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Event complete (new dates coming soon)


At our Portsmouth campus – Milldam Building, Burnaby Rd, PO1 3AS

  • Explore the differences between English Language and Literature, including combining courses with other interests you have, such as History, Creative Writing and Media Studies
  • Personalise your afternoon by choosing your sessions – from Margaret Atwood's dystopian Handmaid's Tale, to the language of consent and Hardy's Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  • Chat to current students about their experiences of English courses at Portsmouth, including the fun side of uni

Our English Language & Literature Taster Afternoon will allow you to experience studying your favourite subjects here at the University of Portsmouth.

This year's Taster took place in May 2023. New dates and bookings will open soon.

See what happened at the Taster

In the meantime, explore our island city at one of our Open Days, discover student life at Portsmouth, and take look at different English courses.

Student life

Explore our island city and its many attractions, and find out what student life is really like at the University.

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English language courses

If you're an international student and English isn't your first language, find out how to apply for a Pre-Sessional English Language course with us. 

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Here's what happened at the 2023 English Language & Literature Taster

Check-in from 12.45pm in Park Building, King Henry I St, Portsmouth, PO1 2BZ.

Get an overview of what's coming up at your Taster Afternoon.

*Pick to attend 1 of the following sessions when you book your place.

Gothic (English Literature)

This session looks at the emergence of the Gothic form in the late 18th century and its development in the 19th century, from Romanticism-inspired novels such as Frankenstein (1818) to Victorian Gothic novels such as The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Dracula. It considers the ideas of degeneration and decay and their importance to the Gothic, and how the genre is defined by its relationship to an imagined past.

How Do We Recognise Literature When We See It? (English Language & Linguistics)

In this workshop, you'll learn what is “special” about the language of literature and how this language exists in all kinds of texts. You'll examine and discuss the use of linguistic features such as deviation, parallelism, and metaphor in a variety of texts.

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (English Literature)

Explore the many methods that Atwood uses to make The Handmaid's Tale an unreliable narrative. By looking at a selection of quotes from the novel, we'll consider the significance of the unreliability and its influence on our reading of the novel as an example of 'Speculative Fiction'.

The Language of Consent (English Language & Linguistics)

Look at various types of media representations of sexual violence, with a focus on techniques for analysing language in the context of gender inequality. The topic will be explored with sensitivity. 

Quick breather. Take stock of the afternoon then get ready for the next session, with a chance to chat with students and lecturers at the University of Portsmouth.

*Pick to attend 1 of the following sessions when you book your place.

Clinical Linguistics: Investigating Language Disorders (English Language & Linguistics)

Clinical Linguistics is a subfield of linguistics that focuses on the study of language disorders, including speech disorders. It involves the use of linguistic analysis to understand and address language-related problems in individuals with communication difficulties, such as those caused by developmental disorders, brain injuries, or degenerative diseases. This session will look at some samples of clinical language data and analyse the linguistic deficits evident in the patients.

Forensic Linguistics: Texting & Authorship (English Language & Linguistics)

Authorship enquiry is a type of Forensic Linguistics that looks at the range of linguistic variation (i.e. the different vocabulary and grammatical patterns) in the writing style between 2 or more people – in other words, the variation between a writer and other members of the same speech community. In this session, we'll look at the application of this to text messaging and demonstrate how a stylistic analysis of texts can be used to solve crimes.

Shakespearean Tragedy – Othello (English Literature)

Discover the literary debates concerning the Shakespearean tragedy, with a specific focus on Othello. We'll consider the meaning and significance of tragedy in Othello and the play's complex construction of excessive love, death and otherness. 

Thomas Hardy – Tess of the D’Urbervilles (English Literature)

This session looks at Tess of the D’Urbervilles in light of Victorian debates around the ‘Woman Question’ and the ‘New Woman’, and explores ways in which Tess both conforms to and challenges nineteenth-century constructions of femininity. 

To conclude our afternoon together, we invite you to ask questions of our lecturers and current students!

This could be about different English degrees, the transition from college to uni, any of the talks you've watched so far, moving away from home – and/or whatever you want to know about uni.