Skip to main content


LAS4005 : Multilingualism and Society in Latin America

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Josep Cru
  • Lecturer: Dr Giuliana Borea
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To develop systematic knowledge of Latin America as a multilingual region

To develop critical insights into the role that language diversity plays in Latin American cultural,
social and political life

To introduce appropriate theoretical approaches to the study of language in society

To introduce appropriate theoretical approaches to the study of language as a cultural phenomenon

To further understanding of the roles of race, gender and ethnicity in shaping Latin American society,
from the perspective of linguistic diversity

To further develop skills of argumentation and presentation, in speaking and writing

To become familiarised with a broad range of bibliographic and on-line sources for the achievement of
these aims

Outline Of Syllabus

Using a combination of sociolinguistic and anthropological approaches, the module examines cultural diversity in contemporary Latin America with special focus on the role of language. We explore multilingualism as a cultural and social phenomenon, as it affects the lives of individuals, on the one hand, and the relationship between State and society, on the other hand. Contact between Spanish and Portuguese and Amerindian languages (eg.Quechua, Aymara, Guaraní, Nahuatl) arising in colonial and postcolonial settings, produces hybrid forms of language that express mixed cultural identities and history. Furthermore, indigenous movements, non-governmental organisations, and government ministries, all have a stake in how multilingualism is managed: language policy underpins political agendas and education programmes, for example. Pulling these perspectives together, we note that people’s attitudes towards language and identity at the grassroots, and state-led strategies for managing multilingualism, are often at odds. Theories of the relationship between language,identity, culture, politics, and society, will be related to Latin American cases of language contact, co-existence and conflict.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Lecture PiP sessions
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Structured research, reading and recorded materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Seminar PiP sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00PiP sessions for essay preparation advice
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1167:00167:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The mix of lectures, seminars, and drop-in/surgery sessions will allow for imparting of key information, learning of critical analytical skills through textual study and application of knowledge through guided research to be presented as group work in class.

All Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities will be delivered PiP but they could be turned into online teaching if required

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M201000 word (+/-10%) text commentary to give opportunity to critically engage with key topics, get early feedback & prepare for essay2
Essay2M803000 words (+/-10%) including quotations and notes but excluding bibliography.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessed essay before Easter provides opportunity for students to engage with the course material and to study other literature on the subject. It also gives them the chance to demonstrate understanding of sociolinguistic and social science concepts and the ability to structure an argument in writing. There will also be formative oral presentations by students in the seminar sessions.

Reading Lists