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SEL3094 : Accents of English

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Danielle Turton
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module explores the phonological, phonetic and sociolinguistic features of accents of English. We'll be looking at the particular sounds which differentiate varieties of English, and how to identify linguistic and social factors which may play a role in shaping this variation. Each week, we'll focus on a different aspect of English accents, including particular sounds, phonological processes, and aspects of accent spoken in particular geographical areas. We'll be using quantitative methods to look at variation in particular accents, as well as more advanced phonetic tools available in linguistics.

Outline Of Syllabus

- Introduction to Accents of English: phonology and socio-historical overview
- Theoretical approaches to language change (Neogrammarian, lexical diffusion)
- Vowels: lexical sets, monophthongs, diphthongs, shifts, splits and mergers
- Liquids: rhoticity and other realisations of /r/ and /l/
- Other consonantal variation (including t-glottalling, th-fronting, h-dropping)
- American English and varieties around the world
- Language change across the lifespan
- Articulatory phonetics
- Quantitative measures
- How to run a research project

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion801:0080:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Computer cluster seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study841:0084:00Guided reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The mix of teaching methods is geared towards developing knowledge of key theoretical concepts in lecture, whilst delivering quantitative and analytical led-teaching in the seminars.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M251000 word report
Research paper1A753000 word research paper (option of conducting project in pairs, 4500 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1MData analysis task
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formative assessment will help students prepare for the mid-term assessment.

The mid-term assessment will require students to demonstrate their data analysis skills using cutting-edge linguistic software, as well as presenting their results using their quantitative skills. The write-up of their final project will test students' ability to run their own research project, and show independent analysis and interpretation of their findings.

The option of conducting to final project in twos allow those more comfortable with group work to hone their teamworking skills and produce a more in-depth piece of analysis, whilst also allowing those who prefer to work alone to do so.

Reading Lists