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Linguistics Options for students of modern languages (Two Subject Moderatorships)

These options are available to Senior Freshman and Junior and Senior Sophister students in the Departments of French, Germanic Studies, Hispanic Studies, Irish and Celtic Languages, Italian and Russian on conditions laid down by those departments.

Available options are:

  • Aspects of Written Language (Dr Sarah Sheridan)
  • Language learning (Dr De Angelis)
  • Sociolinguistics (Dr Colasanti)
  • Aspects of Vocabulary (Dr Uí Dhonnchadha)

LIU33002 Aspects of Written Language (5 ECTS credits, Michaelmas Term)

This module examines the phenomenon of written language from a range of perspectives. It begins by exploring the beginnings and historical development of writing, in the process considering the ways in which different writing systems (e.g., logographic scripts, syllabaries, and alphabets) represent different aspects of language. Further points of discussion are the debate around the social and individual consequences of literacy; the orthography of English; the mental processes involved in reading; written texts as coherent communicative acts; differences between the language of speech and the language of writing; and the relationship between written language and communication technologies.

Assessment: Students are assessed by a mid-term presentation (50%) and a 2,500-word assignment (50%)

LIU33001 Language Learning (5 ECTS credits, Michaelmas Term)

This module introduces students to key issues in foreign language learning in formal contexts. Topics covered include theories of language learning, research findings in relation to successful and unsuccessful learners, the role of the mother tongue.

Recommended readings:

  • Cook, V. and Singleton, D. (2014) Key Topics in Second Language Acquisition. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  • Ellis, R. and Shintani, N. (2014) Exploring Language Pedagogy through Second Language Acquisition Research. London: Routledge.
  • Mitchell, R., Myles, F and Marsden, E. (2013) Second Language Learning Theories. Third Edition. Abingdon: Routledge.

Assessment: Write three 1000-word essays in response to three weekly topics, including references to the assigned readings as well as the classroom lecture.

Compile the essays and submit them together at the end of the term (on the assigned date).

LI33004 Sociolinguistics (5 ECTS credits, Hilary Term)

Sociolinguistics is the systematic study of language as a social phenomenon. The way that an individual speaks is determined by many factors, such as:

(a) where they are from
(b) how old they are
(c) who they are speaking with at a particular time
(d) who they generally speak with
(e) what they think about how others speak

This class is a hands-on exploration of how social factors influence the way that language is used. We investigate variation that occurs in language and how languages change. Some of the topics we cover include regional variation, language attitudes, multilingualism, social networks, and language contact.

Assessment: Argumentative Essay (100%) Students will be assessed on the basis of one 3,000 word argumentative essay. Details on the essay guidelines will be provided by Teaching week 5.

LIU33003 Aspects of Vocabulary (5 ECTS credits, Hilary Term)

This module will attempt to demonstrate that almost everything in language is related in some way or other to words and that, conversely, the lexical dimension of language needs to be conceived of as rather more than just a list of lexical items. The topics to be explored in this connection will include: the nature of the lexicon, lexis and syntax, lexis and morphology, lexical partnerships, lexis and meaning, lexis and phonology, lexis and orthography, lexical variation, lexical change, and lexical acquisition.

Textbook: D. Singleton, Language and the Lexicon: An Introduction. London: Edward Arnold, 2000.

Assessment: Students are required to submit a term essay of 4,000 words.