Full time 12 Month(s), Part time 24 Month(s)
This is our most flexible taught programme. You take one core module and a dissertation that further develops your specialist interests.
We also offer an extended dissertation option. Support for your studies is provided by the non-credit Postgraduate Academic Study Skills module, which runs in terms 1, 2 and 3.
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
This course is essential preparation for undertaking the research involved in your course work assignments and dissertation and is taken by all students. It deals with theoretical, ethical and methodological issues that are central to research on language and language teaching, and has been designed to provide support for any postgraduate student undertaking research in the Department.
This course provides a structured programme of support through lectures and small group work as you develop your academic writing and study practices and skills.
Corpus linguistics is a methodology whereby large collections of electronically transcribed texts are used in conjunction with computer tools to investigate language.
This course aims to provide a general introduction to corpus based language study. It centres around two main parts – corpus methods for exploring linguistic variation and the applications of corpus linguistics such as language teaching, forensic linguistics and discourse analysis.
Students will learn how to use corpus analysis packages such as BNCWeb and Antconc. (Note that a supplementary 3 week course in Research Methods will cover corpus building, statistical analysis and corpus annotation in more detail).
This course provides students with a solid foundation in the grammar of English, prominently including the ways in which it interfaces with semantics-pragmatics — as discussed, especially, in the cognitive linguistic approach to grammar, i.e. construction grammar. Yet the module is not restricted to this theoretical framework. Instead, we will explore its research questions, analyses and methods in relation to those representing the more traditional, generative (Chomskian) alternative. A basic tenet of the cognitive (and more broadly speaking: functional) approach is that English grammar (and indeed the grammar of any language) is a tool for effective communication. This leads to an analysis of grammatical structures in terms of, and as to some extent motivated by, their meanings. We will see that this perspective is very different from the generative approach, where grammar is studied more or less in isolation from meaning, i.e. as pure structure. Towards the end of the module some recent applications of the theory of cognitive linguistics are discussed.
The term “discourse” is understood in various ways in the social sciences and humanities. In this module we approach discourse in two principal ways. On the one hand, we regard discourse as structured use of language consisting of more than one sentence. The analysis of discourse in this sense involves investigation of the ways in which words, phrases and sentences hang together and make sense in contexts of use. At this level linguistic theories and methods of linguistic description are of special relevance. On the other hand, discourse is often thought of as language use as social practice that is based on, and influences, cognition. Thus, for example, we speak of media discourse, nationalist discourse, discourses on the economy, legal discourse, and the like. Here we ask questions about the linguistic characteristics of these different discourses. In addition we relate the texts that instantiate these discourse to the context of their production, distribution and reception, as well as to their wider social context.
The module aims to familiarise students with the range of theories in Discourse Studies. It also aims to provide practical analytical skills and methodologies for analysing spoken, written and visual texts of different genres. Acquiring sufficient technical knowledge of linguistic description is regarded as an important practical goal. Hands-on practical work with texts will be an important element of the course.
The aim of the course is to examine contemporary language use online. We start from a social practice view of languages and literacies: that is we look at what people do online, what activities they engage in and what these mean to them. This means that in this module we look at language use online drawing on research sociology and cultural studies, not just linguistics. The course explores a range of platforms such as Wikipedia, Blogs, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. We talk about languages and literacies in the plural, because we start from the idea that there are many different ways of reading, writing and communicating via online technologies. This also means that we will investigate how digital communication is changing the way we, as researchers, study language. On the course, you will explore your own and other people’s digital language practices and you will be introduced to methods of researching language and literacy online. We will use a wide range of materials and readings, including videos, blogs and other online resources.
This course aims to: (a) raise your awareness of different options in language teaching, increase familiarity with resources to support your teaching development; and (b) to equip you with a foundational experience and theoretical background for teaching.
This will enable you to:
The module also equips the participants with a repertoire of practical teaching techniques for the classroom.
