Linguistics and English Language

The following modules are available to incoming Study Abroad students interested in Linguistics and English Language.

Alternatively you may return to the complete list of Study Abroad Subject Areas.

CREW308: Advanced Short Story: Form and Practice

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: We expect students who wish to take this module to have done some form of creative writing previously.

Course Description

Course Outline:

This unit will provide an opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and skills of the short story form, history and practice with a more advanced course. Each week you will have the opportunity to discuss, in detail, one or two specimen short stories and workshop their own creative work. Topics covered will include:

  • plot, narrative and 'the twist in the tale';
  • the epiphany and other ways of ending;
  • writing extreme experiences
  • rewriting fairy tales, folk tales and myth
  • flash and sudden fiction;
  • voice and place
  • genre (the ghost story)
  • short stories in the literary world - the web, festivals, journals and competitions.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of the course the student will have:

  • a working knowledge of the different forms that short stories can take and have practiced some of these forms
  • an increased awareness of the role of the reader in realizing the authors text
  • a working knowledge of the narrative strategies adopted by individual writers in their short stories
  • a practice-based awareness of the process of drafting and revising your own short stories
  • a reflexive journal of that personal writing process
  • a developing awareness of what constitutes a writerly reading of texts
  • a developing awareness of contemporary writing from a variety of cultures
  • an awareness if the importance of all of the above in your development as a writer

Outline Syllabus

Reading:

 

Specimen short stories will be provided to you via Moodle prior to the start of the course. The following anthologies will be helpful:

The Penguin Book of Modern Indian Short Stories ed. Wimmal Dissanayake

The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story ed. Anne Enright

The Granta Book of the American Short Story ed. Richard Ford

The Granta Book of the African Short Story ed. Helen Habila

Best British Short Stories 2013 ed. Nicholas Royle

Secondary reading:

Creative Writing, a workbook with readings, ed. Linda Anderson, Routledge

The Rhetoric of Fiction, Wayne Booth, Penguin

The Creative Writing Coursebook, ed. Julia Bell & Paul Magrs, Macmillan

Writing Short Stories, Ailsa Cox, Routledge

Short Circuit, ed. Vanessa Gebbie, Salt Publishing

Creative Writing Guidebook, ed. Graeme Harper, Continuum

Modern Criticism and Theory, a reader, ed. David Lodge, Longman

The New Short Story Theories, ed. Charles E. May, Ohio University Press

The Lonely Voice: A Study of the Short Story, Frank O’ Connor, Melville House Publishing

Reading Like A Writer: A guide for People Who Love Books and Those Who Want to Write Them, Francine Prose, Union Books

How Fiction Works, James Wood, Vintage

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

4,000-word portfolio of creative materials (usually three or four short stories); 1,000-word reflective essay; detailed bibliography indicating research undertaken

LING102: English Language

  • Terms Taught: Full Year Course.
  • Also Available: This module is available in Michaelmas term only.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year - 10 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year - 20 ECTS
    • Michaelmas Only - 8 ECTS

Course Description

This course will introduce you to the English language – how to describe it, how it varies and how it functions in a variety of contexts. You will not only study the traditional linguistic areas of English (eg lexis, grammar, phonetics), but also areas that are often overlooked (eg letters, spellings) and areas that have more recently come to the fore, such as those pragmatics or conversation analysis. You will learn about and apply linguistic frameworks in the analysis and explanation of variation in English, both present-day and, to a lesser extent, historical. In order to study this variation, you will become conversant with crucial descriptive concepts, such as accents, dialects, registers, genres, and styles, as well as possible explanations for variation. Finally, you will learn about the teaching of English, especially as a foreign language. The course is arranged in a series of blocks including: visual English, English vocabulary, English structures, English sounds, conversational English, English dialects, media English, creative English, changing English, and teaching English. Throughout you will be encouraged to assess critically 'facts' about English, and you will be introduced to a range of methods by which evidence about English can be derived.

Educational Aims

This course is an introduction to the study of the English language – how to describe it, how it varies and how it functions in a variety of contexts. As such, it has the following aims:

  • to allow students to study not only the traditional linguistic areas of English (e.g. lexis, grammar, phonetics), but also areas that are often overlooked (e.g. letters, spellings) and areas that have more recently come to the fore (e.g. pragmatics, conversation analysis). 
  • to develop students’ abilities to apply linguistic frameworks in the analysis and explanation of variation in English – both present-day and, to a lesser extent, historical – through an understanding of crucial descriptive concepts, such as accents, dialects, registers, genres, and styles.
  • to foster in students an appreciation of what is distinctive of English compared with other closely related languages (e.g. German, French, Italian). 
  • to introduce students to the role of practices and contexts in shaping the English language, for example, how new TV genres have come about; and to the wide range of functions of English, for example, how it can be creatively exploited for the purpose of constructing a joke.
  • to bring students to an awareness of the teaching of English, especially  as a foreign language.
  • to encourage students to assess critically 'facts' about English, and to understand a range of methods by which evidence about English can be derived.
  • Construct arguments in an essay

  • Assemble evidence to support their arguments

  • Carry out research in the library

  • Refer to other studies correctly and construct a proper bibliography

Outline Syllabus

The syllabus is indicative and liable to change.

