Module Catalogue 2023/24

SML1019 : Introduction to Linguistics

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Damien Hall
  • Lecturer: Dr Carol Fehringer, Professor Ian MacKenzie
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Code Title
FRE1071Level B (HE Intermediate) French
GER1071Level B (HE Intermediate) German
SPA1071Level B (HE Intermediate) Spanish
Co Requisite Comment

Students are required to be taking the Level B language module(s) appropriate to their degree and stage.


In consonance with the overall aims of the degrees offered in the SML, this module aims to provide students with a broad-based introduction to linguistics using data mainly from French, German, and Spanish. It provides a basic introduction to the scientific study of human language. Students will be introduced to the description of French, German, or Spanish, especially to phonetic transcription and some basic tools for the description of the respective sound system, word structure and sentence structure. Later in the module, more general topics such as sociolinguistics and historical linguistics will be explored.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lectures and seminars alternate.

Topics covered will include most of the following (precise details could vary according to staff availability):
- phonetics
- phonology
- morphology
- syntax
- historical linguistics
- sociolinguistics: language contact
- sociolinguistics: language variation

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the course, students should have gained a basic knowledge of:
The various sub-branches of linguistics:
• phonetics and phonology;
• morphology;
• syntax;
• historical linguistics
• sociolinguistics

Students will apply some of this knowledge to the linguistics of French, German or Spanish.

Intended Skill Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to:
• use phonetic / phonemic transcription in the language(s) of their choice and use the standard reference works;
• perform simple phonological, morphological, syntactic and lexical analyses in the language(s) of their choice and use the standard reference works;
• take notes effectively in lectures, from journals, electronic sources and secondary material;
• write an appropriately documented and organized analysis of specific problems;
• use a standard format (the Harvard or author-date system) for footnotes and references.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion41:004:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials52:0010:00Online asynchronous
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching141:0014:00PiP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00PiP
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1671:00167:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00PiP
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module talk introduces students to what linguistics is and does, and goes over practical aspects such as how the module will run.

Structured learning from recordings introduces students to the general principles of a number of subdisciplines of linguistics in turn. They will be asked to listen to recordings and do some preliminary reading before engaging in the small group teaching. The blended learning mode of teaching is being retained because it showed itself to be very effective, allowing students time to reflect in their own time.

Small group teaching will enable students to apply the general principles of each linguistic subdiscipline to their own language (in each semester students will choose whether to join the French, German or Spanish seminar).

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70Off-campus resit available only if on-campus exam is affected by pandemic, or if permitted by PEC
Written Examination501M30In-class test
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MPractice phonetic transcription, or other practice relevant to the assessment (e.g. a mock exam)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written in-class test will assess factual and technical knowledge, while the final examination will also assess analytical skills and self-expression. The overall assessment package aims to ensure both subject-specific knowledge development and the consolidation of core transferrable skills.

The formative assessment is a practice transcription in Semester 1, or another form of practice relevant to the Semester 1 summative assessment, such as a mock exam. Not all summative assessment includes phonetic transcription of passages.

RESIT: 2-hour exam, covering the whole module content (the first-sit 2-hour exam covers only the Semester 2 topics). ALTERNATIVE RESIT: 1,000-word essay (available only if the pandemic makes on-campus exams impossible, or if the PEC Committee permits a student to do their resit off-campus).


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 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 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.