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Worlds of English

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What are the origins of the English language? How has it spread internationally? Is the worldwide influence of English a cause for celebration or concern? How is it changing in response to social, cultural, and technological developments? These are just a few of the questions that you will investigate in this course which looks at the history, diversity, and use of English around the world. Using a combination of printed materials and computer-based resources you will be introduced to the major debates in the field, and to some of the ways language is described and analysed.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1625.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1465.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

Worlds of English looks at the history of the English language and its position in the world today. You will see how English has evolved in the British Isles and how it has changed as it has spread around the world.

A major aim of the course is to enable you to observe and account for how language varies between individuals and also in different institutional, cultural and national settings. You will examine examples of speech and writing from a variety of global contexts and genres, including literature, poetry, song, film, political speeches and advertising. The choice of English in multilingual contexts from education and business, to films and popular music will exemplify the significance and power of the language in social, cultural, and economic life.

You will watch and listen to specially recorded material from countries where English is the majority language such as the UK, and in countries where it exists alongside one or more other languages, such as Canada, India and South Africa. The significance of English in global contexts and its power to simultaneously open up social and economic opportunities for some, and close them down for others, are critically examined.

The course is divided into three blocks, with the following themes:

  • English in the World: History, diversity, change
  • Communicating in English: Talk, text, technology
  • The Politics of English: Conflict, competition, co-existence.

You will be using a combination of three books, three study guides, and three DVD-ROMs containing audio-visual material gathered on location in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. These materials illustrate the diversity of English language practices across the globe and are designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of key terms and concepts in English language studies. A specially written language description book will introduce you to the basics of language analysis, which can then be practised using an accompanying interactive DVD-ROM.

You will learn

By studying this course, you’ll gain:

  • an understanding of the history and development of English, and a critical approach to its current global status
  • an understanding of the pivotal role of language in, for example, social organisation and relations, and the transmission of social and cultural values
  • a critical appreciation of contemporary uses of English in a range of social contexts
  • conceptual frameworks for the study of linguistic phenomena in a range of social contexts
  • opportunities to analyse spoken and written English
  • a perspective on your own English language experiences, including developing aspects of your own communication skills.

Vocational relevance

The course is relevant to students studying how to teach English in schools or to those wishing to teach English as an additional language.

Entry

This is a Level 2 course and so you should have some experience of Level 1 study, obtained either with the OU, or by doing equivalent work at another university.

If you have not studied at university level before, you are strongly advised to study at Level 1 before progressing to Level 2 study.

We recommend The arts past and present (AA100) and English for academic purposes online (L185). These Level 1 courses develop skills such as logical thinking, clear expression, essay writing and the ability to select and interpret relevant materials.

Your regional or national centre can advise you on where you can see reference copies of Level 1 study materials. Some are also available from Open University Worldwide Ltd. We particularly recommend looking at these materials if you have not successfully completed Level 1 study or studied at an equivalent level elsewhere.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Preparatory work

Before starting the course, you may be interested in reading some books from English language studies. We recommend the following which are all accessibly written:

Cameron, Deborah (2000) Good To Talk: Living and Working in a Communication Culture, Sage.

Crystal, David (2005) The Stories of English, Penguin.

Crystal, David (2007) How Language Works, Penguin.

Graddol, David (2006) English Next, British Council. This book is available to download from British Council Learning.

If you prefer audio books or podcasts, you may be interested in:

Crystal, David (2011) The Story of English in 100 Words (BBC Audiobooks). Available on audio CD and also to download from Audible.

The British Library (2010) Evolving English, a series of podcasts available from The British Library or free from iTunes.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

The course makes use of a variety of online resources, some of which may not be fully accessible for visually impaired students. However, the use of these resources is optional and does not form part of the course assessment. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to talk to the Student Registration and Enquiry Service about support that can be given to meet your needs. Written transcripts of any audio and video clips are available and can be downloaded from the DVD-ROMS, and accessible Word versions of the main texts and the study guides are available. We hope to offer an audio version of the printed material. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future.Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

A module guide; three books; three study guides; three audio-visual DVD-ROMs; a separate resource on language description comprising a book and an interactive DVD-ROM; website including assessment materials, a study planner, additional resources, and access to student and tutor group forums.

You will need

You may need a headset with a microphone and earphones to take part in online tutorials – see Support from your tutor.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course. It includes online activities – you can access using a web browser  – and some course software provided on DVD.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer running Windows since 2007, or an Apple Mac (OS X 10.6 or later) or Linux computer, you should have no problems completing the computer-based activities.
  • A netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device is not suitable for this course – check our Technical requirements section.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material, mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. You are encouraged to use the tutor group forum to communicate with your tutor and others in your group, and you may be asked to prepare for an assignment through the forum. We might also be able to offer group tutorials or day-schools. We encourage you to attend these, but they are not compulsory. Where tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course; some may be held online.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

The end-of-module assessment (EMA) must be submitted online.

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“I was unsure about this module when I first started studying it. I had never studied English at university level ...”
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“This was a fascinating module - I loved it! I have always been curious of linguistic evolution and diversity, and ...”
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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code U214
Credits 60
OU Level 2
SCQF level 9
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

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