  • Visual English: Letters and punctuation, spelling in society and its development, multimodality
  • English vocabulary: The word, the lexicon and its development
  • English structures: Grammar and grammatical inflections, nouns and noun phrases, verbs and verb phrases, the structure of sentences, grammar and its development
  • English sounds: The sounds, the sound system, sounds of English, sounds and their development
  • Conversational English: Conversational routines and politeness, the systemics of conversation
  • English dialects: Dialect and speech community, regional British accents and dialects, class, accent and dialect in Britain, dialectal change and the rise of "standard" English, multilingual Britain, International Englishes, restructured Englishes
  • Media English: Genre, genres and their development in English, political speeches and other oratorical genres, newspapers and other print media, new TV genres, advertising, new internet genres,
  • Creative English: Creativity, style and stylistics, poetry, pop song lyrics, narrative and the novel, oral narratives, conversation in plays and film, "everyday" conversation
  • Changing English: The origins of English, the phases of development, recent change
  • Teaching English: Theory and practice, TEFL, TESOL
  • Investigating English: The corpus-based approach, transcribing sounds and conversation, Dialect surveys in Britain, text and practices, Stylistic analysis, computers and corpora

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 40%
  • Test: 10%
  • Essay(s): 40%
  • Presentation (Assessed): 10% 

LING103: Linguistics

  • Terms Taught: Full Year Course.
  • Also Available: This module is available in Michaelmas term only.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year - 10 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year - 20 ECTS
    • Michaelmas Only - 8 ECTS

Course Description

Linguistics is the scientific analysis of all aspects of human language and how it works in real usage contexts. This course will introduce you to areas and topics across the full breadth of the linguistics discipline. The core areas of phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax will be covered in some depth, whilst semantics and pragmatics are also included. You will gain an appreciation of some of the major theoretical debates in these areas, but you will also acquire actual analytical skills, using data not only from English, but crucially also from other languages. In addition you will study sociolinguistics, the study of language acquisition and learning, historical linguistics, and linguistic typology. Finally, a number of applications of linguistics will be introduced. This includes topics such as forensic linguistics, educational linguistics, and language testing. The course is arranged into a series of blocks including: language origins, acquisition, disorders, and death; grammar; multilingualism and language contact; language variation and language change; phonetics and phonology; linguistic meaning and language use; and the history andapplications of linguistics.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • carry out basic phonetic, phonological, and grammatical analysis of English and other languages
  • appreciate broad structural differences between languages
  • carry out basic semantic and pragmatic analyses of words and larger utterances
  • differentiate between the main theoretical approaches to language acquisition/learning and the origins of language
  • appreciate the extent to which language varies across time and across space, and discuss some of the main methods used in these areas
  • understand and explain some of the main developments in the history of the field of linguistics
  • appreciate and engage in basic discussions about some of the real world applications of linguistics
  • Construct arguments in an essay

  • Carry out research in the library

  • Refer to other studies correctly and construct a proper bibliography

Outline Syllabus

The module will consist of 7 blocks of 3-5 weeks each, amounting to 25 weeks in total. The basic areas of linguistics covered by each block are as follows:

  • language origins, acquisition, disorders, and death
  • grammar
  • multilingualism and language contact
  • language variation and language change
  • phonetics and phonology
  • linguistic meaning and language use
  • history and applications of linguistics

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 40%
  • Test: 30%
  • Essay(s): 30%

LING204: Discourse Analysis: Looking at Language in Use

  • Terms Taught: Full Year Course.
  • Also Available: This module is available in Michaelmas term only.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

The course aims to introduce students to the critical analysis of spoken and written discourse in contemporary social contexts.  It provides a range of resources and techniques for analysing texts, and enables students to apply them in looking at use of language as one aspect of social processes and change in postmodern society.  Methods include functional grammatical analysis of clauses and sentences, analysis of text cohesion and generic structure, conversational and pragmatic analysis of dialogue, and intertextual and interdiscursive analysis.  While Term 1 will focus on spoken data and conversation analysis, Term 2 will address written texts and introduce Critical Discourse Analysis and provide a focus on institutional discourse. We anticipate that if you follow this course you will:

  • develop your capacity for language analysis;
  • learn to apply academic knowledge and analysis to real world issues and problems;
  • develop a critical stance towards your social environment in its language aspects;
  • question and challenge social and intellectual authority and knowledge, including what is taught on the course.

