|A||Autumn Term 2017-18|
Academic and graduate skills
Week 2 The conceptual roots of language
Week 3 Holding a conversation
Week 4 Variation in language
Week 5 Grammar: Who needs it?
Week 6 Speaking 1: The sounds of language
Week 7 Speaking 2: Intonation and paralanguage
Week 8 Vocabulary 1
Week 9 Vocabulary 2
Week 10 Being creative
Introduction: The conceptual roots of language
This initial session will begin by considering what learners, teachers and language education researchers need to know about language. The session will introduce the idea of levels of analysis and introduce key concepts and labels. The key concepts will include the speaker-hearer conversation space, ‘distancing’ and ‘embodiment’.
Holding a conversation
The session will explore a number of important features of conversations and how people structure them. The session will cover turn taking, changing topic and repairing conversations. It will also explore more generally how people manipulate conversations in order to achieve particular purposes. The session will, finally, examine why a purely observation-based Conversation Analysis is rarely adequate for examining classroom talk.
Variation in language
The session comprising a lecture and a short follow-up session will introduce briefly the main types of variation which speakers are exposed to, such as variation by sex and interest, idiosyncratic variation and genre, as well as (briefly) questions of chronological change and the problem of accent, dialect and standard language. The close relationship between choosing a variety/variant and making an ‘act of Identity’ will be stressed.
Grammar: Who needs it?
The session will consider how far traditional grammar is relevant or useful in a teaching context. It will examine some of the differences between grammar for writing and grammar for speaking (Is speaking grammatical?). The idea of parts of speech will be reviewed. A selection of ‘interesting’ grammatical structures will be examined and related to the idea of information structure and foregrounding.
Speaking 1: The sounds of language
The first speaking session will review the main types of sound from an articulatory point of view. We will consider the educational impact of topics such as the fact that people hear syllables not segments. The importance of the neural link between articulation mechanisms, quiet rehearsal and (a) interpreting speech and (b) grammar will be noted. A selection of sounds/ syllables of relevance to the English teacher will be examined. The vexed question of English spelling will be touched on; though speech will be treated as primary, the case will be made for seeing writing and speech as interdependent.
Speaking 2: Intonation and paralanguage
This session will briefly examine stress, rhythm, intonation and ‘voice control’. It will explore how speakers bring notions together to express emotions and reactions, like surprise, sarcasm, irritation, brightness etc. The advantages and limits of a simple model of intonation and discourse meaning will be examined. Key features of English intonation (such as stepping up/down and final ‘flicking’) will be explored.
The first vocabulary session will concentrate on the traditional notions. It will consider the status of the word in both spoken and written English and examine some of the traditional ‘lexical relationships’. It will touch on the notion of fixed expressions, formulae, idioms and metonymy.
The second vocabulary session focuses on figurative language, and in particular metaphor.
The final session will (re)consider the nature of innovation, examine why total innovation is rare and establish different degrees of creativity that relate to teaching and learning languages. Ways in which concrete and other types of poetry can be used to help teach (e.g.) vocabulary will be explored. The language of jokes and wordplay will then be examined (hopefully humorously). If there is time, the notion of genre will be taken up again briefly, with (e.g.) newspaper headlines, crosswords and advertisements. The latter will be used to examine the way in which language often operates on numerous levels concurrently.
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The module will be assessed by an essay of 4,000-5,000 words on a topic related to the module content, and demonstrating the learning outcomes.
The module will be reassessed by an essay of 4,000-5,000 words.
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Written feedback on assignment report sheet (within 6 weeks) and face to face feedback in supervisions
Coates, J. (2004). Women, men and language (3rd ed.). London: Longman.
Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980/2003). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: Chicago University press.
Schmitt, N. (Ed.) (2010). An introduction to applied linguistics (2nd ed.). London: Arnold.
Yule, G. (1996). Pragmatics. Oxford introductions to language study. Oxford: OUP.