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SML1019 : Introduction to Linguistics

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Damien Hall
  • Lecturer: Professor Ian MacKenzie, Dr Carol Fehringer
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


In consonance with the overall aims of the degrees offered in the SML, this module aims to provide students with a broad-based introduction to linguistics using data mainly from French, German, and Spanish. It provides a basic introduction to the scientific study of human language. Students will be introduced to the description of French, German, or Spanish, especially to phonetic transcription and some basic tools for the description of the respective sound system, word structure and sentence structure. In Semester 2 more general topics such as sociolinguistics and historical linguistics will be explored.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lectures and seminars alternate.

Topics covered will include most of the following (precise details could vary according to staff availability):
historical linguistics
sociolinguistics: language contact
sociolinguistics: language variation

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture72:0014:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching161:0016:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1166:00166:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

General linguistics concepts are introduced in lectures which are then applied to French, German and Spanish in seminars. The seminars give the students the opportunity to examine the linguistic structure of their chosen language through regular exercises, discussion and group work.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M30Class test
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MPractice transcription
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written in-class test will assess factual and technical knowledge, while the final examination will also assess analytical skills and self-expression. The overall assessment package aims to ensure both subject-specific knowledge development and the consolidation of core transferrable skills.

The formative assessment is a practice transcription in Semester 1.

Reading Lists