Educational Aims

At the end of the course, you will:

  • be familiar with classical and contemporary approaches to analysing text and discourse;
  • know about, and be able to apply, a range of methods to describe and interpret texts;
  • have an understanding about the links between text, interaction and social context.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will include:

Terrm 1

  • Introduction 
  • Speech events
  • Encounters and frames
  • Conversation analysis
  • Politeness and impoliteness
  • Cooperation and implicature 
  • Computer-mediated discourse analysis

Term 2

  • Genres and discourses 
  • Intertextuality and interdiscursivity 
  • Transitivity I: social actors
  • Transitivity II: process types 
  • Modality 
  • Cohesion and coherence
  • Institutional discourse I: health communication
  • Institutional discourse II: education
  • Institutional discourse III: politics

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Coursework: 40%

LING210: Stylistics

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language

Course Description

The course is concerned with the linguistic analysis of literary texts, and particularly with the relationship between linguistic choices on the one hand and readers’ interpretations on the other. It deals with all three main literary genres:  poetry, prose fiction, and drama.

Educational Aims

The module aims to provide students with:

  • an understanding of concepts and methods relevant to stylistic analysis;
  • the ability to undertake detailed and systematic analyses of literary texts;
  • the ability to relate linguistic analysis to interpretation. 

Outline Syllabus

The following topics will typically be included:

  • Foregrounding in language:  deviation
  • Foregrounding in language:  parallelism
  • Figurative language and thought
  • Metaphor, metonymy and pain in verbal and visual art
  • Narrative and point of view
  • Fictional minds 1:  point of view and mind style
  • Speech and thought presentation
  • Fictional conversations and characterisation
  • Fictional minds 2:  conversation and autistic characters
  • Demonstration stylistic analysis:  flash fiction

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Essay(s): 30%
  • Presentation (Assessed): 10%  

LING211: The Language of Advertising

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language or Marketing.

Course Description

We all know when an ad has caught our attention, and whether it works for us or not, but what precisely is responsible for these effects?  In this course, we will learn how to take ads apart using tools taken from linguistics, rhetoric, and semiotics.  We will explore how ad writers make use of the different levels of language: for instance, how they exploit sounds and spellings; how they toy with word meanings and word associations; how they manipulate, and sometimes break, the rules of standard grammar.  We will also explore how ads interact with other texts and consider the relationship between words and pictures.  As well as analysing ads themselves, we will also test out our intuitions about them, by seeing how the words, structures and visuals used in the ads are employed in other kinds of texts.

Educational Aims

By the end of the course, students should:

  • know the main terms and concepts from linguistics, rhetoric, and semiotics which are relevant for the analysis of advertisements;
  • be able to identify the above phenomena in advertisements;
  • be able to conceptualise their intuitions about advertisement texts;
  • be able to carry out a full critical analysis of an advertisement by applying and integrating the above skills.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • Vocabulary: ‘Words in Ads’
  • The key words of advertising
  • Sounds, Letters, Scripts
  • Sentence Structures and Meaning
  • Words and Pictures
  • Interaction in Ads
  • Intertextuality and Interdiscursivity
  • Voices and Varieties
  • Brand and product names

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 30%
  • Project: 45%
  • Presentation: 25%  

LING214: Corporate communication

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language

Course Description

While this course is intended for students of both English Language and Business, the focus is on language and its use by and in companies.  However, you need no previous knowledge of either linguistics or business to take this course.  We will focus on corporate, management and employee perspectives, introducing various concepts from language and business studies and illustrating them with examples and case studies.  The seminars will include Q&As or quizzes, group work and role play, and reading activities to deepen your understanding of the lecture content.

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • apply knowledge of corporate communication to the analysis and critical examination of authentic data;
  • evaluate the merits of linguistic and management theories for the study of corporate communication
  • apply your knowledge of corporate communication to produce your own texts in that area.

Educational Aims

The module aims to enable students to:

  • gain knowledge and understanding of the communication aspects involved in dealing with an organisation’s internal and external stakeholders;
  • be familiar with the main areas of research in corporate communication;
  • relate the study of organisations and management to language;
  • apply different methods of language study to corporate environments.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • Corporate perspectives:  branding; talking to customers; crisis communication
  • Management perspectives:  leadership; change management; negotiating and influencing; diversity and inclusion
  • Employee perspectives:  language of recruitment; interviews at work; constructing employees

 Language and business aspects in relation to the above topics include:

  • Brand personalities, narrative
  • Communicative competence, politeness
  • Crisis communication strategies, corporate apologies
  • Leadership styles, rhetoric
  • Metaphor, channels of communication
  • Conversation analysis
  • Framing and impression management
  • Cooperation and implicature
  • Communities of practice, mission statements

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay(s) 30%
  • Exam: 20%
  • Presentation: 30%
  • Reflective Report: 20%

LING220: Structures of the World's Languages

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

This module will cover central concepts around word order, case marking, agreement, alignment, animacy, definiteness and valency changes and teach you to analyse new data from the world’s languages in terms of these topics.  You will learn to critically evaluate the extent to which the structures of the world’s languages are shaped by cognition and communication.  You will also learn how linguists provide explanations for why languages are structured the way they are, given the functions they serve. It is expected that you will acquire a better understanding of the structure of English as a result of seeing how English differs from other languages. 

