BA Linguistics and Social Anthropology

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
The Study of the Speech Community: Manchester English

Course unit fact file
Unit code LELA30522
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course introduces students to the practice of quantitative sociolinguistics and urban dialectology. Students, working in groups of four, conduct sociolinguistic interviews with Mancunians of different ages and socio-economic levels in different parts of the city. They analyse their speech, coding the data in Excel and conducting multivariate statistical analyses, and write research papers describing stable phonological variation and tracing sound change in progress in the dialect. The focus is on consonantal variables, such as: T-glottalling, TH-fronting, and H-dropping. Training on the ethics of data collection will be provided.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Variationist Sociolinguistics LELA20502 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Pre-req of LELA20502

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of the course the students should be aware of the methodologies of variationist sociolinguistics; they should have an understanding of the quantitative analysis of linguistic data and of statistical significance testing; they should have an understading of the methods of observing and analysing linguistic change in progress.

Intellectual skills

Students should develop skills in critically judging and evaluating evidence, recognising flaws in arguments, and assessing the merits of contrasting explanations.

Practical skills

Students should be able to conduct sociolinguistic interviews and to analyse linguistic data quantitatively and to evaluate the methodologies used in the studies within the field.  They should be able to apply standard data analysis techniques and background concepts to new data.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students should develop skills in making high-quality audio recordings; they should develop skills in interpreting information presented in the form of diagrams, tables and graphs; they should be able to present new data in the form of tables and graphs; they should be able to apply and interpret the chi-quare test of statistical significance; they should also develop skills of successful self-directed study and research, with appropriate time-management.

Employability skills

The students acquire data analysis skills in MS Excel. They learn methods of data visualisation in MS Excel, and acquire skills in multivariate data analysis (logistic regression). The students develop skills in group work.

Assessment methods

Assessment TaskFormative or SummativeWeighting
Research PaperSummative90%
Quantitative Analysis AssignmentSummative10%
Two interviewsFormative0%
Data Coding Formative 0%
Group PresentationFormative0%


Feedback methods

Feedback method Formative or summative
  • Comments made during class discussion regarding the relevance and coherence of student responses/participation in discussion.
  • Comments made during class discussion regarding data collection and coding.
  • Automated feedback on the statistics quiz on Blackboard.
  • Individualised feedback on the quantitative analysis assignment.
  • Feedback on the research paper via Turnitin.
Formative + summative


Recommended reading

Tagliamonte, S. 2006 Analyzing sociolinguistic variation. Cambridge: CUP.

Articles and book chapters to be specified at the beginning of the course unit.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Maciej Baranowski Unit coordinator

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