Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE English in Society 2

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION English in Society 2 is a second level study-unit whose focus is the study of languages in bilingual contexts.

Although seemingly monolingual, most countries in the world are multilingual. In view of the linguistic diversity present in many societies and the fact that language is the most significant marker of a person's identity, this study-unit will discuss interaction patterns with an emphasis on English language use. Topics covered include issues and factors affecting language choice in bilingual societies and the fact that language is one of the most important markers of a person's identity; how the linguistic landscape reflects the use of languages both in vitro (government) and in vivo (private); bilingualism around the world and the concomitant widespread use of code-switching among bilingual speakers. Other areas that will be discussed regard the importance of both language policy and language management in bilingual countries and the effectiveness of immersion programmes.

Study-unit Aims:

(i) To familiarise students with both extensiveness and importance of bilingualism around the world;
(ii) To help students reflect on the differences between de facto as opposed to de jure bilingual countries;
(iii) To allow students to ponder on why code-switching is so common in many societies and not just those that are officially bilingual;
(iv) To enable students to appreciate the challenges that officially bilingual countries face and the need for governments of such countries to implement sound language policy measures in different domains, particularly at school;
(v) To allow students to reflect on the prominence of certain languages in the linguistic landscape of bilingual countries.

Learning Outcomes:

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

(i) Critically evaluate the differences between de jure and de facto bilingual societies;
(ii) Recognise the different forms of code-switching and the reasons why code-switching is so common in most societies;
(iii) Appreciate how the linguistic landscape is a reflection of the values attached to particular languages in bilingual societies;
(iv) Critically evaluate research on language policy and language planning;
(v) Evaluate the practices and policies of immersion programmes.

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

(i) Evaluate the different bilingual programmes on offer in North America;
(ii) Apply theories of language policy and language management to Malta's bilingual situation;
(iii) Appraise the reasons why it is so easy for bilinguals to code-switch in particular contexts;
(iv) Evaluate the importance of the linguistic landscape as a marker of the status some societies attach to some languages and not others.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Textbooks:

- Baker, C. (2011). Foundations of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
- Scollon, R. and Wong Scollon, S. (2003). Discourse in Place: Language in the Material World. London: Routledge.
- Shohamy, E., and D. Gorter. (2009). Linguistic Landscape: Expanding the Scenery. London: Routledge.
- Spolsky, B. (2009). Language Management. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Supplementary Textbooks:

- Backhaus, P. (2007). Linguistic Landscapes: A Comparative Study of Urban Multilingualism in Tokyo. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
- Gardner-Chloros, P. (2009). Code-switching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Shohamy, E., and D. Gorter. (2009). Linguistic Landscape: Expanding the Scenery. London: Routledge.
- Tedick, D., Christian, D. and Williams Fortune, T. (eds.). (2011). Immersion Education: Practices, Policies, Possibilities. New York: Multilingual Matter.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-Requisite Study-unit: ENG1080


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

LECTURER/S Lydia Sciriha

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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.