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Introduction to Sociolinguistics - LAN00010C

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Carmen Llamas
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22
    • See module specification for other years: 2022-23

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2021-22 to Summer Term 2021-22

Module aims

This module covers the basics of sociolinguistics, the subdiscipline of linguistics which deals with linguistic variability and the social use of language, as well as the relationship between these and language change. The aims of this module are:

to give you an awareness of the causes and parameters of variation in language, and the roles of variation in communication

to familiarise you with key concepts, terminology and theories in sociolinguistics, particularly those pertaining to linguistic variation and language change

to introduce the methodologies used to investigate variation

to give you experience in handling data collected from studies of language variation

to give you experience of the kinds of argumentation employed in interpreting empirical data

to allow you to explore how speakers use variation in their own speech to signal social identity, and how they evaluate other speakers identities through their perception of variation

to teach you something of the value of studying variation for the development of linguistic theory

Module learning outcomes

Knowledge outcomes

a general understanding of the causes and effects of linguistic variation and change

a general understanding of methodologies for studying variation and change

a general understanding of how variation is structured geographically, socially and through time, in English and other languages

a general understanding of how studying variation and change contributes to linguistic theory, and vice versa

an awareness of the ethical considerations involved in performing empirical work in the field

Behavioural outcomes

students will learn to identify variation in spontaneous speech

students will be able to identify internal and external constraints on variability

students will be able to handle data quantitatively

students will develop an ability to interpret statistics

students will be able to conduct small scale research on variation


Task Length % of module mark
Project write up
N/A 40
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Introduction to Sociolinguistics
8 hours 60

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Reassessment: Introduction to Sociolinguistics
8 hours 100

Module feedback

Students will receive feedback in accordance with the University's Policy on Assessment Feedback Turnaround Time.

Indicative reading

Meyerhoff, Miriam. (2018). Introducing Sociolinguistics (3rd edition). London: Routledge.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.