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

Postgraduate Course: Introduction to Sociolinguistics (LASC11095)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryAn introduction to variationist sociolinguistics
Course description Sociolinguistics can be defined as the study of language in use. Sociolinguistics research involves describing patterns of language in use and proposing theories to account for those observed patterns, often with recourse to social factors such as the identity of the speaker or the cultural relevance of the speaking context. Descriptive questions include: How do (different) people talk in different contexts, with different addressees, and for different purposes? When do people vary in how they use language, and when do they not vary? Theoretical questions ask why the answers to these questions look the way that they do, attempting to explore why the same sociolinguistic patterns can be seen across different communities and cultures. In short, this course covers research that asks: What motivates speakers to make different linguistic choices? And what communicative and social functions are served by those choices?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 75 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1000 word essay (30%)
2000 word essay (70%)
Feedback Discussion of how to read a linguistics paper, and how to plan a research project.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. develop systematic approaches to studying the differences in how we use language
  2. develop a distinctively linguistic perspective in how we describe and explain what we observe
  3. develop a familiarity with the sociolinguistic literature
Reading List
"What is Sociolinguistics?" by Gerard Van Herk
¿Introducing Sociolinguistics¿ by Miriam Meyerhoff
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The terminology and knowledge that you are simultaneously developing in the core courses on linguistic structure will be extremely useful to you, and as the semester progresses, you should find you can draw on insights from those courses more and more often in your discussion of sociolinguistics.

Similarly, the skills and approaches you are developing in the Introduction to Discourse Analysis are a perfect complement to the skills and approaches we focus on in this course. By the end of the semester, you will be able to synthesise what you have learnt about the qualitative analysis of language in use (discourse analysis) with the quantitative analysis of language in use(our focus in sociolinguistics).
Additional Class Delivery Information Attend all lectures as scheduled
Keywordssociolinguistics,linguistics,language variation,language change
Course organiserDr Josef Fruehwald
Tel: (0131 6)50 3983
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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