Booking form now available here:

We are very happy to announce a new A Level (Year 12) English Language Taster Day, which will take place at our City Campus on 29 June 2022. The event is free and has limited spaces (we hope to accommodate all of you but bookings will have to be first come first served).

We’ll share more information and booking details soon. In the meantime, please contact Billy Clark for more information and to register interest:

The day provides an opportunity for Year 12 English language students to explore further key topics which are focused on in A Level work and which might be the focus of investigative project work. There is a session on varieties of English around the world, one on language and thought, and one on social and regional variation. These sessions present key ideas from previous studies and consider ways of finding out more.

There will be a session on careers for linguists, which will include information on projects our students have worked on during and after their studies with us at Northumbria.

At the end of the day, a panel of experts will respond to questions from students.

There will also be a chance to meet current students during the day.

Here is the schedule for the day:

 09.45 – 10.00: Arrivals

10.00 – 10.15: Welcome

10.15  –  11.15: An Introduction to World Englishes, Professor Graham Hall

11.15 – 11.30: Break 

11.30 – 12.30: Language and the Mind: I think therefore I speak Dr. Sarah Duffy

12.30 – 13.00: Careers for Linguists Dr. Sarah Duffy and Professor Billy Clark

13.00 – 14.00: Lunch break and campus tours

(Lunch is not provided but campus shops and cafés will be open and there is space for eating packed lunches)

 14.00 –  15.00: Social and Regional Variation in English, Dr. Robert McKenzie

 15.00 – 15.30: Ask Our Linguists (a panel of linguists will answer your questions)

 15.30 – 15.45: Evaluation and Close

If you have questions regarding the event please contact Professor Billy Clark at 

Here’s some more information on each of the sessions:

An Introduction to World Englishes Professor Graham Hall

This interactive session will provide an introduction and overview of key issues and discussion points surrounding ‘World Englishes’. It will examine questions such as: what are the key characteristics of English in the world today? How has English changed as it as ‘spread’ around the world? Why are so many people learning and speaking English, and what varieties of English are they (really) using? How has the spread of English been modelled by researchers in the field, and how far can such models really capture variation in English(es) around the world?

Language and the Mind: I Think Therefore I Speak Dr. Sarah Duffy

  • How do we understand abstract concepts like joy or sadness if we can’t see or touch them?   
  • Is positive always associated with the right (“my right-hand man”) and negative with the left (“two left feet”)?   
  • If love is a journey, then why is it also blind?   

In this session, we’ll be examining research from a range of disciplines, including linguistics, psychology, and anthropology to answer questions like these. We will explore language as a social construct, and meaning as a product of the human body and mind. As a result, we will develop a fuller understanding of how we use our embodied experiences to think about the words we speak. 

Careers for Linguists Dr. Sarah Duffy and Professor Billy Clark

This session will discuss possible career paths for linguists, point to some resources on this (some prepared by our students at Northumbria), and tell you about some of the things our students have worked on during and after their time studying with us.

Social and Regional Variation in English Dr. Robert McKenzie

Variation and change are inherent aspects of all languages. One reason (socio)linguists are interested in this variation is that the (frequency of) language features a speaker uses provide valuable information about their age, social class, gender, ethnicity and/or region of origin. By focusing on particular linguistic features, this talk will examine the different ways English is currently spoken within and outwith England – across different regions and cities,  within formal and informal contexts and by different social groups – and will highlight specific linguistic changes in progress.

The materials included in this session are taken from the British Academy Funded Speaking of Prejudice project:

Learning resources developed for the Speaking of Prejudice project and aimed at AS and A-level English language students and teachers are freely available for download: 

Resources for students:

Resources for teachers:

Ask Our Linguists

A panel of linguists will be there to answer your questions!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s