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Language and Identity (Level 7)


Module description

In this module we provide you with a broad survey of historical and contemporary treatments of identity in various branches of applied linguistics, complementing current modules within our programmes. Topics are approached from different perspectives and fields, including: Deaf studies, forensic linguistics, language learning/teaching, linguistic anthropology, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, sociolinguistics, social-psychology, sociocultural and rhetorical research.

We will critically explore theoretical and methodological approaches, the nature of linguistic idiosyncracy and the impact of social engagement on variability in language use and in the construction, negotiation and performance of identity. We will move sequentially from a consideration of individual to group/social identities and will address current debates in applied linguistics and related fields, and the theoretical and practical challenges and benefits of studying identity from various perspectives.

Indicative syllabus

  • Historical and theoretical overview
  • Linguistic idiosyncracy
  • Clinical studies
  • Forensic studies
  • Youth studies
  • Workplace/Professional identities
  • Social media and identity
  • Ethnic and religious identities
  • Gender and sexual identities
  • D/deaf identities
  • Space, place and identity

Learning objectives

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

  • understand, describe and critically engage with the historical treatment of identity in applied linguistics and allied disciplines
  • describe and critically evaluate contemporary research on identity across a range of subdisciplines/areas, notably: clinical linguistics; Deaf studies; forensic linguistics; sociolinguistics
  • appreciate the limitations and strengths of different methodological and analytical approaches
  • describe and apply discursive and linguistic approaches and methods to the analysis of data
  • understand and discuss the importance of the application of the study of identity to ‘real world’ language and communication issues.