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World Englishes - LAN00031I

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Paul Kerswill
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module summary

This module takes a mainly sociolinguistic approach to English as spoken and used around the world, starting with Great Britain, extending the USA, New Zealand and West Africa. We cover topics such as African American English, Creoles and the role of English in globalisation.

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2020-21

Module aims

  • The module will give students a broadly-based knowledge of the range of varieties of English spoken around the world, including their linguistic classification.
  • The module is mainly sociolinguistic in approach, in that it deals with variation (both diachronic and synchronic) in each variety considered.
  • The module emphasises the linguistic systematicity of the cross-variety differences, while seeking common characteristics and trends between the varieties.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will typically:

  • be able to display an understanding of the histories of varieties of English throughout the world;
  • have a detailed knowledge of some aspects of the phonology and grammar of these varieties;
  • have a critical understanding of the widely varying sociolinguistic characteristics of these varieties, including debates about their origins and (changing) political status;
  • be able to describe the socially-based variation that exists in the English as spoken in each of the territories considered;
  • be able to analyse and discuss data from varieties of English presented to them;
  • understand and be able to discuss arguments from different theoretical standpoints relating to the formation, history and current sociolinguistic status of particular varieties, as well as describe some of their linguistic characteristics.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 1500 words
N/A 30
Online Exam
World Englishes
N/A 70

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam
World Englishes
N/A 100

Module feedback

Formative feedback

Written feedback on essay outlines.

Summative feedback

Written feedback on essay within 20 working days. Written comments on exam available to view at sight of scripts session in Spring term.

Indicative reading

Recommended textbook:

Schneider, E. W. (2011). English around the world: an introduction. CUP.

Also recommended:

Melchers, G. & P. Shaw (2011). World Englishes (2nd edition). Arnold.

Other books we will refer to:

Schneider, E. W. (2007). Postcolonial English. CUP.

Kachru, B., Y. Kachru & C. Nelson (2009). The handbook of World Englishes. Blackwell.

Kirkpatrick, A. (2010). Routledge handbook of World Englishes. Routledge.

Cheshire, J. (ed.) (1989). English around the world. CUP.

Foulkes, P. & G. Docherty (eds.) (1999). Urban voices. Arnold.

Britain, D. (ed.) (2007). Language in the British Isles. CUP.

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.