Languages of the World (Q1093)

15 credits, Level 4

Autumn teaching

Over 7,000 languages are spoken in the world today. One third are endangered. Two thirds of the world’s languages are spoken in Africa and Asia, and just 23 languages account for half the world’s population. We explore the concepts ‘language’ and ‘dialect’, examining how languages are grouped into families. We then explore language families by each major linguistic area, introducing themes within linguistics including:

  • linguistic diversity
  • endangered languages
  • language universals and linguistic relativity
  • field linguistics
  • language contact
  • official, trade and creole languages
  • language change.

This module offers valuable insights into the central role of language in today’s global society.


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 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.


This module is offered on the following courses: