Module Catalogue 2018/19

SEL8639 : Ethno-linguistic variation

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Heike Pichler
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

Students taking this module must have a background in variationist linguistics and basic knowledge of phonology, morphology and syntax.

SEL8163 must be taken as a pre or co-requisite.

Co Requisites
Code Title
SEL8163The Sociolinguistics of Language and Society
Co Requisite Comment

SEL8163 must be taken as a pre or co-requisite.


This advanced module in variationist sociolinguistics examines the complex relationship between language and ethnicity. It provides students with a critical overview of key studies exploring the language-ethnicity interface and introduces them to the diversity of methodological and theoretical frameworks for studying ethno-linguistic variation and change. Students will learn to apply these frameworks to the variationist analysis of an ethnic variety of UK English. The module also examines the potential effects of ethno-linguistic practice in institutional settings, and defines sociolinguists’ role in combating ethno-linguistic discrimination.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will cover the following:
1.       key terms and concepts in language and ethnicity research
2.       methodological and theoretical frameworks for studying ethno-linguistic variation and change
3.       the origins, development and structural characteristics of selected ethnic varieties of English
4.       the role of ethnicity in language variation and changethe construction and negotiation of ethnic identities through language usesocietal repercussions of ethno-linguistic diversity

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of this module, it is anticipated that students will be able to:
1.       use correctly and with confidence the key terms and concepts associated with ethno-linguistics
2.       apply the practical and conceptual tools acquired for studying ethno-linguistic variation and change to the analysis and interpretation of novel datasets
3.       describe the origins and developments of selected ethnic varieties of English, and identify their structural characteristics
4.       summarize, describe and evaluate the methods, results and implications of selected case studies into ethno-linguistic variation and change
5.       recognise and explain (i) the role of ethnicity in language variation & change, (ii) the role of language use in the construction of ethnic identities
6.       clarify and give examples of the effect of ethno-linguistic variation in different social and institutional contexts

Intended Skill Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will have developed the following transferable skills:
1.       problem-solving skills (responding to technical failures; developing strategies for dealing with badly distributed data)
2.       analytical skills (identifying variation; developing a coding schema; interpreting results)
3.       numerical skills (quantifying patterns of variation; interpreting quantitative patterns of variation)
4.       IT skills (working with specialized computer software; using Excel to visualize quantitative data in graphs/tables)
5.       communication skills & writing skills (communicating research results effectively; writing coherently to develop a convincing argument and defend evidence for it)

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Assessed
    • Numeracy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Assessed
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Decision Making : Assessed
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
  • Application
    • Social Cultural Global Awareness : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading160:0060:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study144:0044:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are used, primarily, to impart information and provide an overall coherence for the module. They focus on enhancing students’ knowledge base in linguistics. Seminars are used to consolidate students’ understanding of the lecture and reading materials. They focus on developing students’ transferable skills in linguistic data analysis. Both lectures and seminars support the linguistic data analysis conducted for the final essay. Guided independent study is also used for the preparation and completion of assignments.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M1004,000-word essay with coding and data analysis
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay allows students to explore selected themes in greater depth, while giving them the opportunity to enhance their analytical and writing skills. The word limit for the final esssay is slightly below the recommended threshold for MA work of this weightening. This is because preparation of the essay involves a time-consuming coding process. The word limit does thereofre not reflect the actual work that goes into the preparation of the essay.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 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 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.