Worlds of English

The Open University

Course Information

This Worlds of English programme at The Open University looks at the history of the English language and its position in the world today. You will see how English has evolved in the British Isles and how it has changed as it has spread around the world.

A major aim of the module is to enable you to observe and account for how language varies between individuals and also in different institutional, cultural and national settings. You will examine examples of speech and writing from a variety of global contexts and genres, including literature, poetry, song, film, political speeches and advertising. The choice of English in multilingual contexts from education and business, to films and popular music will exemplify the significance and power of the language in social, cultural, and economic life.

You will watch and listen to specially recorded material from countries where English is the majority language such as the UK, and in countries where it exists alongside one or more other languages, such as Canada, India and South Africa. The significance of English in global contexts and its power to simultaneously open up social and economic opportunities for some, and close them down for others, are critically examined.

You will be using a combination of three books, three study guides, and online audio-visual material gathered on location in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. These materials illustrate the diversity of English language practices across the globe and are designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of key terms and concepts in English language studies. A specially written language description book will introduce you to the basics of language analysis, which can then be practised using interactive online materials.

You will learn

By studying this module, you’ll gain:

– an understanding of the history and development of English, and a critical approach to its current global status
– an understanding of the pivotal role of language in, for example, social organisation and relations, and the transmission of social and cultural values
– a critical appreciation of contemporary uses of English in a range of social contexts
– conceptual frameworks for the study of linguistic phenomena in a range of social contexts
– opportunities to analyse spoken and written English
– a perspective on your own English language experiences, including developing aspects of your own communication skills.

Scholarship Option

This course is eligible for the UK Study Online Scholarship draw

Register today for the 2022 scholarship.

One of the only UK scholarships 100% dedicated to online study. £1,000 support for tuition fees for UK & International Students

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