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The University of Southampton

LING1005 Structure of English

Module Overview

If English is your native language, or even if you learned it as an additional language, you may not be aware of the structure of its sounds, words, phrases and sentences. In this module you will learn to describe how English sentences are constructed and you will develop the skills necessary to analyze sentence structure. In so doing you will use some of the tools and methods of modern linguistics. Our focus will be on how English structure is relevant to teaching English as a second language. The module is intended to deepen your understanding of important areas of English grammar and to develop competence in grammatical analysis and explanation in an ESL classroom context. Although the module will introduce insights from contemporary linguistics, no particular theoretical framework will be espoused.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • conceptualized your native or learner intuitions into explicit knowledge of English structure;
  • gained an understanding of the structure of the phonological system of English;
  • gained an understanding of the way that words are structured in English and the relations between morphology, phonology, syntax and semantics;
  • gained an understanding of the syntactic structure and semantic interpretation of major constructions in English and the foundations of syntactic and semantic analysis;
  • learned to objectively analyse grammatical phenomena in English and other languages.


The presentation of the material follows the natural description of any human language: from general ideas about language, on to the sounds of English, word parts and word structure, structure of simple and complex phrases and sentences, and finally structure of discourse and speech acts. We will also pay special attention to the important grammatical categories of tense, mood, aspect, and definiteness, and what the means of their expression in English are. We will always keep in mind not just linguistic structure, but how adult native speakers of other languages may acquire that English structure, and where specific difficulties in that acquisition process may lie. Topics are likely to include:  Grammar and our knowledge of language  The sounds of English  The shape of English words: processes of word formation.  Grammatical categories and word classes  Lexical Semantics  Phrasal structure and verb complements  Adverbials, auxiliaries and sentence types  The tense-aspect-modality system in discourse  English articles in discourse  Finite clauses  Non-finite clauses  Sentence semantics  Information structure and speech acts  Linguistics in language teaching.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include  1 lecture per week  1 seminar per week The lectures will serve to introduce, analyse and investigate key aspects of the structure of English. The weekly seminar will be mostly student-led and will be used to discuss and consolidate key themes through discussion of various activities prepared individually and in groups.

Preparation for scheduled sessions60
Wider reading or practice20
Completion of assessment task26
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Laurel Brinton and Donna Brinton. (2010). The Linguistic Structure of Modern English. 

Celce-Murcia, Marianne and Diane Larsen-Freeman (1999). The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher's course. 

Crystal, David (1995). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. 

Hurford, James R. (1994). Grammar: A Student’s Guide. 

Naomi Baron (2001). Alphabet to Email: How written Engish Evolved and Where It's Heading. 

Huddleston, Rodney and Geoffrey Pullum (2005). A Student’s Introduction to English. 

Lobeck, Anne and Kristine Denham (2014). Navigating English Grammar: A Guide to analysing real language.. 

Laurie Bauer & Peter Trudgill (1998). Language Myths. 



In-class activities


MethodPercentage contribution
Practical exercise  (500 words) 50%
Take-away paper 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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