Educational Aims

Students should acquire or develop:

  • an understanding of the central concepts of modern linguistic theory in general and their application to the description of the structures of the world's languages;
  • an understanding of the extent to which the structure of language reflects the way it is used in acts of communication;
  • an understanding of explanations for the syntactic organisation found in the world's languages; 
  • the ability to analyse language data from languages other than English; 
  • the ability to argue for and against rival theories of language structure.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • Functional syntax and the languages of the world
  • Grammatical relations: word order
  • Grammatical relations: case marking        
  • Grammatical relations: agreement marking
  • Grammatical relations: alignment
  • Animacy & definiteness
  • Changing grammatical relations: decreasing and increasing valency
  • Typological research in general

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Essay: 20%
  • Coursework: 20%

LING221: Sounds of the World's Languages

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer terms only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

In this module you will learn to produce, describe, and transcribe all the sounds in the World's languages. We will describe the physiology of how different sounds are produced and will look at the acoustic characteristics of particular sounds. You will practise transcribing all sounds within the International Phonetic Alphabet, and will learn examples of where sounds are used. For example, we spend time looking at the occurrence of click sounds in South African languages and at how pitch variation is used in tone languages. Seminars will cover the practical aspects to sound production, and we will also spend some time learning how to use computers for speech analysis.

Educational Aims

Students should acquire or develop:

  • knowledge of the variety of sounds used in languages across the World
  • a good understanding of the International Phonetic Alphabet
  • the ability to produce and transcribe all sounds used in language
  • the ability to describe the physiological mechanisms used in speech production.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • Phonetics and phonology
  • Vowels in the World’s languages
  • Consonants in the World’s languages
  • Tone and intonation
  • Rhythm, stress, and voice quality
  • Phonemes and segments
  • Syllables and phonotactics
  • Historical phonology
  • The phonetics-phonology interface
  • Acoustic phonetics

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Presentation: 20%
  • Coursework: 20%

LING222: English Grammar

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

The course will cover important aspects of English grammar, stressing the sense in which grammar (in English and in general) is not an abstract system of arbitrary rules but is motivated by meaning and shaped by usage. We will apply this so-called functionalist perspective not only to present-day English but also to the way in which certain grammatical constructions have developed over time.

Educational Aims

Students will:

  • be able to analyse the nature and structure of English words, phrases and sentences;
  • have an understanding of the sense in which grammar is not a purely abstract phenomenon but is, instead, based to a large extent on the way in which we construe the world (our cognitive system) and interact with other speakers;
  • have some understanding of aspects of the history of English and the way these relate to present-day English
  • be aware of the main differences between the grammar of spoken vs. written English

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • The purpose of (studying) grammar
  • Simple sentences
  • Word classes
  • Grammatical functions                         
  • Sentence structures and functions
  • Types and structure of phrases
  • Complex sentences
  • The passive: form(s) and function(s)
  • The grammar of spoken English

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Presentation: 30%
  • Test: 10%

LING223: English Phonetics

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer terms only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

This course will provide students with an introduction to the phonetics of English. The first part of the course will cover the initiation, articulation and transcription of speech. We will learn about vocal anatomy and physiology, including the oral cavity, the larynx, and the extrinsic and intrinsic muscles of the tongue. We will also address how sounds are produced, and how to transcribe phonetic variation using the International Phonetic Alphabet. The second half of the course will cover acoustic phonetics and the ways in which we can represent and analyse sounds using computers. Students will learn how to describe the acoustic properties of speech and acquire competence in carrying out particular forms of acoustic analysis. Throughout the course, we will apply some of the above concepts to understanding phonetic variation in English, including various kinds of social and geographical variation.

Educational Aims

Students will learn to:

  • describe and understand the anatomy and physiology of the human vocal tract;
  • think systematically about phonetic variation in varieties of English;
  • use technical phonetic terminology to describe varieties of English;
  • transcribe varieties of English using the International Phonetic Alphabet;
  • recognise and describe the acoustic properties of the speech signal.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • The vocal tract
  • The larynx and phonation
  • English vowels
  • English consonants
  • Acoustic phonetics
  • Voice quality and sociolinguistic meaning
  • Vowel acoustics and regional variation
  • Consonant acoustics
  • Applications of phonetics

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Presentation: 10%
  • Test: 15%
  • Essay: 25%

LING228: Child Language Acquisition

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language or Psychology.

