Module Catalogue 2022/23

LAS4005 : Multilingualism and Society in Latin America

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Josep Cru
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To develop systematic knowledge of Latin America as a multilingual region

To develop critical insights into the role that language diversity plays in Latin American cultural,
social and political life

To introduce appropriate theoretical approaches to the study of language in society

To introduce appropriate theoretical approaches to the study of language as a cultural phenomenon

To further understanding of the roles of race, gender and ethnicity in shaping Latin American society,
from the perspective of linguistic diversity

To further develop skills of argumentation and presentation, in speaking and writing

To become familiarised with a broad range of bibliographic and on-line sources for the achievement of
these aims

Outline Of Syllabus

Using a combination of sociolinguistic and anthropological approaches, the module examines cultural diversity in contemporary Latin America with special focus on the role of language. We explore multilingualism as a cultural and social phenomenon, as it affects the lives of individuals, on the one hand, and the relationship between State and society, on the other hand. Contact between Spanish and Portuguese and Amerindian languages (eg.Quechua, Aymara, Guaraní, Nahuatl) arising in colonial and postcolonial settings, produces hybrid forms of language that express mixed cultural identities and history. Furthermore, indigenous movements, non-governmental organisations, and government ministries, all have a stake in how multilingualism is managed: language policy underpins political agendas and education programmes, for example. Pulling these perspectives together, we note that people’s attitudes towards language and identity at the grassroots, and state-led strategies for managing multilingualism, are often at odds. Theories of the relationship between language,identity, culture, politics, and society, will be related to Latin American cases of language contact, co-existence and conflict.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Familiarity with the multilingual nature of Latin American societies in the past and the present

Familiarity with key conceptual frameworks for the study of multilingualism as a social and cultural

Insight into the political issues arising from the cultural and linguistic diversity of Latin American states

Conceptual engagement with the ways that language and literacy construct power relations in society,
mediated by gender, ethnicity and class

Intended Skill Outcomes

Further ability to formulate and support an argument in oral presentation and in writing

Further ability to research and organise a range of bibliographic and on-line source materials relevant to a specific study question

Ability to identify and critically analyse Latin American sociolinguistic phenomena by applying appropriate conceptual tools

Advanced skills of textual analysis

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00PiP sessions
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Asynchronous
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00PiP sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00PiP sessions for essay preparation advice
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1167:00167:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The mix of lectures, seminars, and drop-in/surgery sessions will allow for imparting of key information, learning of critical analytical skills through textual study and application of knowledge through guided research to be presented as group work in class.

Asynchronous lecture materials have showed to be very effective as it allows students to reflect in their own time and bring questions for further discussions in class. There will be practical and interactive present-in-person sessions with short and focused structured lectured materials. Methodologically, shorter content materials work better among students as they maintain attention and they are more accessible and manageable. Learning outcomes will not be altered and students will be able to meet those outcomes in a more effective and participatory way.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M803000 words (+/-10%) including quotations and notes but excluding bibliography.
Portfolio1M201000 word (+/-10%) written commentary or 15 min oral presentation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessed mid-semester written commentary or oral presentations in class provides opportunity for students to engage critically with the course material and to study other literature on the subject, apart from getting early feedback. It also gives them the chance to demonstrate understanding of sociolinguistic and social science concepts and the ability to structure an argument in writing or speaking and prepare for the final essay. Students who choose to do a presentation will discuss the topic in consultation with lecturer. Presenters in a given week will be required to present on a topic related to that week’s lectures, or in a previous week’s lectures (but not in a future week’s lectures).


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.