Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE English in Society 1

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION English in Society 1 is the first study-unit which gives a broad introduction to the importance of the English language in today's society. However, before introducing students to the theories and research in language in its social context, lectures will be given to give students on morphology, grammar and phonetics so as to equip them with the necessary tools for the analysis of language.

In addition, this study-unit discusses linguistic, dialectal and stylistic variation in different English-speaking communities. It also dwells on how varieties of English may reflect the social stratification of their speakers. Other topics that will be discussed during the course of the lectures include, the standard English debate and systems of address, language attitudes around the world.

Study-unit Aims:

(i) To equip students with basic linguistic tools (morphology, grammar and phonetics) for the analysis of language in society;
(ii) To help students reflect on their use of forms of address in both formal and informal situations;
(iii) To familiarise students regarding the ideology of standard English;
(iv) To allow students the opportunity to discuss how the particular use of some linguistic variables may also the speaker's social class, age and gender.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

(i) Critically evaluate the theories and research on language attitudes;
(ii) Recognise the linguistic variables which are prestigious and those which are highly stigmatised;
(iii) Appreciate how different varieties of English use different words which reflect a British English or an American English usage;
(iv) Critically evaluate research on gender differences in speech.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

(i) Evaluate the different prescriptive views on Standard English;
(ii) Appraise the interaction patterns of participants who belong to different age groups and socio-economic categories;
(iii) Apply theories on language attitudes;
(iv) Evaluate whether there are noteworthy speech differences in male/female dyads.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Textbooks:

- Edwards, J. (2013). Sociolinguistics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Fromkin, V., Rodman, R. and Hyams, N. (2013). An Introduction to Language. Boston MA: Heinle and Heinle Publishers Inc.
- Wardhaugh, R. and Fuller, J. (2014) Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

Supplementary Reading:

- Coates, J. (1993). Women, Men and Language. London: Longman.
- McMahon, A. (2002). An Introduction to English Phonology. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- Milroy, J. and Milroy, L. (1985). Authority in Language: Investigating language prescription and standardisation. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
- Thomas, L. and Wareing, S. (1999). Language, Society and Power. London: Routledge.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Lydia Sciriha

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.