Course Description

This course examines explanations of how we acquire our first language.  We bring psycholinguistics and theoretical linguistics together to describe and explain the processes a child goes through in learning their first language. We also look at some more advanced issues such as bilingualism, language impairments, and language development in deaf children.   The course is an introduction to language acquisition studies, psycholinguistics and theories of mind and language – looking particularly at the wide spectrum of different explanations for language acquisition.

Educational Aims

Students will acquire or develop:

  • an understanding of the stages children go through in their phonological, lexical, morphological, and syntactic development;

  • an ability to apply and evaluate corpus-based and experimental methods that can be used to measure linguistic knowledge;

  • an ability to critically compare and evaluate different theories that have been developed to explain children’s first language acquisition;

  • an ability to apply their knowledge of specific language impairment, bilingualism and childhood aphasia to evaluate first language acquisition theories.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • Social-cognitive prerequisites for language learning

  • Phonological and phonetic development

  • Word learning

  • Acquisition of grammar

  • Pragmatic development

  • Interactions between language and cognitive development

  • Language impairments

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

LING229: Language Origins and Evolution

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer Terms Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language or Psychology

Course Description

This course examines explanations of how language evolved in humans.We explore the evolution of the human language capacity drawing on evidence from linguistics, evolutionary theory, primatology and (paleo) anthropology.We consider language as a cognitive adaptation and ask what it is an adaptation for, e.g. instruction in tool making, as a form of social bonding, or as a means of winning a potential mate.We consider the phylogenetic development of language within the species as well as what cognitive and communicative abilities in non-human primates might reveal about the origins and functions of human language.

Educational Aims

Students should acquire or develop:

  • an understanding of the history and changing status of Evolutionary Linguistics;

  • an understanding of the difficulties faced in considering issues of language evolution;

  • an understanding of the types of evidence which can be brought to bear on issues of language evolution;

  • an understanding of and ability to articulate the contents, strengths and weaknesses of different theories of language evolution;

  • an ability to deploy different models and types of evidence in arguments concerning language evolution.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • Language as an adaptation

  • Gestural vs. vocal origins of language

  • Cumulative vs. catastrophic evolution

  • Cognitive and communicative precursors of language

  • Communication and cognition in other primates

  • The problem of altruism in accounting for language evolution

  • The role of natural, social and sexual selection in driving language evolution

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Essay: 40%

LING232: Understanding Media

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

The course provides approaches to analysing a diversity of media discourses and practices. The precise media we examine in the course changes a little each year. In Term 1 we will have a particular focus on news discourse. Term 2 will particularly emphasise language and Web 2.0 platforms. (Although we will also consider why ‘Web 2.0’ is a contested notion.) Your involvement will include some elements of active participation, for example studying Wikipedia involves not just engaging with the research of others, but also making an edit yourself and reflecting on this. (Full instructions will be given.) You will also be studying many other areas of the media, some historical such as the history of broadcasting technology and the Edwardian postcard. Activities in lectures, seminars, and assessments will centre on analysing media texts and practices around them. Seminar tasks will be posted online.

Educational Aims

This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to:

  • explore how language interacts with media, across a diversity of communications technologies, now and in the past;
  • introduce and apply a range of approaches to the analysis of practices and discourses, investigating how patterns in the language of media discourse contribute to recognisable media genres and styles;
  • relate analyses of media texts to real world issues.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • Key notions in approaching language, literacies and the media
  • Mumsnet
  • Multimodality
  • Globalisation, multilingualism and the changing role of English
  • Web 2.0 crowd collaboration:  Wikipedia and citizen science
  • History of media technologies and developing notions of media
  • News values
  • The Edwardian postcard
  • Different approaches to researching media
  • Blogs
  • Twitter

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 25% 
  • Essay(s): 25%
  • Exam: 50%

LING238: Independent Study

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.

Course Description

The purpose of this module is to allow students to pursue interests which are not represented in, or central to, established courses, subject to the availability of qualified staff.  Students will engage in a programme of supervised reading and produce a dissertation of between 9000 and 10,000 words.

Anyone interested in taking this module should discuss the matter with a member of staff before enrolling.  See either Vicki Haslam (the Undergraduate Co-ordinator) or Willem Hollmann (the Independent Study Unit convenor).

The deadline for submission is the Senate Deadline (Friday Week 23) of the year in which the module is taken.

 Please note that in order to enrol for an Independent Study Unit you must normally have:

            (i) decided on a topic, and

            (ii) obtained the agreement of a member of staff to supervise you.

If in doubt, seek the advice of the Independent Study Unit convenor.

Assessment Proportions

  • Dissertation: 100%

LING263: Independent Study

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only OR Lent/Summer Terms only
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only
    • Lent / Summer Terms only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.

