography and textual scholarship, the IES facilitates the advanced study and research of English Studies in the national and international academic community. The Institute, located in Senate House, London, is one of the nine institutes that together comprise the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

MLA Handbook

The MLA Handbook (8th ed., 2016), formerly the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (1977–2009) is a publication of the United States-based Modern Language Association. According to the organization, their MLA style "has been widely adopted for classroom instruction and used worldwide by scholars, journal publishers, and academic and commercial presses".The MLA Handbook began as an abridged student version of the MLA Style Manual. Both are academic style guides that have been widely used in the United States, Canada, and other countries, providing guidelines for writing and documentation of research in the humanities, such as English studies (including the English language, writing, and literature written in English); the study of other modern languages and literatures, including comparative literature; literary criticism; media studies; cultural studies; and related disciplines. Released in April 2016, the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook (like its previous editions) is addressed primarily to secondary-school and undergraduate college and university teachers and students.MLA announced in April 2016 MLA Handbook will henceforth be "the authoritative source for MLA style", and that the 2008 third edition of the MLA Style Manual would be the final edition of the larger work. The announcement also stated that the organization "is in the process of developing additional publications to address the professional needs of scholars."

Modern Humanities Research Association

The Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA) is a United Kingdom-based international organisation that aims to encourage and promote advanced study and research of humanities. It is most notable for producing the MHRA Style Guide.

The MHRA was founded in 1918 in Christ's College, Cambridge. After an early change of name to MHRA in 1918, the unincorporated charity became an incorporated company with the same name on 2 October 1997. Its declared aim is to encourage and promote advanced study and research in the field of the modern humanities, which include the modern and medieval European languages, literatures and cultures. The current president is Dame Gillian Beer of Cambridge.

As well as the MHRA Style Guide, the MHRA publishes seven scholarly journals:

Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature

Modern Language Review

Austrian Studies

Portuguese Studies

The Slavonic and East European Review

The Yearbook of English Studies

The Year's Work in Modern Language Studiesand book series:

Legenda (imprint)

Publications of the MHRA

MHRA Texts & Dissertations

MHRA Bibliographies

MHRA Critical Texts

MHRA European Translations

MHRA New Translations

MHRA Tudor & Stuart Translations

National University of Modern Languages

The National University of Modern Languages (NUML) is a public university with its main campus located in Islamabad, Pakistan and other satellite campuses in different cities of Pakistan. It was established as an institute in 1969 and upgraded to university on May 29, 2000. It offers undergraduate and post-graduate programs in languages, linguistics, social sciences, communications, engineering, management sciences and computer sciences. It is one of the largest university in the country. In 2013, the university was ranked in top 15 by the Higher Education Commission (Pakistan) (HEC) "general category" ranking.

Patricia Waugh

Professor Patricia Waugh FBA (born 25 April 1956) is a literary critic, intellectual historian and Professor of English Literature at Durham University. She is a leading specialist in modernist and post-modernist literature, feminist theory, intellectual history, and postwar fiction and its political contexts. Along with Linda Hutcheon, Waugh is notable as one of the first critics to work on metafiction and, in particular, for her influential 1984 study, Metafiction: the Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction.Waugh completed her PhD at the University of Birmingham under the supervision of David Lodge. She joined the Department of English Studies at Durham University in 1989, became a Professor in 1997, and was Head of the Department of English Studies between 2005 and 2008.

In 2014, Waugh gave the first lecture, entitled "Fiction as Therapy: Towards a Neo-Phenomenological Theory of the Novel", in the British Academy's Lecture on the Novel in English series.Waugh was invited, in 2015, to contribute to the Chief Scientific Adviser's Report to the Government on Science arguing the case for the importance to scientific development of the humanities.In 2016, she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.Waugh has won over £5 million in research funding and has been the external examiner of over 90 PhD theses.


Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is the intersection between textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics. Philology is more commonly defined as the study of literary texts as well as oral and written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning. A person who pursues this kind of study is known as a philologist.

In older usage, especially British, philology is more general, covering comparative and historical linguistics.Classical philology studies classical languages. Classical philology principally originated from the Library of Pergamum and the Library of Alexandria around the fourth century BCE, continued by Greeks and Romans throughout the Roman/Byzantine Empire. It was preserved and promoted during the Islamic Golden Age, and eventually resumed by European scholars of the Renaissance, where it was soon joined by philologies of other non-Asian (European) (Germanic, Celtic), Eurasian (Slavistics, etc.) and Asian (Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese, etc.) languages. Indo-European studies involves the comparative philology of all Indo-European languages.

Philology, with its focus on historical development (diachronic analysis), is contrasted with linguistics due to Ferdinand de Saussure's insistence on the importance of synchronic analysis. The contrast continued with the emergence of structuralism and Chomskyan linguistics alongside its emphasis on syntax.

Sonnet 109

Sonnet 109 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It's a member of the Fair Youth sequence, in which the poet expresses his love towards a young man.

The Review of English Studies

The Review of English Studies is an academic journal published by Oxford University Press covering English literature and the English language from the earliest period to the present. RES is a "leading scholarly journal of English literature and the English language" whose critical "[e]mphasis is on historical scholarship rather than interpretative criticism, though fresh readings of authors and texts are also offered in light of newly discovered sources or new interpretation of known material."

William Law

William Law (1686 – 9 April 1761) was a Church of England priest who lost his position at Emmanuel College, Cambridge when his conscience would not allow him to take the required oath of allegiance to the first Hanoverian monarch, King George I. Previously William Law had given his allegiance to the House of Stuart and is sometimes considered a second-generation non-juror (an earlier generation of non-jurors included Thomas Ken). Thereafter, Law first continued as a simple priest (curate) and when that too became impossible without the required oath, Law taught privately, as well as wrote extensively. His personal integrity, as well as mystic and theological writing greatly influenced the evangelical movement of his day as well as Enlightenment thinkers such as the writer Dr Samuel Johnson and the historian Edward Gibbon. In 1784 William Wilberforce (1759-1833), the politician, philanthropist and leader of the movement to stop the slave trade, was deeply touched by reading William Law's book A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1729). Law's spiritual writings remain in print today.

İrfan Şahinbaş Workshop Stage

İrfan Şahinbaş Workshop Stage (Turkish: İrfan Şahinbaş Atölye Sahnesi) is a theatre in Yenimahalle district of Ankara, Turkey. It is operated by the Turkish State Theatres. The theatre is named in honor of İrfan Şahinbaş (1912–1990), an academic in English studies and History of theatre.

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