Language Variation (820Q1)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

This module provides you with an introduction to topics in and approaches to language variation, focussing primarily on regional and social variation.

In the first part of the module discusses aspects of regional variation in terms of phonology (accents), grammar and lexicon. The second part introduces you to main aspects of social variation, namely social class, age, gender and ethnicity, and the means of analysing them. In the third part, you will cover fundamental theories of language change, both linguistic and sociolinguistic, looking at how variation within a speech community can lead to change in the following generations, and how regional variation is shaped by such change.

While there will be a focus on variation in English, other languages will also be used for comparison and illustration, whenever appropriate.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay, Report)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.