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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Language Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Language Variation & Change (LASC11098)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaLanguage Sciences Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe aim of the course is to become familiar with the main approaches to research in the paradigm of variationist sociolinguistics.

Its objectives include:
- Survey qualitative and quantitative approaches to the study of language variation
- Explore ideologies of language and society
- Understand better how social identities relate to language, power and authority
- Understand better how language use and attitudes to language in use provide complementary pictures of variation

The course explores issues in sociolinguistic studies of language variation and change. These include:
- the importance of change over time in a community
- the potential for change across an individual's lifespan
- the relationship between social identities like gender or social class and variation in language use
- how sociolinguistic methods inform the study of language contact and dialect levelling

This may include in-class training in use of the software package most widely-used in variationist sociolinguistics.

There is an emphasis on collaborative learning strategies - lectures will be supplemented with numerous in-class exercises and discussions, and course participants will work on their final project in a small group.

Readings, lectures and exercises are also supported by regular brief writing exercises in which students are encouraged to relate academic work to their direct observations and experiences in the world.

There will be one two-hour lecture meeting, and a weekly one hour tutorial in which students will work in small groups on data analysis. There will be a mini-seminar at the end of the semester when participants present some original work to the rest of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Undertake a study of language variation
- Synthesise data from a variety of sources
- Explain how language variation relates to language change
- Explain how language variation relates to social stratification of society
- Illustrate with appropriate examples how language variation and ideologies about language and language users interact
Assessment Information
? Reader responses to three key articles (10%)
? In-class or take home test (40%)
? Final project/assignment of 3000-5000 words (50%)
Special Arrangements
The course will be taught every other year in semester 1. It will share lectures with the undergraduate course Sociolinguistics (U00328).

Enrolment is open to MSc students who already have training in sociolinguistics. It cannot be combined with the 10 credit MSc Introduction to Sociolinguistics.
Admission to this course will be subject to proof of adequate preparation and by agreement of the course instructor.
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Miriam Meyerhoff
Tel: (0131 6)51 1836
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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