Course Description

The purpose of this module is to allow students to pursue interests which are not represented in, or central to, established courses, subject to the availability of qualified staff.  Students will engage in a programme of supervised reading and produce an extended piece of coursework of between 4500 and 5000 words.

Anyone interested in taking this module should discuss the matter with a member of staff before enrolling.  See either Vicki Haslam (the Undergraduate Co-ordinator) or Willem Hollmann (the Independent Study Unit convenor).

The deadline for submission is the Senate Deadline (Friday Week 23) of the year in which the module is taken.

Please note that in order to enrol for an Independent Study Unit you must normally have:

            (i) decided on a topic, and

            (ii) obtained the agreement of a member of staff to supervise you.

If in doubt, seek the advice of the Independent Study Unit convenor.

Assessment Proportions

  • Dissertation: 100%

LING307: Language and Identities: Gender, ethnicity and class

  • Terms Taught: Full Year Course.
  • Also Available: This module is also available in Michaelmas term only. NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course. 
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

This course is about sociolinguistics, and in particular about how language relates to identities at different levels – for example, how individuals use language to signal their membership of particular social groups, and how different kinds of social groupings – for example peer groups, communities and nations – identify themselves through language. 

The course will focus on the three main areas of language in society: gender, ethnicity and class, and will discuss important research in each of these. Both theoretical and applied aspects of topics will be covered.  The notion of ‘Identity’ provides the course with a unifying theme.

This course aims to broaden and deepen your capacity for language analysis applied to real social issues and problems and to encourage you to evaluate research critically and undertake your own data collection and analysis.

Educational Aims

Upon completing the course, you should have an understanding of current theory in the area of language in social life, in particular in respect of gender, ethnicity and class, and be able to apply this to a variety of real-life situations which you may encounter inside or outside the university.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • Notions of ‘identity’
  • Language as a social phenomenon
  • Ideologies and beliefs about language
  • Standard and nonstandard language
  • Attitudes towards language
  • Language variation and change
  • Understanding regional dialect variation
  • The role of social networks in language change
  • Accommodation between speakers
  • Bilingualism and bilingual communities
  • Ethnicity and language
  • Language contact and hybrid identities
  • Theories of language and gender
  • Gendered discourses
  • Language and sexual identities

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Coursework: 40%

LING313: Language Change in English and Beyond

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

This module introduces students to the study of language change.  It aims to show how language change can be investigated and explained, particularly in the light of the most recent developments in (functionally oriented) historical linguistics.  English is the primary focus of the course but examples from other languages will be used as well.  All levels of language will be covered, from phonetics and phonology, via changes in the lexicon and word meaning to grammar and pragmatics.  The module is not only theoretical (how can linguistic theory account for the changes we can observed?), but also has a strong practical component, especially in the seminars, where students will get the opportunity to apply the theories and concepts that were introduced in the lectures to actual data, prominently including data related to ongoing change.

Educational Aims

Students will:

  • become familiar with some of the key concepts (both more and less well-established) in the study of language change;
  • acquire knowledge of some of the major events in the history of English; 
  • acquire an understanding of the importance of the past for understanding the present, and as a result, a deeper insight into the shape and structure of English today;
  • learn to appreciate of the sense in which one’s understanding of a given language may be informed by a comparative linguistic perspective;
  • become aware of broader issues related to language change; (psychological, social and political dimensions).

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • What is language change?
  • Lexical and semantic change
  • Corpora in historical linguistics
  • Sound change
  • Morphological change
  • Grammaticalization
  • Models of change
  • Evolution of grammar
  • Historical pragmatics

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Coursework: 40%

LING315: Forensic Linguistics

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer Terms Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

The module will cover the two main sub-areas of the field, i.e. forensic phonetics and forensic linguistics more generally.  Following a general introduction on the nature and history of forensic linguistics, lectures will focus on the two main questions forensic linguists concern themselves with:  what does a text say, and who is (are) its author(s)? The issues of trademarks and lie detection do not fit into either of these, but will be covered as well. All aspects of the field will be illustrated with reference to specific (court) cases, which will also help shed light on the evolving status of forensic linguistic evidence in courts of law.

Educational Aims

The module aims to provide students with:

  • an understanding of the history and highly evolving status of forensic linguistics;
  • an understanding of the nature of forensic linguistics
  • an appreciation of the difference between forensic linguistics more narrowly defined and forensic phonetics
  • the ability to carry out basic analysis of a variety of written and spoken texts from the point of view of language and the law
  • an understanding of some of the difficulties in using scientific evidence in a court of law.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • IIntroduction to and a brief history of forensic linguistics
  • Trademarks
  • What does a text say? (I):  Forensic phonetics in action
  • What does a text say? (II):  Forensic linguistics in action
  • Verbal lie detection
  • Authorship attribution (I):  Forensic phonetics in action
  • Authorship attribution (II):  Forensic linguistics in action
  • Authorship attribution (III):  Literature
  • Authorship attribution (IV):  Plagiar

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Coursework: 40%

LING316: Psycholinguistics

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language or Psychology.

