Why study Linguistics?
Language is one of the keys to human social and intellectual behaviour: it is the tool necessary to construct our society and our identity within that society; it helps us understand others as well as ourselves; it is used to pass on knowledge and cultural values from one generation to the next. So, the proper question to ask is rather: why not study language?
Why study English linguistics at Lille?
One of the central concerns of the two-year MA programme in English Linguistics is right at the heart of what language is all about: meaning, and how it is brought about. The programme is not committed to one particular theoretical framework; the emphasis is on solid empirical description (e.g., via corpus analyses) and a usage-based approach combined with a profound insight into how we interpret language. Students acquire a solid foundation for linguistic analysis built on extensive and careful data analysis; they become fully versed in theories of meaning. At the end of the Master’s programme, students are equipped with sound methodological skills, a capacity for problem solving, and they have learnt how to develop an argument and how to present it in a written or an oral form. The Master in English Linguistics in Lille 3 is one of the few programmes in France which offer courses in Cognitive Linguistics and/or Construction Grammar.
Three basically methodological seminars are taught in Year 1. One is concentrated on empirical methods in linguistic analysis (with a main focus on corpus linguistics). The second one deals with meaning in context (the semantics/pragmatics interface). The third is more focused on practical research skills, that is, search strategies, how to write a dissertation, and IT skills.
In two additional seminars, specific topics are explored. One deals with tense and aspect, in which students learn to critically assess the primary literature so that they can develop a framework that is descriptively and explanatorily adequate. The second seminar deals with usage-based approaches to language and language acquisition (L1 & L2).
There are two seminars shared by M1 and M2. One of these is taught by a visiting professor, a well-established international scholar who teaches a seminar in their relevant domain of expertise in line with the overall aims of the Master’s programme. In this way, the students get to explore a field of study under the guidance of a foreign expert, who brings not only their relevant expertise to the programme, but also possibly slightly alternative teaching techniques and assessment methods. This enables students to develop a flexible mindset and to experience the international context of linguistic research. For 2014-2015, the visiting professor has not yet been decided, but to give you an idea, here is an overview of past invitations:
- 2013-2014: Martin Hilpert (Univ. Neuchâtel, Sitserland) "Construction Grammar".
- 2012-2013: Olga Fischer (University of Amsterdam) "The status of grammaticalization in language change".
- 2011-2012: Stef Slembrouck (University of Gent) "The analysis of spoken interaction in professional and institutional settings".
- 2010-2011 Bas Aarts (University College London) "Categorization and gradience in English".
The content of the second joint seminar (taught in the second semester) changes every other year. In even years (2012, 2014, etc.), the students are required to follow a seminar on linguistic theory in the twentieth and twenty-first century: it is meant to provide an overview of some of the principal theoretical frameworks, with their respective merits and deficits. In uneven years (2011, 2013, etc.), the students follow a seminar in which a range of topics relevant to language change and variety are discussed. A more multilingual perspective is taken here, and the domains covered may include language acquisition, language teaching, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, etc. These seminars are taught by a team of researchers, each presenting their field of expertise or one particular theoretical framework.
Note: Students who are interested in language acquisition and pedagogy can choose the option “didactique” (M1 only) which implies that the seminar given by the visiting professor is replaced by one on language acquisition and didactics (see programme schedule below).
In year 2,the seminar Language and Space explores some of the ways in which language talks about space, drawing on different types of studies, ranging from corpus studies to psycholinguistic studies. This seminar adopts a cognitive-functional perspective. One of the more general theoretical questions addressed is the relationship between language and cognition. In the seminar Mood and modality in English, the English modals are taken as a starting-point to study categorization and gradience, lexical semantics (polysemy and monosemy) and grammaticalization.
