Introduction to the Study of English

Study of English

English language has been positively and widely accepted as a universal language of the world. Hence, many people who study English may consider it their personal proficiency. And many people also ought to master the English language as it is an essential value for a student. Whether you just want to be live in a free world where you can communicate freely with everyone, you want to teach English, or perhaps you wish to get a deeper understanding of the language, there it is good to know English. It is a language that can help students better themselves and their life skills; those who speak English are more readily accepted by world society.

This is a language widely applied as a means of communication across the globe and considered one of the international languages of the world. This makes it essential for people to study. In many countries, it is studied as a foreign language, and it is taught from elementary school as the main language of instructions to higher levels of learning.

But when one takes English as a major at the university level, it goes beyond just learning to speak. And many times, people confuse English studies with the process of teaching the language as a foreign language. There is a huge difference here, and one must be able to understand the different concepts applied. English, here, encompasses the study and exploration of texts created in English literature. Hence, English studies incorporate the study of literature written in English, especially novels, plays, fiction, and short stories and poetry, much of which originates from Britain, the U.S.A, and Ireland (although other literature from other English-speaking countries can be studied too). 

There are also Arts in the English Language, likes grammar usage and style, and English socio-linguistics, like the discourse analysis of written and spoken texts in English. Also, the student will be introduced to the history of the English language, English language learning, and teaching, as well as the study of world Englishes. There is English linguistics as well, although it is treated as a distinct discipline with a separate department. Linguistics includes Syntax, morphology, phonetics, and phonology.

Today, it has become common for departments of English to offer courses and scholarships in the areas of English language and literature. And there are specific areas that require deeper digging. They include literary criticism and literacy theory; public speaking and speech-writing; rhetoric, composition studies; creative writing; philology and etymology; journalism; poetry; publishing; literacy; area studies; the philosophy of language; theater and play-writing; screenwriting; communication studies; technical communication and various other fields.

Fields of English Studies

As you can see from the above, English is a broad subject of study. It can take a long time and dedication to understand everything, and it is never possible to learn everything concerning English study. It has different fields, the major ones being:

- English linguistics

- English sociolinguistic

- Discourse analysis in English

- English Stylistics

- World Englishes

- History of English Language

- Composition studies

- English literature

- English learning and teaching

- Area studies (American literature, African-American literature, Southern literature, Australian Literature, British Literature e.t.c.)

English as a Major

English major is commonly known as Bachelor of Arts in English. In the United States and a few other countries, English is offered a major for undergraduate studies. It is focused on reading, analyzing, and writing texts using the English language. The term may also mean students pursuing such a degree. If you are taking English as a major, you will be required to reflect upon, analyze, and interpret literature and film. And from the analysis, it is prudent to remember presenting analyses in clear, understandable writing. A degree in English calls for critical thinking skills, which are necessary for many career fields. Hence, even though there are rarely posting targeting English specifically, there are several career fields, including writing, editing, publishing, teaching, research, advertising, public relations, and law, among many others.

History of English Major

The study of English majors in universities in Europe and American can be traced from the second half of the nineteenth century. Initially, the studies included a motley array of content, the practice of oratory, the study of rhetoric and grammar, poetry composition, and literature appreciation. In Germany and other countries, the studies focused on philological paradigms, which English speaking distanced themselves after WWI. After this, departments dealing with English tend to refocus on works of various writing instructions and interpreting literature. Today, English, in native-English countries use more scientific approaches.

French universities adopted English literature as part of foreign/comparative literature from the beginning of the nineteenth century. At this time, a chair of foreign literature was created at the College de France in 1841. Hence, English teaching was first approached independently from other languages, And today, English studies are important in French universities, comprising of literature, civilization, linguistics, and the spoken and written languages. Today also, many other countries have adopted the study of English, providing an opportunity for students to develop critical, analytical skills.

Challenge in English studies

Even as the world takes more focus on learning and teaching English. It is one of the most popular languages to learn. However, there are many challenges that English learners face. The first and biggest hurdle is grammar. You may have already discovered that English Grammar is quite complex. This makes it hard to remember and apply logical use. Speakers, even native ones, often find themselves making grammatical errors in conversations. Hence, it requires a high level of practice, just like driving, to know the right communication approach in English. Then there is vocabulary. English has a wide range of verb variations, which is made even harder with understanding tense as used in different situations.

Another issue with English is based on slang and colloquialism. Due to its extensive vocabulary, they are more than enough to teach English students. Hence, students are rarely exposed to slang words used daily by English speakers. Sentences can be filled with strange words, hard to understand by easy English learning. Apart from the issues above, the learner is faced with difficult pronunciation coming from variations in English. However, despite these changes, English continues to be an exciting subjectStudy of English, one that many people are interested in.

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May 14, 2020

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