The course will alternate between ideas and application. It involves a combination of readings, lectures, discussion, and group work, and includes micro-teaching activities and teaching observation.
Aims: The aim of this course is to introduce participants to second language acquisition research and its relevance to language education.
Objectives: Participants will become familiar with contemporary theory, methodology, and empirical research in the field of second language acquisition.
This course introduces you to fundamental concepts and approaches involved in the study of the links between language and society. We will look at a number of important approaches to sociolinguistic research, and cover the topics most central to the discipline and its development. These include language variation and change, which usually refers to social, geographical and stylistic differences within a single language and how they change through time; language contact, including pidginisation and creolisation and societal multilingualism, including language shift, language death and language revival.
This module is designed to provide students with the knowledge of corpus linguistics that will enable them to bring corpora and corpus resources into their language classrooms. First, it provides the necessary theoretical understanding of the principles of corpus linguistics that underlie the correct use of corpus linguistic techniques. Next, the module will introduce students to a range of available corpus resources such as different types of corpora and tools available for analysing them. In the module, students will be given the opportunity to explore these resources and evaluate their usefulness for different teaching contexts and for different learner needs. Finally, the course will equip students with the practical skills necessary for developing effective classroom materials and activities using corpus linguistics.
Upon successful completion of this module, students will be able to demonstrate:
familiarity with recent developments in the field of language teaching and learning
appropriate use of corpus linguistics for purposes of teaching and materials development
sensitivity to different teaching contexts and target populations
developing skills in analysing language of learners' second language use
About half the world’s population are bilingual, but what does this actually mean? This module provides an introduction to the subject of bilingualism and multilingualism, viewed from the perspectives of the individual (for example, how bilinguals code-switch or mix their languages in conversation), the community (what causes a group to give up their ancestral language and change to a new one, and what is the process for this) and the state (issues of language planning, policies and education). This module is designed to provide an introduction to the most important issues, methods and theoretical developments in the study of bilingual/multilingual societies. It aims to introduce different research approaches and to enable you to take a critical view of research in this field, drawing on examples from around the world.
In teaching we will draw on students’ own experiences of bilingualism and multilingual societies (even ‘monolingual’ societies are very often multilingual in reality) as well as looking at multilingual urban landscapes and multilingualism on the internet.
This course will focus on different methods and issues in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). CDA is broadly concerned with the way that language and other semiotic modalities reflect, legitimate and instantiate power and inequality in social relations. In this course, students are introduced to various methodological approaches to CDA which draw on and apply a range of theoretical frameworks including functional grammar, argumentation theory, cognitive linguistics, corpus linguistics, conversation analysis and pragmatics. A variety of discourses articulated in talk, text and image and operating across a range of social and political fields of action are considered, including discourses of race, immigration, war, national identity, political protest, and corporate responsibility. Students will also be encouraged to critically engage, through close textual analysis, with discourses of specific interest to themselves. Throughout the course, students will be introduced to and encouraged to engage with a number of theoretical and methodological debates currently ongoing in CDA.
This course aims to provide students with an understanding of the history and highly evolving status of forensic linguistics. To do this, we explore the nature of forensic linguistics, including its applications and limits, and investigate the differences between the broader and more narrowly defined notions of this field. We also carry out analyses of a variety of written and spoken texts from the point of view of language and the law, and explore some of the difficulties involved in writing up, presenting, and using scientific evidence in a court of law.
The aim of the course is to:
This course considers how meanings are constructed in communication. It aims (1) to cover the major areas in pragmatic theory, (2) to introduce the latest developments in those areas, and (3) to apply the theory to real data.
This course will introduce students to sociophonetics and equip them with the practical skills necessary to undertake a research project in sociophonetics. The course involves a synthesis of theoretical approaches and practical methodologies, and aims to introduce students to key issues and common analyses in the field. Students will learn how to use acoustic analysis software, such as Praat, and also learn to carry out data processing and analysis using R (a statistical programming language). There will also be the opportunity to integrate sociophonetic analysis with appropriate statistical methods and aspects of social and linguistic theory. The course will be structured around a series of topics that require students to analyse a particular area of phonetics in terms of its potential sociolinguistic significance.
