MA Translation and Interpreting Studies

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Multilingualism and Language Policy

Course unit fact file
Unit code ICOM60082
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit explores the topics of multilingualism and language policy, with a focus on both the theoretical and practical implications on language use at the individual and community levels.

Recent scholarship and research recognises that both now and historically, multilingualism of various types has been a key feature of communication. Further, the identity-related and ideological functions of language and language choice in different settings, and related language policies, are gaining increasing recognition. The course unit engages critically with current and foundational research on these topics, with a view to critically consider the functions of national and institutional language policy making and its impact on institutional and social settings.

As a whole, this course unit focuses on developing a basic understanding of core concepts such as multilingualism, language ideologies, language policies and planning, language attitudes, linguae francae, and key theories related to these concepts. 

It will also consider the relationship between multilingualism (as an individual and social phenomenon), language policy, and intercultural identity, as well as exploring ways to research multilingually. At its core, this course unit aims to provide students with an understanding of the interconnectivity of the role of language policy in constructing nations and imagined communities, and how it shapes and impacts multilingualism both individually and socially.


Available on which programme(s)?   

 MA in Intercultural Communication, MA in Translation and Interpreting Studies
Available as Free Choice (UG) or to other programmes (PG)?     No
Available to students on an Erasmus programme     No
Prerequisite unit    ICOM70201
Medium of language  English



  • To provide students with a critical understanding of multilingualism in a historical perspective
  • To enable students to understand the impact of language policy in macro and micro settings (e.g. national, institutional, and social settings).  
  • To develop students’ understanding of language policy and planning, and how it shapes and impacts multilingualism at both the social and individual level.
  • To enable students to engage with current research and theorizing about multilingualism, and responses to multilingualism.
  • To deepen students’ understanding of how language use and multilingual practices connect to the development and maintenance of cultures of various kinds.
  • To develop students’ understanding of how multilingualism and intercultural communication are interconnected.
  • To develop students’ awareness of the relationship between theory and practice.
  • To develop students’ familiarity with different approaches to researching multilingually, and the analysis of data concerning communication in multilingual and intercultural institutional and social environments.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of the course unit, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate a firm grasp of key historical and contemporary arguments and theories regarding language use and multilingualism;
  • illustrate their understanding of the role of language in the functioning of nations, institutions and social communities, including how language practices connect to culture in these contexts;
  • critically discuss, with reference to current research, the impact of language policy and multilingualism on the functioning of such institutional and social settings; 
  • engage effectively with debates about multilingualism, intercultural communication, language ideologies and language policies in institutional and social settings, drawing on relevant theories;  
  • understand a range of approaches to data analysis that are useful for the study of multilingual practices, intercultural communication practices, and/or language policy in institutional and social settings 

Intellectual skills

By the end of the course unit, students will be able to: 

  • develop and express a conceptual understanding of multilingualism, multilingual practices, and language policy;
  • critically assess literature on the topic of multilingualism, multilingual practices, and language policy;
  • analyse and evaluate the implications of language ideologies and policy around language in multilingual and intercultural spaces;
  • effectively engage with the theoretically-informed analysis of data featuring multilingual and intercultural practices in institutional and social settings;
  • develop and sustain a coherent argument in appropriately lucid and scholarly terms.

Practical skills

  • Evaluate different perspectives on an argument in order to make informed decisions
  • Select and synthesise literature to back up an argument
  • Prepare and present a poster presentation

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Structure ideas clearly and present a well-structured analysis or argument
  • Work productively and collaboratively in a group
  • Adhere to guidelines and present a professional written product
  • Plan and carry out written assignments to a strict deadline

Employability skills

• Time and project management • Structuring and effectively presenting an argument in writing • Supporting arguments with evidence • Working in a team to deliver on a goal • Applying subject knowledge to critically understand the role played by language and multilingualism in professional and institutional settings

Assessment methods

Assessment task:

1. Asynchronous group poster presentation - 25%

2: Critical essay - 75%


Resit assessment:

Students will be required to resit Assessment 2.

Feedback methods

Feedback method     Formative or Summative
Written feedback on written assignments     Both
Oral feedback on group discussions in class     Formative
Peer feedback through in-class discussions     Formative


Recommended reading

The following list is indicative only. A specific course reading list will be provided to students.

  • Blommaert, Jan (2010) The Sociolinguistics of Globalisation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Codó, Eva & Maria Rosa Garrido (2010) ‘Ideologies and Practices of Multilingualism in Bureaucratic and Legal Advice Encounters’, Sociolinguistic Studies 4(2): 297–332.
  • Duchêne, Alexandre, Melissa Moyer & Celia Roberts (eds) (2013) Language, Migration and Social Inequalities: A critical sociolinguistic perspective on institutions and work, Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  • Gramling, David (2016) The Invention of Monolingualism, New York, London: Bloomsbury.
  • Heller, Monica (2007) ‘Distributed Knowledge, Distributed Power: A sociolinguistics of structuration’, Text and Talk, 27(5–6): 633–653. 
  • Martin-Jones, Marilyn, Adrian Blackledge and Angela Creese (2012) Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism, London: Routledge.
  • Smith, Dorothy (2001) ‘Texts and the Ontology of Organizations and Institutions’, Studies in Cultures, Organizations and Societies, 7(2), 159–198.
  • Wodak, Ruth, Michal Krzyzanowski, and Bernhard Forchtner (2012) ‘The Interplay of Language Ideologies and Contextual Cues in Multilingual Interactions: Language choice and code-switching in European Union institutions’, Language in Society, 41: 157–186.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 128

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Hanain Brohi Unit coordinator

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