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BA (Honours) Language Studies

Learning languages opens doors to other cultures and gives you an experience of the world that goes deeper than the average tourist trip. It can also provide a key to the global workplace. The BA (Honours) Language Studies, delivered through a mix of online and face-to-face tuition, gives you a choice of two modern languages (from French, German and Spanish) or one modern language and English. You can also learn Italian to intermediate level, and beginners' Chinese and Welsh. On completing this degree course, you'll be a fluent communicator in at least one modern language and you'll understand how language is structured, and how its use varies in different contexts. You'll also acquire valuable transferable skills in managing and motivating yourself, setting and achieving goals, working with others and using ICT.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Key facts

Code: Q30 Made up of: 360 credits

There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree.

Fees: Our fees depend on where you are ordinarily resident. We have a range of funding options to help you with payment. When you apply to study we will tell you the fee and funding options that are available to you. Before you apply you can read What you can expect to pay.

Career relevance and employability

As a linguist, the world is your oyster. You'll enjoy a broad range of career opportunities: teaching; translating; the media (publishing, journalism, advertising); leisure, tourism and travel; diplomacy; and working in international organisations. You'll be an effective communicator with an awareness of cultural differences and similarities - skills that are particularly valuable in an environment of increasing international contact.

In the workplace, you'll have skills that make you valuable to a range of employers. Some, such as translation and the ability to communicate fluently in more than one language, flow directly from your study. Others are broader but no less vital. You'll be able to compose and analyse a range of texts, and work well with members of other cultures. As an OU graduate you'll be able to manage and motivate yourself, and you'll be practised and proficient in the use of online technologies.

There's more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Educational aims

This degree allows you to combine the study of two modern languages (from French, German and Spanish) with the study of applied linguistics in English, or to combine one modern language with English language studies.

If you complete the degree you will have a broad understanding of the structure of language, how language varies and changes and how it is used in different contexts.

Each of the modern language strands provides you with opportunities to learn how to communicate effectively in a language other than English, both in speech and in writing, and to gain knowledge of the societies and cultures in which that language is used.

The English language strand aims to provide you with an understanding of the history of English, its development as a global language and its contemporary use in a range of social contexts. You will learn of different theoretical approaches to the study of language and have opportunities to analyse the English used in a variety of media.

When you have completed the degree you will also have had opportunities to explore and develop your cognitive skills, to become an independent learner, and to develop other transferable skills and attributes.

Learning outcomes

When you complete your studies you will be able to demonstrate that you can:

Knowledge and understanding

  • communicate fluently and appropriately with competent speakers of at least two languages in a broad variety of oral and written contexts, including academic ones, maintaining a high degree of grammatical accuracy and appropriate style
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of aspects of the societies of the countries where each language is spoken (including aspects such as literatures, cultures, linguistic contexts, politics, geography, and social and economic structures)
  • show intercultural communicative competence, including a reasoned awareness and critical understanding of the cultures and societies associated with each language and the ability to describe, analyse and evaluate the similarities and dissimilarities between cultures and societies with your own
  • recognise the relationship between language and social and political processes, as well as debates surrounding the historical and contemporary relationships between other languages
  • recognise how language develops, works and changes, and how it is used in a variety of contexts and for a variety of purposes
  • understand the nature of linguistic evidence and the different methods used in the collection, description and analysis of language data.

Cognitive skills

  • make use of a wide variety of written, spoken and multimodal texts for different audiences, employing appropriate reading and listening strategies
  • interpret and critically evaluate evidence in the light of alternative explanations, arguments and theories
  • write texts of different types, following appropriate structures and conventions, selecting and making critical use of written and spoken sources
  • make spoken presentations on particular topics, using appropriate styles and techniques, and take part in a wide variety of spoken interactions, using appropriate discourse strategies.

Practical and/or professional skills

  • work independently, scheduling tasks and managing time effectively
  • gather and process information from a variety of paper, audio-visual and electronic sources
  • demonstrate analytical and problem-solving skills related to academic tasks, including collecting and analysing linguistic data
  • make independent judgements and construct coherent arguments, supported by evidence and appropriately referenced
    plan and undertake small-scale research.

Key skills

  • recognise and use effective learning strategies
  • gather, identify, use and evaluate information from a variety of sources and in a variety of forms
  • respond to feedback in order to improve the effectiveness of written and spoken communication
  • use information and communication technologies (ICT) as a means of communication, as an aid to learning generally and as an aid to collaborative learning
  • understand, interpret and discuss basic statistical data in the form of graphs, tables and diagrams.

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