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

Postgraduate Course: Language Variation and Change MSc (LASC11141)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will approach the topic of language variation and change. The topics studied on the course will vary based on the on-going research of the course organisers.
Course description Students taking this course will be exposed to contemporary research on variation in a diverse range of languages, and will be expected to engage with research covering some of the following topics:

- complex linguistic data from a range of languages (not solely English).
- diachronic processes of change and the social factors involved in them.
- patterns of synchronic, inter-dialectal variation in specific present-day languages.
- language-internal and language-external factors affecting variation.
- sound change and phonetic variation.
- patterns of variation and change affecting morphosyntax.
- empirical methodologies including experimental research and statistical analysis techniques.

At the end of the course, you will have gained an overview of some main areas of research around the area of focus chosen for the course, and you will be well-placed to carry out further work on topics related to those covered in the course.
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 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 27, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 169 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assignment 1: 40%
Assignment 2: 60%
Feedback Formative feedback in the form of briefing sessions for the two assessment components will be provided.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. recognise and describe the relationship between diachronic changes, structural properties of present-day languages, and patterns of variation observed in the present
  2. demonstrate an understanding of patterns of linguistic diversity within and across languages
  3. recognise and have a critical understanding of methods in the documentation and study of patterns of social variation in areas such as phonetics and morphosyntax
  4. demonstrate the ability to understand and critically evaluate primary literature on language variation and change, and a knowledge of current issues within the discipline
  5. demonstrate an understanding of how techniques of linguistic analysis at the forefront of the main theoretical subdisciplines can be applied to variation data
Reading List
Chambers, J. K. & Schilling, Natalie (Eds.). (2013). The Handbook of Language Variation and Change. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.

Hall-Lew, Lauren, Moore, Emma, & Podesva, Robert J. (2021). Social Meaning and Linguistic Variation: Theorizing the Third Wave. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kiesling, Scott F. (2011). Linguistic Variation and Change. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Stanford, James N. & Preston, Dennis R. (2009). Variation in Indigenous Minority Languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will use their personal and intellectual autonomy to critically evaluate ideas, evidence and experiences from an open-minded and reasoned perspective.

Students will develop use of skilled communication to enhance their understanding of a topic or context and to engage effectively with others.

Students will develop their skills in research and enquiry to identify and creatively tackle problems, and to seek out opportunities for learning.
Keywordslanguage variation and change,contemporary research,languages
Course organiserDr Lauren Hall-Lew
Tel: (0131 6)51 1836
Course secretaryMs Sasha Wood
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