Undergraduate prospectus

Course Information

Language, Communication and Society

Module summary

Module code: LING1022
Level: 4
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Sarah Liszka / Maria Arche



The course aims to help students to:

• Reflect on the relationship between culture, society and language;
• Gain an understanding of key concepts in sociolinguistics;
• Develop skills of critical sociolinguistic analysis and apply these to different kinds of spoken and written texts and formats;
• Acquire the basic tools for pragmatic and discursive analysis;
• Explore the relationship between linguistic form and intentions.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

Learning Outcome
1 Demonstrate an awareness of how the relationship between language, society and culture can influence linguistic communication.
2 Understand how pragmatic issues are investigated.
3 Explain the key concepts and issues in linguistic communication from:
a. a sociolinguistic perspective and
b. a pragmatic perspective.
4 Apply theoretical work in sociolinguistics and pragmatics to creative material where language is the tool used (e.g. marketing, media, translation, teaching).
5 Analyse, reflect upon and manipulate linguistic data from
a. a sociolinguistic perspective and
b. a pragmatic perspective.
6 Undertake small scale research projects and report the findings in written form effectively.

Indicative content

In the first term the focus is on the study of language in its social setting, i.e. the relationship between language, culture and society from a sociolinguistic perspective. It considers the interaction of region of origin, social class, gender, age and ethnicity with language users in different social contexts. It also examines topics such as language and power, and language and sexism. In the second terms, the basic notions of language and communication (Pragmatics) are introduced to reflect on and discuss how language works in human relations (e.g. how it can be used and manipulated to attract the attention and direct the intention of the interlocutor). All key concepts across the two terms are studied and analysed using material taken from a variety of media including interviews, conversational interaction, advertisements and political speeches.

Teaching and learning activity

The course consists of a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar each week. Learning and teaching activities include a mixed pattern of lectures and seminars, class discussions, groupwork /pairwork and independent study.


Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment Essay
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment:1, 3a, 4, 5a, 6.
Weighting % 30
Pass Mark 40
Word Length 2000 words
Outline Details: An essay involving recognition, description, analysis & application of key topics in Sociolinguistics.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment Portfolio
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment:2, 3b, 4, 5b.
Weighting % 30
Pass Mark 40
Word Length 2000 words
Outline Details: A portfolio of tasks relating to key topics in Pragmatics.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment Exam
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment:1, 2, 3 , 5b.
Weighting % 40
Pass Mark 40
Word Length n/a
Outline Details: A 2-hour exam with 2 questions: Part A: Sociolinguistics, Part B: Pragmatics.