Summer reading — Level 2

This is the first in a series of posts giving suggestions for reading that you could be getting on with over the summer.   Students going in to level 2 will be well advised to dip into some of these texts in preparation for the new academic year (I know — we’ve only just finished this one, but you can’t start too early!!).

Language Acquisition

TB1 a reading list consisting of a number of chapters from different textbooks, but recommended reading is:


  •  Ambridge & Lieven
  • Selected chapters from Handbook of cognitive linguistics and second language acquisition (2008) (Eds. Robinson, P. & Ellis, N. C.)

Language and the Mind

TB1: a mixture of different books. Recommended reading includes:

  • Harley, T.A. (2010) Talking the Talk, chapters 5-8: LINK
  • Paul Warren’s (2012) Introducing Psycholinguistics, chapters 1-9: LINK

TB2: a mixture of texts, including as recommended reading:

Boroditsky, L. Schmidt, L. & Phillips, W. (2003) Sex, syntax, and semantics. In Gentner & Golding-Meadow (Eds.) Language in Mind: Advance in the study of Language and Cognition.

Language, research and the workplace

TB1: reading is set weekly on a variety of journal articles.  Students may wish to consult: Holmes, Janet & Maria Stubbe. 2015. Power and politeness in the workplace. Abingdon: Routledge.

TB2: most of the reading on this half of the module will be led by the research project that you undertake.  However, a useful book on research methods is:

Podesva, Robert & Devyani Sharma (2013) Research methods in linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Analysing culture: language and the visual

TB1: to be confirmed.

TB2: Jackson, H., and E. Ze Amvela (2000) Words, meaning and vocabulary. Bloomsbury.

Country names on Word of Mouth

Our very own Professor in Linguistics/Onomastics, Richard Coates, was on BBC Radio 4’s Word of Mouth programme talking about country names.  If you missed it, you can catch up here.  Richard discusses how countries get their names, who names them and why they can vary from language to language.  He also brings his place names expertise to bear on the thorny issue of what to call the United Kingdom if Scotland were to ever become independent!  Well worth a listen.

I’m sorry you feel that way

by James Murphy

I had a brief chat with Ed, Troy and Paulina on Heart Radio through the week about apologies.  We talked about the idea that saying ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ is not really an apology and how, if you are apologising, you need to take on responsibility for the bad thing you’ve done.  It was a nice warm up for the sorts of things Kate Beeching and I will be exploring in our colloquium ‘Just how sorry are you, mate?’ at the iMean 5 conference next week.

What do you think is important to do when apologising?  What features make a bad apology?

Now that’s what I call great use of linguistics …

by Richard Coates

It’s a moment to remember with gratitude the Chinese scholar Zhōu Yǒuguāng, who died on 14 January at the astonishing age of 111 years and 1 day – perhaps the oldest person ever who is famous for something in addition to being improbably old. He was originally a banker and agricultural policy economist, but had an interest in linguistics from his student days. He is the scholar behind the Hànyǔ Pīnyīn system, which is now universally used for writing Mandarin in roman characters (as exemplified in the names above). It took him three years, at the head of a small team. The original intention was to create a pronunciation guide for traditional Chinese characters, with a view to raising literacy standards in China, which was praiseworthy enough, but the project took off into something of far greater and more permanent significance. The Chinese government adopted Hànyǔ Pīnyīn (usually called just Pīnyīn (Pinyin) by foreigners) as its preferred romanization system in 1958, eight years before the contemptible and disastrous social experiment of the Cultural Revolution (1966-75), during which this distinguished man was marked out for “re-education” and spent two years in a labour camp. Since then, after his rehabilitation (i.e. return to normality) Pīnyīn was adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1982, and by the United Nations in 1986. Not content with this major success, in the 1980s, he was part of a team which translated Encyclopedia Britannica into Chinese (for newcomers to the world, that’s an early form of Wikipedia without the wiki element). Zhōu, a Marxist from his early adulthood, had worked abroad until the Communist revolution of 1949, at which point he returned to China. He continued to be a measured critic of Chinese government policy in his retirement, and a number of his books are currently banned in China.

Did you know, by the way, that another famous Chinese linguist, Zhào Yuánrèn (known in the West as Yuen Ren Chao), coined the word stir-fry in a book devoted to publishing his wife Yáng Bùwěi’s recipes? No? Well, you do now.

End of term party on Wednesday!

by Kate Beeching

Dear English/ Language and Linguistics students and staff,

A quick reminder that you are cordially invited to an END-OF-TERM party on Wednesday 7 December, 1pm., in 2S606.

Come and celebrate the end of term and view the 10 best video-clips collected as part of  the Bristol Soundscapes competition.

Prizes for the 3 best clips will be presented:

FIRST PRIZE: 2 tickets to the panto

SECOND PRIZE: 2 breakfasts at Carluccio’s

THIRD PRIZE: A Christmas Hamper (includes chocolate!)

Light refreshments will be provided – do feel free to bring something to share.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

All best wishes,

Kate Beeching.

Family Names Dictionary published

Huge congratulations to the Family Names team on the publication of The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, released today with Oxford University Press.

The work, explaining the origins of nearly 50,000 family names, is the result of many years of painstaking academic labour.

The work has received positive write-ups across the media, including the BBCThe GuardianDaily MailIndependentDaily MirrorEvening Standard, as well as too many local publications to mention. Prof. Richard Coates was also interviewed on the Today programme about the work (skip to 2.38.30).

