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ALC8002 : Sociolinguistics

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Judith Reynolds
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

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

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The aims of the module are to enable students to:
1. become familiar with key topics in the study of language in society,
2. appreciate the range of variation within 'normal' English, and through this become sensitised to variation in other languages
3. be aware of the relationships between language variation and social structure, and between language variation and various stylistic and situational factors, and
4. 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: relationships between linguistic and extra-linguistic variables (e.g. age, class, gender, social networks)
3. stylistic variation: topic, setting
4. attitudes to language, and the notion of 'acceptability'
5. language policy and planning
6. different types of linguistic community
7. the impact of globalisation and mobility on sociolinguistic theory

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, group activities 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
Reflective log2M40Research blog post and reflection - 1,500 words
Essay2A60Critical Essay - 2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The research blog post assessment will assess both students' understanding of a piece of sociolinguistic research (in terms of the theories and concepts used, the research methods involved, and the outcomes), and their ability to explain sociolinguistic research and present sociolinguistic information to a general audience. The critical essay (60%, end of the module) is a more traditional academic essay which will assess students' holistic understanding of the whole course content and their critical thinking and academic writing skills.

Reading Lists