English studies

English studies

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English studies is an academic discipline that includes the study of literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

s written in the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 (including literatures from the U.K.
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, the Philippines
Philippine literature in English
Philippine literature in English has its roots in the efforts of the United States, then engaged in a war with Filipino nationalist forces at the end of the 19th century. By 1901, public education was institutionalized in the Philippines, with English serving as the medium of instruction. That...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, among other areas), English linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 (including English phonetics
Phonetics
Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds or signs : their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory...

, phonology
Phonology
Phonology is, broadly speaking, the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language. That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use...

, syntax
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

, morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

, semantics
Semantics
Semantics is the study of meaning. It focuses on the relation between signifiers, such as words, phrases, signs and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotata....

, pragmatics
Pragmatics
Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics which studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Pragmatics encompasses speech act theory, conversational implicature, talk in interaction and other approaches to language behavior in philosophy, sociology, and linguistics. It studies how the...

, corpus linguistics
Corpus linguistics
Corpus linguistics is the study of language as expressed in samples or "real world" text. This method represents a digestive approach to deriving a set of abstract rules by which a natural language is governed or else relates to another language. Originally done by hand, corpora are now largely...

, and stylistics
Stylistics (linguistics)
Stylistics is the study and interpretation of texts from a linguistic perspective. As a discipline it links literary criticism and linguistics, but has no autonomous domain of its own...

), and English sociolinguistics
Sociolinguistics
Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and the effects of language use on society...

 (including discourse analysis
Discourse analysis
Discourse analysis , or discourse studies, is a general term for a number of approaches to analyzing written, spoken, signed language use or any significant semiotic event....

 of written and spoken texts in the English language, the history of the English language
History of the English language
English is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain by Germanic invaders from various parts of what is now northwest Germany and the Netherlands. Initially, Old English was a diverse group of dialects, reflecting the varied origins of the...

, English language learning and teaching
English language learning and teaching
English as a second language , English for speakers of other languages and English as a foreign language all refer to the use or study of English by speakers with different native languages. The precise usage, including the different use of the terms ESL and ESOL in different countries, is...

, and the study of World Englishes).

More broadly, English studies explores the production and analysis of texts created in English (or in areas of the world in which English is a common mode of communication). It is not uncommon for academic departments of "English" or "English Studies" to include scholars of the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, literature
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

 (including literary criticism
Literary criticism
Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals...

 and literary theory
Literary theory
Literary theory in a strict sense is the systematic study of the nature of literature and of the methods for analyzing literature. However, literary scholarship since the 19th century often includes—in addition to, or even instead of literary theory in the strict sense—considerations of...

), linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

, law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, journalism
Journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

, composition studies
Composition studies
Composition Studies is the professional field of writing research and instruction, focusing especially on writing at the college level in the United States...

, the philosophy of language
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of language is the reasoned inquiry into the nature, origins, and usage of language. As a topic, the philosophy of language for analytic philosophers is concerned with four central problems: the nature of meaning, language use, language cognition, and the relationship between language...

, literacy
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

, publishing
Publishing
Publishing is the process of production and dissemination of literature or information—the activity of making information available to the general public...

/history of the book
History of the book
The history of books follows a suite of technological innovations for books. These improved the quality of text conservation, the access to information, portability, and the cost of production...

, communication studies
Communication studies
Communication Studies is an academic field that deals with processes of communication, commonly defined as the sharing of symbols over distances in space and time. Hence, communication studies encompasses a wide range of topics and contexts ranging from face-to-face conversation to speeches to mass...

, technical communication
Technical communication
Technical communication is a method of researching and creating information about technical processes or products directed to an audience through media. The information must be relevant to the intended audience. Technical communicators often work collaboratively to create products for various...

, folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

, cultural studies
Cultural studies
Cultural studies is an academic field grounded in critical theory and literary criticism. It generally concerns the political nature of contemporary culture, as well as its historical foundations, conflicts, and defining traits. It is, to this extent, largely distinguished from cultural...

, creative writing
Creative writing
Creative writing is considered to be any writing, fiction, poetry, or non-fiction, that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, and technical forms of literature. Works which fall into this category include novels, epics, short stories, and poems...

, critical theory
Critical theory
Critical theory is an examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism...