Educational Aims

  • To provide students with knowledge and understanding of research in the field of psycholinguistics, includingtopics selected from language acquisition, cognitive psychology of language, literacy, language modelling, and acquired and developmental disorders of language.

  • To develop students ability to reflect critically upon the nature of theories in psycholinguistics and in particular how experimental and observational data can inform these.

  • To introduce students to approaches to psycholinguistics from a variety of methodologies including computermodelling, case studies, psycholinguistic experimentation and naturalistic observation.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will include:

  • Word learning and categorization
  • Language and Theory of Mind
  • Studies of children with Specific Language Impairment and autism
  • The brain-language relationship (including acquired disorders of language)
  • Grammatical processing
  • Artificial language learning
  • Computer and connectionist models

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay(s): 40%
  • Exam: 60%

LING317: Language in the Workplace: Topics in Professional Communication

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

This module introduces some key areas in which language study and social science studies of interaction can help us understand practices in a range of workplaces. It is intended to complement LING214 Corporate Communication. The topics in this module will be applicable to institutions such as social services, non-governmental organisations, technical services, and schools, and be relevant to a wide range of jobs including human resources, technical writing, public relations, training, and management.

Educational Aims

This module aims:

  • apply linguistic analyses of conversational sequences, identities and roles, and stories to professional settings;
  • consider how interactions in organisations raise important issues for linguistic analyses, such as roles, groups, networks, and non-verbal communication;
  • place the analysis of communication within a broader understanding of professional roles and practice;
  • consider differences and similarities between different kinds of workplaces and different roles.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will include:

  • Frameworks and resources for studying interaction
  • Asking questions
  • Delivering nNews
  • Listening and advising
  • Getting in contributions in meetings
  • Understanding Aggression
  • Collaborating
  • Using on-line networks
  • Responding to on-line complaints

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Project: 40%
  • Presentation (Assessed): 10%

LING324: Cognitive Linguistics

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

The course seeks to provide a closer look at selected aspects of language structure and how they are analysed within various theoretical frameworks. It aims to develop a critical awareness of theoretical constructs and the extent to which they influence not only analyses but also the choice of data to be analysed. Students will also be taught to evaluate the appropriateness of specific analyses for individual languages or facets of language.  By the end of the course, you should have a good knowledge of the basic principles, notions and structures of Cognitive Linguistics, particularly of Cognitive Grammar.

 In addition, you should develop:

  • the competence to analyse linguistic (corpus) data in terms of these theoretical constructs;
  • an appreciation of the sense in which Cognitive Linguistics is grounded in cognitive psychology, and how this is different from formalist frameworks such as Generative Grammar and its derivatives.

Educational Aims

Students should acquire or develop, beyond the level achieved in the second year on LING220 Structures of the World's Languages:

  • an understanding of Cognitive Linguistics, especially as it pertains to grammar and semantics
  • an understanding of the relation between Cognitive Linguistics and concepts from cognitive psychology 
  • a basic understanding of some of the ways in which this approach differs from its main competitor in the field, i.e. Chomskian Generative Grammar.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • What is - and what isn’t - Cognitive Linguistics?
  • From cognitive psychology to linguistics 1:  Categorisation
  • More than words:  Lexical categories in Cognitive Linguistics
  • From cognitive psychology to linguistics 2:  Frames and attention
  • From cognitive psychology to linguistics 3:  Other construal operations
  • Putting two and two together:  How concepts are combined      
  • A new twist on an old story:  Idioms
  • One thing leads to another:  From idioms to construction grammar
  • From cognitive psychology to linguistics 4:  Frequency, resemblance and the usage-based model

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Essay: 20%
  • Presentation: 20%

LING325: Topics in Phonetic and Phonological Theory

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer Terms only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

This module investigates some of the theoretical aspects to speech production and sound structure across the World's languages. We will spend time discussing and evaluating different frameworks for modelling phonetics and phonology, for example generative and usage-based approaches. Then, we will examine some case-study areas which challenge existing theories, for example intonational phonology and the study of historical sound change. This course aims to contribute to questions such as 'How are groups of sounds structured so that we can understand language?' or 'How are sounds stored and processed in the mind?'

