Why are we all so fascinated by language

Have you ever wondered why some people learn a language more easily than others? Why Donald Trump sounds different to other politicians? Whether we’ll all be speaking English, Chinese or Martian in the future?

A brand new free online course provided by the University will be shedding light on such questions, and demonstrating the impact that linguistics has on practically every aspect of our personal and professional lives.

Delivered in partnership with social learning platform FutureLearnIntroduction to Applied Linguistics and TESOL’ is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) which is available to join from 21 May 2018, and is now open for enrolment.

Taking place over a six week period, the course can be taken at the learner’s own pace and will explore the role and use of language in real life settings, particularly in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) environments.

The course will begin by introducing students to the field of Applied Linguistics and its importance in understanding communication and language use in real-life settings, including business, healthcare and education. Students will look at the field’s impact on a range of contemporary issues such as reducing gender bias in language use, raising awareness of accent discrimination, and ensuring intelligibility in areas of international communication such as air traffic control.

As the course progresses, those enrolled will also come into contact with a series of case studies. These case studies will illustrate the ways in which applied linguistics work to solve language and TESOL related problems. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the knowledge they have gained to a professional context.

The course is open to anyone with an interest in the field of applied linguistics and language teaching and there are no academic requirements for enrolment. It is scheduled to begin on 21 May 2018.

Dr Pamela Rogerson-Revell, Associate professor in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at the University of Leicester, said: “Language is central to our lives- it’s how we communicate our thoughts, feelings and intentions. It’s how we relate to each other, and the world around us. As a result, everyone is interested in language and how we use it. If we can’t communicate successfully, we can’t get what we want; whether it’s a baby crying to be fed or international leaders conducting sophisticated business or political negotiations.

“This course will examine some of the key areas of applied linguistics and how these can be applied to everyday life, from the banal to the momentous. And if you’re interested in learning more about how to observe, analyse and assess language, then we think you’ll find this MOOC stimulating and enjoyable.”