Department:Linguistics and English Language
Course Convenor:Professor JV Culpeper
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The student must take 1 modules from the following group:
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CMod descriptionback to top
The focus of this course is the English language today.
In lectures, seminars and workshops we shall look at different varieties of
English, both in terms of the user (e.g. the speaker's region of origin, age,
social class) and the purpose for which the language is used (e.g. for
persuasion, for aesthetic reasons, to change or maintain the status quo). We
shall look at the way in which culture is reflected in language. A feature of
this course will be the use of natural language data.
Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabusback to top
The main focus of LING 130 is on variation in present-day English. We will look at, for example, variation in speech (e.g. accents), vocabulary and structures (e.g. dialects and registers), conversational acts (e.g. ways of making requests), and discourse (e.g. ways of talking in a group). We will also consider a variety of English characterised by lack of variation (i.e. standard written English), and the effect of globalisation on English. Within topic areas, we will focus on aspects that are distinctive features of English compared with other closely related languages (e.g. German, French, Italian). For example, we will consider why it is that English has a more complex spelling system, more diphthongs (such as in the vowel of 'boat'), and less speaker-overlap in conversations compared with Italian (i.e. where everybody can seem to talk at once!). The course runs in Term 1 only and is assessed by one essay and an end of year examination in the summer term.
Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skillsback to top
- To consider variation in present-day English (e.g. accents, dialects, registers), focusing both on more traditional areas of language (e.g. lexis, grammar) and areas that have only recently been explored (e.g. conversational acts, discourse);
- To consider aspects that are distinctive of English compared with other closely related languages (e.g. German, French, Italian);
- To encourage a critical attitude towards 'facts' about English;
- To introduce some basic linguistic descriptive frameworks, and gain some practice in applying them;
- To introduce different ways of studying the English language.
Curriculum Design: Select Bibliographyback to top
Preparatory reading (prior to arrival):
- K. Ballard, The Frameworks of English (Palgrave, 2001)
- A. Hughes and P. Trudgill, English Accents and Dialects (Arnold, 1987)