Accessibility statement

Methods in language variation and change



In this module, you will develop research skills for studying sociolinguistic phenomena, and particularly language variation and change. This course will walk you through the process of carrying out a research project, from the logic of selecting a variable to study through to data analysis. The course will be very 'hands on'. Much of your work for the course will be done in seminars and in partial collaboration with your classmates.

This module will be capped at 20.



Students must have successfully completed:

  •  L10I Intermediate language variation and change (LAN00010I)

Information for visiting students: The teaching of this module assumes some knowledge of appropriate methods for undertaking research in sociolinguistics (data collection, analysis and presentation). If students have not studied sociolinguistics in their home institution, this course may not be appropriate.



Contact hours

Three hours per week.

Teaching programme

Classes will consist of lectures and discussions in which you will have the opportunity to talk about your personal observations and intuitions regarding language in use. Data analysis will be facilitated by providing students with access (following standard ethical guidelines) to the York Corpus. A detailed course outline will be provided at the beginning of the course.

Suggestions for reading before the module starts

  • Milroy. L. & Gordon, M. (2003) Sociolinguistics: method and interpretation. Oxford: Blackwell.

Assessment and feedback

Assessment and feedback

Feedback on formative work

There are a number of formative homework exercises for completion during the module. Students receive feedback on each of these in teaching sessions and in the form of brief individual written feedback.

Assessment and feedback

  • A research proposal, due Week 5 of Autumn Term 
    • Length: 1,000 words
    • Weight: 15%
    • Feedback: mark on university mark scale and written comments to be returned within two weeks of submission
  • A presentation   
    • Weight: 15%
    • Feedback: mark on university mark scale and written comments to be returned within three weeks 
  • A final project, due Week 1 of Spring Term 
    • Length: 3,000 words
    • Weight: 70%
    • Feedback: mark on university mark scale and written comments to be returned within three weeks of submission


Transferable skills developed in this module

All modules provide an opportunity to work on general oral/written communication skills (in class and in assessments) and general self management (organising your studies), alongside the specific skills in language or linguistics that the module teaches.

In addition, this module will allow you to undertake a research project of your own devising. In doing this you will have the opportunity to develop your research abilities, including the formulation of research questions and data elicitation and analysis techniques. The module will develop your skills in working independently. It will also further your time management skills. These are skills which are essential in most professional roles.

Follow this link to hear how past students use transferable skills from their degree in their current jobs.

About this module

  • Module name
    Methods in language variation and change
  • Course code
    E/L06H (LAN00006H)
  • Teachers
    Vincent Hughes
  • Term(s) taught
  • Credits