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

Undergraduate Course: The Grammar of Variation (LASC10091)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryJust like every other area of linguistics you study, speakers¿ knowledge of linguistic variation is complex, and structured. In this course, you¿ll learn about how quantitative probabilities can be combined with linguistic grammars in order to understand language variation, with a focus on language internal factors. Specifically you will learn
- how researchers model linguistic variation using variable rules,
- the basics of how probabilities are calculated and combined,
- how to use the statistical package R to do these analyses.

Each week will consist of 2 hours of lectures or student presentations, and 1 hour of R practicals.

Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: LEL2A: Linguistic Theory and the Structure of English (LASC08017) AND LEL2B: Phonetic Analysis and Empirical Methods (LASC08018)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Completion of practical exercises (10%)
The practical exercises will be associated with learning the R programming language. Feedback will be provided on the students' code, and full credit will be received on submission of each exercise.

1 hour in class exam in week 6 (30%)

Final essay (4,000 words) (60%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
- A foundational understanding of how language internal factors on linguistic variation can be described by grammars.
- A basic understanding of probability, and how it can be applied to linguistic phenomena.
- The ability to load, organise, summarise and visualise data using R.
Reading List
Labov, W. (1969). Contraction, Deletion, and Inherent Variability of the English Copula. Language, 45(4), 715¿762.
Cedergren, H. J., & Sankoff, D. (1974). Variable Rules: Performance as a Statistical Reflection of Competence. Language, 50, 333¿355.
Labov, W. (1989). The child as linguistic historian. Language {V}ariation and {C}hange, 1, 85¿97.
Guy, G. R. (1991). Explanation in variable phonology: An exponential model of morphological constraints. Language Variation and Change, 3(1), 1¿22.
Smith, J., Durham, M., & Fortune, L. (2009). Universal and dialect-specific pathways of acquisition: Caregivers, children, and t/d deletion. Language Variation and Change, 21, 69¿95.
MacKenzie, L. (2013). Variation in English auxiliary realization: A new take on contraction. Language Variation and Change, 25(01), 17¿41. doi:10.1017/S0954394512000257
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Josef Fruehwald
Tel: (0131 6)50 3983
Course secretaryMiss Samantha Bell
Tel: (0131 6)50 3602
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