Module Catalogue 2024/25

SEL2091 : Sociolinguistics

SEL2091 : Sociolinguistics

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Daniel Duncan
  • Lecturer: Dr Adam Mearns, Professor Karen Corrigan
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



This module builds on the knowledge of language variation & change and data analysis skills obtained in SEL1032 in order to develop a fuller understanding of sociolinguistics. It introduces this domain of linguistics from two perspectives:
- Microsociolinguistics, the study of language variation and change at the level of individuals, groups, and communities. With particular emphasis on the framework of variationist sociolinguistics, the module explores how linguistic variation is influenced by societal factors like social class and ethnicity.
- Macrosociolinguistics, the study of language at the societal level. With particular emphasis on the sociology of language, the module explores how society shapes broader linguistic outcomes like language maintenance or shift, language endangerment, and the development of pidgins and creoles.
This module refines data analysis skills by further developing quantitative reasoning skills. It adds basic inferential statistics to the analytical toolkit and explores how these are used to refine and test linguistic hypotheses.

Outline Of Syllabus

Two major themes are addressed:
- Language variation and change within individuals and speech communities
- Societal influences on and attitudes toward language status
Specific topics include:
- The variationist paradigm
- Key patterns of language-external influences on language variation and change
- Sociolinguistic fieldwork methods
- Language attitudes and ideologies
- Outcomes of language contact

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of this module students will:
- Utilize tools and principles of the variationist paradigm at all stages of sociolinguistic analysis
- Apply understanding of the manner in which speech communities use linguistic variables to mark a range of social indices to new data
- Critically analyze popular views of linguistic and dialectal diversity from the perspective of sociolinguistic theory
- Critically evaluate positions on macrosociolinguistic outcomes, particularly those involving English and language varieties it is in contact with
- Be able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of selected sociolinguistic research methods

Intended Skill Outcomes

At the end of the module, students should be able to:
- Collect, code and transcribe vernacular data (with due regard for ethical concerns).
- Quantitatively analyze data using basic inferential statistics
- Interpret quantitative and qualitative research findings
- Produce visualizations of quantitative data
- Report research findings using field-appropriate terminology and writing style
- Orally argue a position coherently and concisely
- Critically discuss the work of linguistic scholars

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion168:0068:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading163:0063:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study126:0026:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SEL8163Language and Society
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

LECTURES: Will be used, primarily, to impart information and provide overall coherence for the module.

SEMINARS: Will be used, primarily, to build skills in linguistic analysis and examine concepts in depth.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Reflective log1M20Sociolinguistic interview and reflection, 500 words in total.
Portfolio1A80Quantitative and qualitative research write-up, 3000 words in total.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises1MN/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

-The formative problem solving exercises prepare students for the quantitative analysis in Portfolio 1.
-Reflective log 1 is required to give students hands-on experience in sociolinguistic fieldwork that will be relevant to future independent research.
-The Portfolio assignment is required to assess an understanding of data collection/analysis skills, written communication skills; analytical/problem solving skills; critical thinking/conceptual understanding/knowledge and ability to construct a logical argument.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 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 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.