, disability studies
Disability studies
Disability studies is a relatively new interdisciplinary academic field focusing on the roles of people with disabilities in history, literature, social policy, law, architecture, and other disciplines. Although it has many antecedents, disability studies began to flourish toward the end of the...

, area studies
Area studies
Area studies are interdisciplinary fields of research and scholarship pertaining to particular geographical, national/federal, or cultural regions. The term exists primarily as a general description for what are, in the practice of scholarship, many heterogeneous fields of research, encompassing...

 (especially American studies
American studies
American studies or American civilization is an interdisciplinary field dealing with the study of the United States. It traditionally incorporates the study of history, literature, and critical theory, but also includes fields as diverse as law, art, the media, film, religious studies, urban...

), theatre
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

, gender studies
Gender studies
Gender studies is a field of interdisciplinary study which analyses race, ethnicity, sexuality and location.Gender study has many different forms. One view exposed by the philosopher Simone de Beauvoir said: "One is not born a woman, one becomes one"...

/ethnic studies
Ethnic studies
Ethnic studies is the interdisciplinary study of racialized peoples in the world in relation to ethnicity. It evolved in the second half of the 20th century partly in response to charges that traditional disciplines such as anthropology, history, English, ethnology, Asian studies, and orientalism...

, digital media
Digital media
Digital media is a form of electronic media where data is stored in digital form. It can refer to the technical aspect of storage and transmission Digital media is a form of electronic media where data is stored in digital (as opposed to analog) form. It can refer to the technical aspect of...

/electronic publishing
Electronic publishing
Electronic publishing or ePublishing includes the digital publication of e-books and electronic articles, and the development of digital libraries and catalogues. Electronic publishing has become common in scientific publishing where it has been argued that peer-reviewed scientific journals are in...

, film studies
Film studies
Film studies is an academic discipline that deals with various theoretical, historical, and critical approaches to films. It is sometimes subsumed within media studies and is often compared to television studies...

/media studies
Media studies
Media studies is an academic discipline and field of study that deals with the content, history and effects of various media; in particular, the 'mass media'. Media studies may draw on traditions from both the social sciences and the humanities, but mostly from its core disciplines of mass...

, rhetoric
Rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

 and philology
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

/etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

, and various courses in the liberal arts
Liberal arts
The term liberal arts refers to those subjects which in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free citizen to study. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic were the core liberal arts. In medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy...

 and humanities
Humanities
The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

, among others.

In most English-speaking countries, the literary and cultural dimensions of English studies are typically practiced in university
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 departments
Academic discipline
An academic discipline, or field of study, is a branch of knowledge that is taught and researched at the college or university level. Disciplines are defined , and recognized by the academic journals in which research is published, and the learned societies and academic departments or faculties to...

 of English, while the study of texts produced in non-English languages takes place in other departments, such as departments of foreign language or comparative literature
Comparative literature
Comparative literature is an academic field dealing with the literature of two or more different linguistic, cultural or national groups...

. English linguistics is often studied in separate departments of linguistics. This disciplinary divide between a dominant linguistic or a literary orientation is one motivation for the division of the North American Modern Language Association
Modern Language Association
The Modern Language Association of America is the principal professional association in the United States for scholars of language and literature...

 (MLA) into two subgroups. At universities in non-English-speaking countries, the same department often covers all aspects of English studies including linguistics: this is reflected, for example, in the structure and activities of the European Society for the Study of English
European Society for the Study of English
Founded in 1990 in Rome, the European Society for the Study of English is the largest and most comprehensive organization for university teachers and researchers in English Studies, including literature, linguistics, and cultural studies, throughout Europe. The Society has more than 7,000 members...

 (ESSE).

History of English Studies


The history of English Studies at the modern university in Europe and America begins in the second half of the nineteenth century. Initially, it comprised a motley array of content: the practice of oratory, the study of rhetoric and grammar, the composition of poetry, and the appreciation of literature (mostly by authors from England, since American literature and language study was only added in the twentieth century). In Germany and several other European countries, English Philology
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

, a strongly positivistic and historically interested practice of reading pre-modern texts, became the preferred scholarly paradigm, but English-speaking countries distanced themselves from philological paradigms soon after World War I. At the end of this process, English departments tended to refocus their work on various forms of writing instruction (creative, professional, critical) and the interpreting of literary texts, and teacher education in English recovered from the neglect it had suffered because of more science-oriented paradigms. Today, English departments in native-speaking countries re-evaluate their roles as sole guardians of the discipline because English is less and less native speakers' unique 'property' and has to be shared with the millions of speakers and writers from other countries for whom English is an essential means of communication and artistic expression.