Educational Aims

Students should acquire or develop, beyond the level achieved in the second year on LING221 Sounds of the World's Languages:

  • an understanding of the central concepts of modern linguistic theory in general and in particular a sound understanding of some current approaches to phonetic and phonological theories.
  • an understanding of the development of phonological theory within the context of 19th-21st century linguistics.
  • the ability to critically evaluate different approaches to phonetics and phonology.
  • the ability to evaluate the nature of the evidence used in support of each theory.
  • an understanding of different experimental techniques used in the investigation of theoretical concepts.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • Models of phonology
  • Articulatory phonology
  • Usage-based phonology
  • Intonation
  • Intonational variation
  • Types of sound change
  • Reasons for sound change
  • Phonological variation
  • Acquisition of phonology
  • Bilingual phonology

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Presentation: 20%
  • Essay: 20%

LING326: Corpus-based English Language Studies

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer terms only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

This course focuses on the contemporary field of English Language Studies. In particular, it will look at corpus linguistics - a research specialism at Lancaster University - and its application to (mainly but not exclusively) the description of English grammar.

The course's programme of lectures will begin with a detailed introduction to the method before moving on, later in the term, to discuss the applications and implications of the method. Meanwhile, lab-based seminars will allow students to acquire and exercise practical skills with the computational tools (such as concordance software) required by the area of study.

Educational Aims

Students should gain an understanding of the following issues:

  • The role of computer-aided analysis in contemporary methodologies (corpus-based methods)
  • Quantitative grammatical variation across text-types, and their functional explanations
  • The role of large-scale lexical and semantic features in the establishment of a discourse
  • The major processes of current grammatical change in English (genre shift over time, colloquialisation, Americanisation, etc.)

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • Introduction to corpus analysis techniques
  • An overview of English corpora: issues in corpus construction
  • Corpus annotation – what is it good for?
  • The linguistics of the lexicon – collocation, semantic prosody, lexical priming
  • The art and science of concordance analysis
  • Corpus approaches to stylistics
  • Corpus approaches to grammar
  • Corpus approaches to sociolinguistics
  • Corpus approaches to pragmatics
  • Corpus approaches to forensic linguistics
  • Corpus approaches to critical discourse analysis

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Project: 40%

LING327: Advanced English Phonetics

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

This module investigates a range of theoretical and practical issues in the phonetics of English, with a focus on the perception of speech. This means that we will be investigating questions such as: Is perceiving speech different from perceiving music or other sounds? How does our knowledge of language influence what we hear? How do people evaluate different voices and accents? Throughout the course, we will discuss these questions with reference to different theories, and also learn how to test hypotheses using mini experiments.

Lectures will give an overview of the different topics and seminars will involve a mix of practical and discussion activities. The assessments will require you to apply the practical skills and theoretical knowledge that you have acquired throughout the course.

Educational Aims

Students should gain an understanding of the following issues:

  • Speech acoustics
  • Hearing and anatomy of the ear
  • Different theories of speech perception
  • The effects of social information on speech perception
  • Appropriate methods and data analysis.

Outline Syllabus

TOPICS WILL TYPICALLY INCLUDE:

  • Acoustic phonetics
  • The ear and hearing
  • Theories of speech perception
  • Production-perception relationships
  • Speech perception and linguistic knowledge
  • Contact varieties of English
  • Cross-linguistic speech perception
  • Speech perception and social information
  • Designing experiments and collecting data
  • Scientific writing
  • Statistics and visualisation

Assessment Proportions

  • Project: 60%
  • Report: 40%

LING330: Language, Culture and Thought

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Must have previously studied Linguistics and/or English Language.

Course Description

The course combines classic philosophical approaches with recent state-of-the-art experimental evidence to address a central topic in modern cognitive science: Does the language we speak affect the way we think? And as a result, do speakers with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds think differently? These questions form the core of the so-called linguistic relativity hypothesis, which will be the focus of this module. The course begins by laying down the foundation of the cognitive mechanisms underpinning the interaction between language and thought, such as working memory, semantic memory, and the structure and nature of meaning representations in the brain. The course then examines in detail the different ways in which language may affect thinking and give rise to cross-cultural and cross-linguistic differences between different populations, different individuals, and during first and second language development. Throughout, emphasis will be given to the different experimental methods used and the kinds of evidence that can inform our understanding of the linguistic relativity hypothesis.

Educational Aims

Students should acquire or develop:

  • the ability to understand a range of basic and advanced concepts and terminology in the field of language, culture and thought, and specifically relating to the linguistic relativity hypothesis;
  • an awareness and appreciation of the interaction of language with thinking processes and mental representations;
  • Knowledge and critical awareness of different methodological approaches to current issues in the field of language, culture and thought.

Outline Syllabus

Topics will typically include:

  • The architecture of thought in the human mind
  • Language and Culture: On the meaning of meaning
  • Thinking with language: Language as meddler
  • Thinking with language: Language as augmenter
  • Thinking after language: Language as spotlight
  • Thinking after language: Language as inducer
  • Individual differences in language, culture and thought
  • First language development and thought: Theory of mind
  • Second language development and thought: Statistical learning

Assessment Proportions

  • Presentation (20%)
  • Essay (40%)
  • Exam (40%)