English is the leading international language. In different countries around the globe, English is acquired as the mother tongue. In others, it is used as a second language. Some nations use English as their official language performing the function of administration. In others, it is used as an international language for business, commerce and industry. What factors and forces have led to the spread of English? Why is English now considered to be so prestigious that across the globe individuals and societies feel disadvantaged if they do not have confidence in this language? How has English changed through 1500 years? These are some of the questions that you investigate when you study English. You also examine the immense variability of English and come to understand how it’s used as a symbol of individual identity and social connection. You develop in-depth knowledge of the intricate structure of the language. Why do some non-native speakers of English claim that it’s a difficult language to learn while infants born into English speaking communities acquire their language before they learn to use forks and knives? At the University of Sussex, you are introduced to the nature and grammar of English in all its aspects. This involves the study of sound structures, the formation of words, the sequencing of words and the construction of meaning as well as the examination of the theories explaining these aspects of English usage. You are encouraged to develop your own individual responses to various practical and theoretical issues, which are raised by studying how the speakers and writers employ English for a wide variety of purposes.