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BA English Language and Spanish / Course details
Year of entry: 2024
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Course unit details:
|Linguistics & English Language
|Available as a free choice unit?
The course introduces students to the scientific study of linguistic variation and change, also known as variationist (or quantitative) sociolinguistics. The focus is on variation and changes currently occurring in English. A number of classic and recent studies in the field are reviewed, focussing on the role of linguistic and extra-linguistic factors, such as socio-economic status, gender, age, and region, in language variation and change. The module introduces students to the use and interpretation of quantitative methods of analysis, including tests of statistical significance. Topics also include 2nd-dialect acquisition and language change across the lifespan. The course includes data collection and analysis by students and provides a foundation for further work in variationist sociolinguistics and urban dialectology.
|History and Varieties of English
- to learn about the ways in which the English language varies in the present, and the types of factors (both language-internal and language-external) that may condition that variation. These aims are met through exposure to a number of case studies in the literature as well as through your own data analysis;
- to learn about the effects of age, gender, social class, identity, geographical region, and internal linguistic factors on phonetic, phonological, lexical, and morphosyntactic variables;
- to learn about and experience the different methods by which sociolinguistic data can be gathered;
- to become familiar with statistical tests and methodology for quantitative data analysis in MS Excel.
Knowledge and understanding
- be aware of the central issues in variationist sociolinguistics
- be familiar with and able to comment critically on the major linguistic studies within the field
- have an understanding of the standard methods using in variationist research
- critically judge and evaluate evidence
- recognize flaws in arguments and assess the merits of contrasting explanations
- analyse existing sociolinguistic data and evaluate the methodologies used in the studies within the field
- apply standard data analysis techniques and background concepts to new data
Transferable skills and personal qualities
- interpret information presented in the form of diagrams, tables and graphs
- apply and interpret tests of statistical significance
- successfully conduct self-directed study and research, with appropriate time management
|Field Project: Data collection and quantitative analysis assignment; group submission
|Statistics quiz; online
Formative or summative
Personalized written feedback from course instructors on the fieldwork project submission;
Feedback from instructors during lectures and tutorials
Global feedback in class on the statistics quiz; individual quiz score.
- Labov, William. 2001. Principles of Linguistic Change: Social Factors. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Levon, Erez. 2010. Organising and processing your data: The nuts and bolts of quantitative analysis. In Lia Litosseliti (ed.), Research Methods in Linguistics, 68-92. London: Continuum.
- Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2011. Introducing Sociolinguistics. 2nd edition. London: Routledge
- Tagliamonte, Sali A. 2012. Variationist Sociolinguistics. Change, Observation, Interpretation. Chichester: Wiley-Backwell
|Scheduled activity hours
|Assessment written exam
|Independent study hours