Katarzyna Strzyżowska, MA
Master of Arts – The University of Warsaw (British culture studies, 2004). PhD dissertation in progress on the influences of political writings by Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift (individual scholar at the University of Rzeszów). Currently, she works mainly as a teacher at the English philology department at the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszów. She runs courses of contrastive grammar, practical English and British literature. Her academic research focuses on 18th-century English culture and literature.
For some time now, English philology has been one of the most frequently chosen faculties not only among Polish but also Ukrainian secondary school graduates. Having been fed with the universality of the English language in business, politics, and culture many decide to study English philology. However, like the majority of people, not related anyhow with the field, the future linguists, translators-to-be, and potential business prospects quite wrongly assume that studying English philology is only about learning the language well.
Regular English learner vs. English philology trainee
Generally speaking, it is not a completely wrong assumption, after all, the philology students are provided with extensive grammar courses, their productive and receptive skills are being regularly trained, and gradually, they grow more conscious of proper English sound system. Consequently, they do become fluent English language users. However, to become a proper linguist it takes much more than just being proficient. Embarking on their studies, the students are faced with specialised courses which are to raise their awareness of a language as a system and get to know theoretical aspects and rules governing it which should be applied to the language they study.
Courses in linguistics, descriptive grammar, and phonetics give the philology students an insight and hopefully, tools for better understanding and operating the system. What is more, they also have an opportunity to make use of their native language interference and avoid mistakes which foreign language learners often make, which usually results from the lack of linguistic training.
English studies – not only language awareness
Having been linguistically trained, English philology students are also introduced to broadly understood cultural studies. To be more specific, students cover various classes related to everyday life, institutions, literature, and culture of the English speaking countries. Appreciation and understanding of these issues enable students to add yet another dimension to their English language comprehension.