In other words, through the different seminars in M1 and M2 students acquire not only a sound methodological basis but also factual knowledge about the history of linguistics and different theoretical models, most of which have a strong empirical commitment. In all the seminars, care is taken to do different kinds of (progressive) exercises and/or to present case studies involving data analysis; the courses include a critical evaluation of various theoretical approaches and analyses put forward in the literature.
Dissertation & lab seminars
Students are required to write an MA dissertation in both year 1 and in year 2; the latter weighs quite heavily in the overall evaluation. A list of topics is made available, but the students can also propose a topic of their own, which they discuss with the course instructors. In addition to the seminars and independent study, the students are also invited to attend the monthly ‘séminaire de linguistique’ held by the research lab STL (Savoirs, Textes, Langage, UMR 8163). This is a unique opportunity for students to attend presentations by international guests or STL members, widening their perspective on linguistic research.
There is a lively research scene in linguistics at Lille 3 with specialist in a wide range of topics and approaches. Below is a list of the linguists who work in the English Department. Information about the relevant fields of expertise are available on the their web pages (click on the names in the list below or go via the STL/CECILLE website).
Caroline Bouzon: phonetics
Bert Cappelle: particles, corpus linguistics, construction grammar
Rodica Calciu (EA Cecille): morphophonology, phonosyntax
Ilse Depraetere: semantics, pragmatics, tense-aspect-modality
Laurence Delrue: Intonation in Discourse, Second Language Learning
Maarten Lemmens: lexical semantics, cognitive linguistics, corpus linguistics,
Kathleen O’Connor: syntax, language acquisition, foreign language pedagogy
Christopher Piñón: aspect, adverbial modification, degrees and vagueness
Annick Rivens: language learning, applied linguistics
Semester 1 (M1)
(1) Methodology seminar
Ilse Depraetere & Maarten Lemmens, 3ECTS
(2) Title to be determined
Visiting professor, 9ECTS
(3) Empirical approaches to language and language teaching
Maarten Lemmens, 9ECTS
(4) Aspect and tense in English
Ilse Depraetere & Christopher Piñón, 9ECTS
Semester 2 (M1)
(1) Language variation and language change
team to be determined, 3 ECTS
(2) Meaning in context: the semantics / pragmatics interface
Ilse Depraetere, 9 ECTS
(3) Usage-based approach to language and language acquisition
Maarten Lemmens, 9 ECTS
(4) M1 Dissertation
Semester 3 (M2)
(1) Language and space
Maarten Lemmens, 9ECTS
(2) Title to be determined
Visiting professor, 9ECTS
(3) Language variation and language change
Team to be determined, 3ECTS
(4) M2 Dissertation (part 1)
Semester 4 (M2)
(5) Mood and modality
Ilse Depraetere, 6ECTS
(6) M2 Dissertation
Detailed information on how to register can be found on the university’s website (choose “Etudes”, then “S’inscrire”; under “Informations Pratiques”, choose the first option “Calendrier des procédures d'inscription”) or follow this link.
- If you have obtained a Bachelor’s degree in English at a French University, you can register for M1 (between 5 July and 30 September).
- If you have obtained a Bachelor’s degree (other than in English) in France, you need to submit an application ‘Validations des Acquis’ (VAP 85) by between July 5 and Sept. 20. You can download the application form here
- If you have obtained a Master 1 degree in English linguistics at a French University, you will need to submit a ‘dossier de candidature’, for entrance in M2; this application file includes a dissertation proposal (for which you need to find a supervisor). There are two rounds: submission deadline for the first one is early July; the deadline for the second is early September. The applications should be sent to the secretariat for Master in English Linguistics (resp. Anne Ullmo). Once the application has been approved, students can register (on-line).
- The application form is available here
The VAP85 application form is available here (submission deadline June 3, 2014)
The M2 application form is available here
- STL (Savoirs, Textes, & Langage)
- Master Langues et sociétés, parcours LLE
- Foreign students (Bureau d’accueil des étudiants internationaux):
- tel.: + 33 3 20 41 66 59