English and drama

Social Variation in English

Module code: Q1078
Level 5
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework

The module will introduce you to sociolinguistic methods of studying language and to social variation in the use of the English language (and other relevant languages when appropriate). You will focus on important social dimensions of variation, such as age, gender, ethnicity, social class and language use, taking a modern, quantitative approach to social variation. This module will therefore also provide you with an introduction to quantitative methods in linguistics more generally. In addition, you will cover important theories of social variation, such as social network theory, accommodation theory, etc. and discuss the issue of language and power/ideology. Some of your seminars will be organised as workshops, for acquiring practical skills in the description and analysis of variation in language.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate factual knowledge of the interaction between social dimensions and language use.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of sociolinguistic methodology.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the relationship between social variation and power and ideology.
  • Understand and use quantitative methods in linguistic research.