Our sociophonetics course is designed for students who have already some undergraduate background in phonetics (including the International Phonetic Alphabet, articulatory descriptions, some basic acoustic phonetics). Please contact the course convenors if you wish to discuss this further.
This course is concerned with the linguistic analysis of literary texts. Its main aim is to enable students to use linguistic analysis in order to explain how literary texts achieve their effects (e.g. how they convey new views of reality, how they project text worlds and characters, how they convey different points of view). The course introduces the most central concepts in stylistics, including the most recent advances in the field (especially in cognitive stylistics). The focus is mostly on prose fiction, but poetry and drama will also be considered.
This module is designed to expand your design capacities as a language educator. Increasingly, English language learners need academic rather than everyday language, must negotiate technical language and engage with English-speaking suppliers and clients, and/or work with international stakeholders in commercial and non-profit settings. English is the medium of instruction in high school science classrooms in Hong Kong, in mainstream classrooms across Africa, and in a range of disciplines in global post-secondary institutions. As language educators, we are tasked with supporting learners in developing English for these purposes. In this module, you will explore analytical frameworks for identifying the linguistic demands of academic and professional contexts, engage with techniques for planning relevant lessons and courses, and consider the implications for classroom practice. Although our focus will be on academic contexts, the same practices and principles apply when working elsewhere. You will also have the opportunity to discuss the professional challenges of working with content educators, the issues of professional identity that arise, and the experiences of language educators who have taught in such contexts. The module combines theory, research and practice to provide a professional knowledge base for participation in this field.
The central aim of the module is to introduce students to modern experimental methods of measuring the ubiquitous relationship between language and cognition, which is a basic theoretical tenet of Cognitive Linguistics. In particular, it will begin by presenting language acquisition as a general learning process, and looking at interactions between linguistic and social-cognitive development in children. It will then explore the growing body of experimental research that investigates how an individual’s linguistic and cultural background informs their view of the world, and impacts on their thinking processes in adulthood (also known as the linguistic relativity hypothesis). Hereafter, a central concern of the module will be the cognitive mechanisms by which languages are learned and processed, examining the role of individual differences, frequency of input, and memory and attention, with particular focus on artificial grammar learning, and second language acquisition and use.
The module will cover the field of Cognitive Linguistics. In particular, it will introduce the foundational principles of Cognitive Linguistics locating it in opposition to the more dominant model of Generative Linguistics. Hereafter, a central concern of the module will be the relationship between language and more general cognitive processes in the creation of meaning, as well as the relationship between language, body and mind. Students will therefore be introduced to a number of fundamental cognitive processes understood to support language, including categorisation, metaphor and Gestalt principles of organisation. The module will show how such processes underpin the semantics of various domains of cultural as well as physical experience.
This module provides an introduction to some of the main aspects of research, theorising and practice involved in the evaluation and design of curricula for English language education. It does so by looking in turn at each of the main levels of activity involved, i.e., needs analysis, course design, materials design, syllabus design and materials evaluation and adaptation. Relevant academic concepts for each of these areas will be studied, but the main emphasis will be attempting to understand and use the practical procedures involved.
This course aims to raise students' awareness of the needs of students with specific learning differences when acquiring another language. It provides the necessary theoretical background to understand the nature of the various specific learning differences and the underlying principles of effective instructional programs. In the course students learn how to critically evaluate teaching resources, syllabi and programs used in the teaching of students with specific learning differences. The module also equips the participants with a repertoire of practical teaching and assessment techniques for the classroom.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Duration: 12 months, full-time; 24 months, part-time
Entry requirements: A good second class honours degree or its equivalent, in a relevant subject area
IELTS: 6.5 (with at least 6.0 in listening and speaking and at least 6.5 in reading and writing) or equivalent
Assessment: Coursework and dissertation
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