ALC8024 : Language Awareness

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The purpose of this module is to give students a thorough understanding of the key systems (lexis, grammar, morphology, phonetics and phonology, pragmatics) of the English language and to develop their understanding and use of appropriate metalanguage. This is viewed as the ‘core knowledge’ that any English language teacher needs in order to perform their role. Specific aims include:

-       To enable students to use the terminology and technical language of the discipline (TESOL).
-       To help students to identify the particular problems that language learners may have with each system.
-       To equip students with the skills needed to analyse language for teaching purposes.
-       To give students a detailed understanding of specific language systems.

Outline Of Syllabus

Here is a sample outline, but individual sessions may be subject to change.

Week 1: Introduction to metalanguage
This session provides a broad overview to the aims and assessment of this module, as well as explaining the different language systems and introducing some of the core terminology that you will come to know and use whilst studying Language Awareness.
Week 2: English Phonetics
This looks at the sound system of English and familiarises students with a phonemic alphabet of English, a means of transcribing sounds. Practice transcriptions are attempted, and we will consider the difference between vowels and consonants. We also look at syllable structure and word stress.

Week 3: Introduction to Phonology
This week we will consider the phonological features of language including stress and intonation. We will look at connected speech processes and how individual phonemes are distributed in words.

Week 4: Morphology: word structure
This session looks at the study of word formation and the internal structure of words. Words are made up of morphemes (the smallest units of meaning); and we look at ‘bound’ and ‘free’ morphemes as well as inflection and derivation.

Week 5: The word. Lexical and grammatical word classes
Here we introduce the key metalanguage that is needed to describe words. We will practice labelling parts of sentences and looking at the impact of this on word order and meaning.

Week 6: Semantics. Introduction to lexical meaning
We build on last week’s introduction to the word by considering semantic meaning. This includes sense relations (synonyms, antonyms etc.), semantic contexts, and words with multiple meanings.

Weeks 7-9: Grammar and syntax
These sessions build on our earlier work on words classes. We begin by introducing how they stand alone (as phrases), and / or how words combine to produce larger phrases. We then move onto the clausal level and finally look at full sentences, including some details on information structure and how such complex forms can be explained to your students.

Week 10: Introduction to Discourse and Pragmatics
Some of the key concepts associated with discourse analysis are introduced in relation to their classroom applications. In particular, the relationship between discourse and grammar will be examined, before looking at the ways in which both spoken and written texts cohere. There is also an introduction to pragmatic competence and how this might impact on understanding for non-native speakers.

Week 11: What to teach, when to teach it
The final session brings together all of your knowledge about the different systems of language, and helps you to consider what depth of language knowledge is necessary for your learners. For example, you may be discussing the pros and cons of teaching phonemic transcriptions, or complex metalanguage, to intermediate level learners. There will also be opportunity to practice language description in preparation for the assignment.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading112:0022:00Directed reading and seminar preparation.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1102:00102:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time31:003:00Assignment support
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to provide students with the background knowledge, including awareness of specific terminology, that is required by language teachers in relation to the systems of the English language. The use of small group study allows students an opportunity to engage in in-depth discussions and analyse data (including teaching and testing materials), which will reinforce what they learn during the lectures.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M401500 word assignment set on content of weeks 1-6.
Essay1A602500 word analysis of a set text with reference to the literature, to assess overall learning on module
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Reflective log1MThese will be weekly short 'homework' tasks to accompany written exercise assign and to prepare students for language analysis.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Language awareness is a subject which requires both theoretical knowledge and practical analytical skills, which is the rationale for having two assignments. The first assignment is based on theory, and students will be required to refer to the literature. The second assignment is more practical based, but which requires an advanced understanding of the theory in order for students to justify their analysis. Students will have an opportunity to prepare for the first assessment through their background (required) reading and for the second assessment through guided study and by completing short written homework exercises (non-assessed) throughout the module.

Reading Lists