The Philosophy of Language MA is designed for students with a particular interest in philosophy and ways in which its principles and teachings can be applied to the study of language.
The study of language has given rise to a number of distinctive philosophical problems that became central to Western philosophy in the nineteenth century and that have dominated research and discussion in the twentieth century.
Our philosophy modules give you a thorough grounding in philosophical insights, as you engage in critical reflection on the relationship between sociopolitical context and philosophical debate. You explore the history of philosophy from the Enlightenment to the twentieth century, examining the variety of critical and analytical traditions that have emerged from those foundations.
Philosophy of language modules examine the influence of philosophical theories on the analysis of language, focusing on the critical analysis of the relationship between the philosophy of language and linguistics.
The programme is designed for both full-time and part-time students, with a flexible framework that can fit in with your professional and personal commitments. Modules are taught across the two semesters, usually in nine sessions per semester.
In addition, you are expected to work independently and engage with reading and research in your subject area. You will be offered support through tutorial supervision and the university's online virtual learning environment.
Areas of study
The Philosophy of Language MA covers semantics, pragmatics (minimalism and contextualism), the philosophy of language, grammar, language variation and attitudes, language and identity (class, age, gender, ethnicity, social networks), language in interaction (politeness, speech accommodation, cross-cultural communication), feminist theory and linguistic theory, and ethnocentrism/racial prejudices in colonial discourse.
You approach these topics by: analysing and evaluating aspects of philosophy that have had significant influence on the general understanding of what language is and how its use interacts with, and exploits, context; engaging with philosophical frameworks starting with Frege, through to Russell and Wittgenstein, which attempt to account for meaning in language; and evaluating philosophical foundations of critical theory that have contributed to debates on the understanding of history, politics and the nature of meaning.
Grammar and the English Language
Semantics: Word Meaning
Pragmatics, Meaning and Truth
Topics in Sociolinguistics
Discourses of Culture
Semantics/Pragmatics Interface: Approaches to the Study of Meaning
Cultural and Critical Theory module
Careers and employability
The Philosophy of Language MA prepares you for careers in linguistics, linguistic anthropology, forensic linguistics, speech therapy, sign language, journalism, writing, English language teaching, politics and sociology.