The four volume (3,136 paged!) dictionary gives details on the origins, history and geographical distribution of family names in Britain and Ireland.  It uses previously untapped archives (some dating back to the 11th Century) to give the most comprehensive understanding of these names to date.

The team involved a certainly deserving of the praise coming their way.  More details on the project and the team can be found on the UWE website.

Bristol Soundscapes competition

Kate Beeching is launching the Bristol Soundscapes project, in which we aim to capture and celebrate the linguistic diversity of Bristol.  We are looking for you to collect short recordings of people using language in our city, with a view to producing an interactive map demonstrating the wide variety of languages and dialects used in the local area.

Kate will be hosting a training session next Monday

Bristol Soundscapes Training session, 11- 12 am on 31 October in Room 2S704:

Suitably seasonal spooky refreshments provided).  Here you can get more information about the project, and how we would like you to get involved.


  • GREAT PRIZES and a GALA PRESENTATION/END-OF-TERM party! Wednesday 7 December, 1pm in 2S606. The 10 best videos will be displayed. Light refreshments provided/bring something to share.
  • GREAT FUN: Meet new people, find out about the accents, languages and dialects actually spoken in the city
  • A WORTHY CAUSE: Interactive map display for Bristol; S-block exhibit

Camp America: a review

by Georgette Humbert (current final-year student)

I had seen people do Camp America in the past and was always in awe of the endless photos on Facebook and Instagram, but it never seemed as though it would be something I could feasibly do. As part of a year two module, we had to go to the employment fair which is where I discovered a company called Camp Leaders. If anyone told me they were considering the whole camp counsellor experience, I would always recommend Camp Leaders. They make the whole process considerably less stressful as they do pretty much everything for you. They can organise your flights and also offer you the option to pay in instalments (which is great for our Uni student budget).


Georgette at Waukeela Camp


If I were to make any kind of disclaimer, my experience taught me that Camp America is NOT a holiday. Being a camp counsellor means working extremely hard on very little sleep. However, having young girls look at me not only as their counsellor but their mentor and someone they can feel safe around was extremely rewarding for me.

I was working as a swimming instructor at a camp called Waukeela Camp for Girls in New Hampshire. This particular camp was small in comparison to others and was extremely traditional as it was founded in 1922. The camp was beneath pine trees, with old wooden cabins and singing from 8am until 9pm which would resonate throughout the forest- parent trap eat your heart out. My day would start at 7am, you slept in the same cabin as your campers so it was your responsibility to make sure they showered and were at breakfast for 8am. Breakfast consisted of incredibly loud singing and mostly sugary fruit loops, even cake some mornings- the camp diet is not for health enthusiasts. This would be followed by flag raising where you would pledge your allegiance to the United States of America and to the earth. As a swimming instructor I would be working on the lake pretty much all day every day after having completed a Lifeguarding course and water safety instruction qualification (both of which are valid for two years after). Having a beautiful lake as my office, in the sun every day is definitely something I didn’t complain about.


A lake makes a good office

My camp being an all girls’ camp which was founded in the 1920’s, meant very strong traditions, some even cult-ish in nature. There is no talk of negative self-body image, no talking about your personal life, no mobile phones and definitely no drinking. Albeit these rules sound rather extreme, there are incredible aspects of camp life, like hiking to the top of Mount Washington, white water rafting the Saco River and, of course, the travelling after.

The friends you make at camp mean being spoilt for choice by who’s house you stay at after. I stayed in the typical New England suburbs in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. After this I flew to California, visiting San Francisco, Yosemite national Park, Santa Cruz and other incredible places. I then ended my trip by flying back to New York for four days.


Georgette (fourth from left) and pals

If you don’t know what to do with yourself in the huge four month summer we get, then being a camp counsellor is definitely something you should consider. If you want the less traditional camp experience I would advise going to a bigger, mixed sex camp. Or, if you like the idea of an all girls’ camp and really making strong friendships with not only all the staff, but the campers, then maybe a place like Waukeela is for you. Either way, its turns out to be a summer you’ll be talking about for years after or maybe even going back to.

Level 1 Timetable

You should by now be able to see your personalised timetable on myUWE, but in case you can’t or you want to double check that everything is on there, here is the current timetable:

(EL= modules taken by students studying English and English Language and English Language and Linguistics; L= modules taken by students studying English Language and Linguistics only)


Monday 9-11 English: Past, Present & Future lecture (EL)

Monday 12-2 Meaning, Style & Discourse lecture (EL)

Monday 2-3; 3-4; 4-5 Meaning, Style & Discourse seminars (EL)

Monday 2-3; 3-4; 4-5 English: Past, Present & future seminars (EL)

Tuesday 2-4 Sociolinguistics & Fieldwork lecture (L)

Wednesday 9-11 Applying Linguistics: Forensic Analysis lecture (L)

Wednesday 11-12; 12-1 Applying Linguistics: Forensic Analysis seminars (L)

Wednesday 11-12; 12-1 Sociolinguistics & Fieldwork seminars (L)

Please attend the seminar group listed on your timetable.  If you are missing anything from your timetable, please consult with one of the Student Advisors who will be able to resolve the issue for you.  You can do this by visiting one of the Information Points dotted around campus, or telephoning 0117 32 85678 to book an appointment.