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ALC8002 : Sociolinguistics

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Judith Reynolds
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1. To introduce students to key topics in the study of language in society.
2. To enable students to appreciate the range of variation within 'normal' English.
3. To enable students to be aware of the relationships between language variation and social structure, and between language variation and various stylistic and situational factors.
4. To enable students to be aware of basic techniques for analysis of language variation.

This module explores different approaches to the study of the relationship between language and society. It introduces key concepts and topics relevant to the study of language use in different contexts, drawing on theory and practice from the diverse field of Sociolinguistics. The people we are, and the communities and societies we inhabit, shape and are themselves shaped by our use of language. Broadly, the module is concerned with how people, as members of social groups, use language and what they use it for. The module considers research that focuses on language in interaction, and ways that sociolinguists have approached the study of this interaction. By the end of the module, students should have developed an understanding of the relationship between language and society and the ways in which language is used in different contexts. You should acquire an informed perspective about social differentiation, expressed through language; and acquire relevant skills to analyse language in social contexts. This should allow a deeper understanding of the relationships between language variation and social structures.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. notion of language, dialect, accent and standard
2. linguistic variation: quantitative analysis of linguistic and extra-linguistic variables (age, class, sex, social networks)
3. stylistic variation: topic, setting
4. politieness phenomena
5. attitudes to language, and the notion of 'acceptability'
6. language contact, different types of linguistic community.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading130:0030:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery12:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study187:0087:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide an introduction to the weekly content, establish a basic level of understanding of the topic, provide opportunities for discussion and personal reflections, and signal areas for individual further study and essential and further reading. Group activities are often linked to pre-class weekly reading

Structured Guided Learning activities provide students with weekly opportunities to consolidate learning through guided tasks linked to the weekly topic.

Independent study will enable wider reading, further personal self-reflection and assignment preparation.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research proposal2M40Research Project outline - 1,500 words
Essay2A60Essay - 2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

All skills and knowledge, including the ability to critically evaluate research, to identify gaps in the field of research, to identify links between research and practice, and design a research project, will be assessed through the research project outline, and essay.

Reading Lists