Social Variation in English (Q1078)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

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.


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


30%: Coursework (Problem set)
70%: Examination (Take away paper)

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 2023/24. 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: