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SEL2091 : Sociolinguistics

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Daniel Duncan
  • Lecturer: Professor Karen Corrigan
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module builds on the knowledge of language variation & change and data analysis skills obtained in SEL1032 in order to develop a fuller understanding of sociolinguistics. It introduces this domain of linguistics from two perspectives:
•Microsociolinguistics, the study of language variation and change at the level of individuals, groups, and communities. With particular emphasis on the framework of variationist sociolinguistics, the module explores how linguistic variation is influenced by societal factors like social class and ethnicity.
•Macrosociolinguistics, the study of language at the societal level. With particular emphasis on the sociology of language, the module explores how society shapes broader linguistic outcomes like language maintenance or shift, language endangerment, and the development of pidgins and creoles.
This module refines data analysis skills by further developing quantitative reasoning skills. It adds basic inferential statistics to the analytical toolkit and explores how these are used to refine and test linguistic hypotheses.

Outline Of Syllabus

Two major themes are addressed:
•Language variation and change within individuals and speech communities
•Societal influences on and attitudes toward language status
Specific topics include:
•The variationist paradigm
•Key patterns of language-external influences on language variation and change
•Sociolinguistic fieldwork methods
•Language attitudes and ideologies
•Outcomes of language contact

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion148:0048:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading163:0063:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity120:0020:00inc. 10 hours directed groupwork
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study126:0026:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SEL8163Language and Society
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

LECTURES: Will be used, primarily, to impart information and provide overall coherence for the module.

SEMINARS: Will be used, primarily, to build skills in linguistic analysis and examine concepts in depth.

STUDY GROUPS: Between the lecture and the seminar, students will participate in self-directed online study groups where they will discuss topics relevant to the module.

SURGERIES: Will be provided for students throughout the module (particularly with regard to problems encountered with the fieldwork and plans for other assignments).

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M50Data collection and analysis assignment, 1250 words in total.
Written exercise1A501750 word essay
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises1MN/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

-The formative problem solving exercises prepare students for the quantitative analysis in Written exercise 1.
-The data collection and analysis assignment is required to assess an understanding of fieldwork and data collection/analysis skills that will be relevant to future independent research.
-Written exercise 2 assesses written communication skills; analytical/problem solving skills; critical thinking/conceptual understanding/knowledge and ability to construct a logical argument.

Reading Lists