Language, Self and Society - LING3040

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Eleni Kapogianni checkmark-circle


The course offers an introduction to major themes in sociolinguistics. It will begin by exploring how our notions of 'language', 'dialect' or ‘style’ are constructed, and from there explore notions of ‘correctness’ in language, and their origins. It will then consider how social relationships are reflected and encoded in different languages, for example in kinship terms, terms of address, or politeness forms, and how individuals are placed – or place themselves – socially through their linguistic choices.

The middle part of the module will explore language variation and change, and the social parameters which correlate with them. It will conclude by analysing issues arising from the interplay between language and identity in multilingual societies: bi- and multilingualism, code-switching, language death and its causes, language revival and language revitalisation.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Total Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

• Essay (1,500 words) – 40%
• Group Presentation (15 minutes) – 20%
• Examination (2 hours) – 40%

Reassessment methods

• 100% Coursework (1,500 words)

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Understand and use the basic conceptual terminology of sociolinguistics (e.g. variable, diglossia, code-switching, style, register, variety);
2 Show how language and social factors are inter-related;
3 Understand the significance of sociolinguistic data as presented in charts and graphs;
4 Evaluate critically the social bases for linguistic value judgements;
5 Understand the technical (and ethical) problems of sociolinguistic data collection.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Communicate the results of study and work accurately, with well-structured and coherent arguments in an effective and fluent manner both in speech and in writing, to a
specialist and non-specialist audience;
2 Evaluate and interpret data logically and systematically;
3 Develop their ability to work cooperatively with others, exercising personal responsibility and sensitivity;
4 Demonstrate their ability to undertake independent learning, by taking initiative, being organised and meeting deadlines;
5 Use IT skills to present information effectively; develop and exchange relevant information through the use of shared access to documents and web-based learning;
6 Summarise data and construct cogent arguments on the basis of findings.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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