What is involved in studying the English language?
The four language modules offered by the English Department at the Freie Universität Berlin for the English Studies Master guide and support students on the practical rather than the theoretical level. In this part of their studies, students will learn to use English as a powerful tool of communication and develop essential skills such as how to analyse English language texts, compose their own original writing, translate prose and poetry into and out of English, and deliver persuasive public speeches.
Our aim, unlike that of the Party in George Orwell's 1984, is the construction of language. Without language skills, we might end up in the dystopia of Newspeak:
"It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives ... It isn't only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of another word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take 'good', for instance. If you have a word like 'good', what need is there for a word like 'bad'? 'Ungood' will do just as well. … Or again, if you want a stronger version of 'good', what sense is there in having a whole string of vague and useless words like 'excellent' and 'splendid' and all the rest of them? 'Plusgood' covers the meaning; or 'doubleplusgood' if you want something stronger still." (George Orwell, 1984, chapter 5)