EL7040 - Sociolinguistics

What will I learn on this module?

This 20-credit module will develop your awareness and understanding of the field of Sociolinguistics, the interface between language and society. You will analyse critically, by means of lecture input and seminar discussion, the main research themes in the field. As such, you will pay particular attention to a range of important specialist theories within Sociolinguistics and evaluate historical, contemporary and emerging empirical research investigating the social meaning of linguistic variation.

You will study a number of key topics: social and regional linguistic variation and change in the UK and beyond; language and identity; language attitudes and ideologies; the social and linguistic factors which drive language variation and change; stylistic variation in language use; multilingualism; discourse and pragmatic variation; and quantitative and qualitative approaches to sociolinguistic study. Throughout the module, you will evaluate the many varied socio-psychological and contextual perspectives regarding the role of language and society which you encounter and establish your own view of and position within contemporary debates within the field, developing your ability to present your own viewpoint, both in speech and in writing.

How will I learn on this module?

The module will be delivered through a combination of interactive lectures and seminars. Sessions will mainly be delivered face to face, with some blended learning where appropriate (where learning and teaching involves the interaction of online and face-to-face activities). Key research themes and concepts will be introduced in lectures, supported by seminars that allow further group working, discussion and debates. All empirical topics and debates within the module will be supported by reference to relevant literature, which you will read outwith class to further develop your knowledge and understanding of the field of Sociolinguistics.

In addition to learning during taught hours with the module tutor, you will be expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning will generally take the form of suggested weekly readings, relevant to that week’s research topic, and preparation for seminars where you will be expected to contribute to group work and full class discussion. Seminars will also contribute to the development of intellectual, transferable and practical skills. Independent learning will generally take the form of further reading and investigation, the consolidation of lecture and seminar notes, and revision/preparation for the assessment of the module.

All learning materials, tasks and readings will be posted on the eLP (e-learning portal) to facilitate full participation in the module. Additionally, you will receive formative feedback, from both students and tutors, by means of a group presentation critically evaluating a key empirical article in Sociolinguistics. The module’s final, summative assessments will also provide an opportunity for learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module aims to expand your critical understanding of different, and often competing theoretical and empirical perspectives within sociolinguistic enquiry. Lectures, seminars and tasks will develop your academic knowledge and skills, to help you attain the module learning outcomes. Your academic development will also be facilitated through engagement with the academic literature and by talking with your peers and the module tutor about your understanding of this literature (i.e., reading around the topic, and discussing and reflecting upon what you have read).
The module handbook provides details of lectures, seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria; lecture materials are made available on the eLP (see above). The module tutor will be available in lectures and seminars, as well as in ‘Feedback and consultation hours’ (i.e., ‘office hours’) and on email, to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel academically on the module. Formative feedback will be provided both throughout seminar/workshop activities. Written feedback will also be provided on a formative individual presentation, delivered towards the end of the semester, synthesising the methodology, results and implications of an important empirical study in the field of Sociolinguistics (chosen by the students), prior to completion of the module’s summative assessments (critical evaluation of ).

In addition, you have a designated Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme. The academic side of the Guidance Tutor’s role includes: monitoring your ongoing academic progress; helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development; directing you to further available services which can help them with their academic skills (e.g., Library’s Skills Plus). You are advised to meet with your Guidance Tutor at least twice each semester to review your academic progress.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. To consolidate and develop students’ understanding of contemporary debates and empirical research in Sociolinguistics

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the theoretical and research issues as they relate to sociolinguistic enquiry, including methods of data collection and analysis
3. Ability to critically apply, interpret and present knowledge both orally and in writing

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

4. Demonstrate intellectual openness to different theoretical approaches, research strategies and methods of analysis

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment
1. You will present your ideas during seminars and will receive formative feedback from the module tutor and peers on any perspectives you share. Such formative will enable you to assess and form your own understanding of key issues and debates in sociolinguistics.

2. Group presentation
You will deliver a small group presentation in a specified seminar towards the end of the module sessions, providing a critical overview of a seminal article in the field of Sociolinguistics related to the summative assessment (see below). You will receive formative feedback on this talk, from both peers and the module tutor. Formative assessments address MLOs in ‘Knowledge and Understanding’, ‘Intellectual/Professional skills & abilities’, and ‘Personal Values Attributes’.

Summative (graded) Assessments
4000-word academic essay
You will write an essay in response to a set of questions provided by the module tutor. You will be expected to demonstrate clear engagement in relation to current issues and debates and important empirical research findings in Sociolinguistics.
The essay assessment will be part of the learning process, and addresses all five MLOS.

Feedback will be provided using the Programme template and comments on the script

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

This 20-credit module will develop your awareness and understanding of the field of Sociolinguistics, the interface between language and society. You will analyse critically, by means of lecture input and seminar discussion, the main research themes in the field. As such, you will pay particular attention to a range of important specialist theories within Sociolinguistics and evaluate historical, contemporary and emerging empirical research investigating the social meaning of linguistic variation.

You will study a number of key topics: social and regional linguistic variation and change in the UK and beyond; language and identity; language attitudes and ideologies; the social and linguistic factors which drive language variation and change; stylistic variation in language use; multilingualism; discourse and pragmatic variation; and quantitative and qualitative approaches to sociolinguistic study. Throughout the module, you will evaluate the many varied socio-psychological and contextual perspectives regarding the role of language and society which you encounter, and establish your own view of and position within contemporary debates within the field, developing your ability to present your own viewpoint, both in speech and in writing.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time
1 other options available

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Our Campus based courses starting in 2022 and 2023 will be delivered on-campus with supporting online learning content. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to adjust the delivery of our education accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

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