English Studies



See also Literature and linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

, along with List of academic disciplines
  • English linguistics
    Linguistics
    Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

  • English sociolinguistics
    Sociolinguistics
    Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and the effects of language use on society...

  • Discourse analysis
    Discourse analysis
    Discourse analysis , or discourse studies, is a general term for a number of approaches to analyzing written, spoken, signed language use or any significant semiotic event....

     in English
  • English Stylistics (linguistics)
    Stylistics (linguistics)
    Stylistics is the study and interpretation of texts from a linguistic perspective. As a discipline it links literary criticism and linguistics, but has no autonomous domain of its own...

  • World Englishes
    International English
    International English is the concept of the English language as a global means of communication in numerous dialects, and also the movement towards an international standard for the language...

  • History of the English
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

     Language
  • Composition studies
    Composition studies
    Composition Studies is the professional field of writing research and instruction, focusing especially on writing at the college level in the United States...

  • Rhetoric
    Rhetoric
    Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

  • Technical communication
    Technical communication
    Technical communication is a method of researching and creating information about technical processes or products directed to an audience through media. The information must be relevant to the intended audience. Technical communicators often work collaboratively to create products for various...

  • English language learning and teaching
    English language learning and teaching
    English as a second language , English for speakers of other languages and English as a foreign language all refer to the use or study of English by speakers with different native languages. The precise usage, including the different use of the terms ESL and ESOL in different countries, is...

  • English Literature
    English literature
    English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

    • American literature
      American literature
      American literature is the written or literary work produced in the area of the United States and its preceding colonies. For more specific discussions of poetry and theater, see Poetry of the United States and Theater in the United States. During its early history, America was a series of British...

      , including:
      • African American literature
        African American literature
        African-American literature is the body of literature produced in the United States by writers of African descent. The genre traces its origins to the works of such late 18th century writers as Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano, reaching early high points with slave narratives and the Harlem...

      • Jewish American literature
        Jewish American literature
        Jewish American Literature holds an essential place in the literary history of the United States. It encompasses traditions of writing in English, primarily, as well as in other languages, the most important of which has been Yiddish...

      • Southern literature
        Southern literature
        Southern literature is defined as American literature about the Southern United States or by writers from this region...

    • Australian literature
      Australian literature
      Australian literature is the written or literary work produced in the area or by the people of the Commonwealth of Australia and its preceding colonies. During its early western history, Australia was a collection of British colonies, therefore, its literary tradition begins with and is linked to...

    • British literature
      British literature
      British Literature refers to literature associated with the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. By far the largest part of British literature is written in the English language, but there are bodies of written works in Latin, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Cornish, Manx, Jèrriais,...

       (literature from some regions of the United Kingdom may be written in Celtic languages)
    • Canadian literature
      Canadian literature
      Canadian literature is literature originating from Canada. Collectively it is often called CanLit. Some criticism of Canadian literature has focused on nationalistic and regional themes, although this is only a small portion of Canadian Literary criticism...

       (a significant amount of Canadian literature is also written in French
      French language
      French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

      )
    • Irish literature
      Irish literature
      For a comparatively small island, Ireland has made a disproportionately large contribution to world literature. Irish literature encompasses the Irish and English languages.-The beginning of writing in Irish:...

    • New Zealand literature
      New Zealand literature
      New Zealand literature is essentially literature in English that is either written by New Zealanders, or migrants, dealing with New Zealand themes or places and is primarily a 20th Century creation...

    • Scottish literature
      Scottish literature
      Scottish literature is literature written in Scotland or by Scottish writers. It includes literature written in English, Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Brythonic, French, Latin and any other language in which a piece of literature was ever written within the boundaries of modern Scotland.The earliest...

    • Welsh literature
      Literature of Wales (English language)
      Anglo-Welsh literature and Welsh writing in English are terms used to describe works written in the English language by Welsh writers. It has been recognised as a distinctive entity only since the 20th century...


External links