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  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
    • Convenor: Dr Kinga Kozminska
    • Assessment: an essay of 3500-4000 words (100%)

    Module description

    In this module we introduce you to sociolinguistics, the study of language in society or the study of society through linguistics. We examine how language is used in, and shapes, social contexts by reviewing classic studies in language variation and change, language contact and multilingualism, interactional sociolinguistics, language ideological research and ethnography of communication. We discuss the different methodologies used in the field as well as the latest research projects and ideas circulating within sociolinguistics.

    Throughout the module, we reflect on the changing assumptions, objects of analysis and methods in sociolinguistics and think how sociolinguistic research can address real-world issues.

    Indicative syllabus

    • What is sociolinguistics?
    • Speech communities, social networks and sociolinguistics of variation
    • Language, gender and sexuality
    • Stylistic practice, indexicality and language ideology
    • Language, ethnicity and race
    • Language choice
    • Pidgins, creoles and world Englishes
    • Shift, maintenance and ‘death’
    • Language, power and agency
    • Future directions

    Learning objectives

    By the end of this module, you will be able to: 

    • understand the interdisciplinary nature of the field of sociolinguistics, its various research methodologies, tools, concepts and explanations.
    • identify and critically assess key themes, projects and real-life consequences of sociolinguistic debates and studies
    • reflect on the changing assumptions, methodologies and objects of analysis, and link them to discussions in social and linguistic theory more broadly
    • engage with a wide range of literature on selected topics, and seminar discussions, making substantiated claims about key topics for contemporary society.