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Topics in Language Variation & Change - LAN00057M

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. George Bailey
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2021-22

Module aims

The module provides advanced students with an opportunity to go into depth in a number of discrete areas of language variation and change, building on prior knowledge of these areas, but also introducing new areas which are less well known. The focus is on language and dialect contact and speech community type. The module is intended to support students preparing dissertation proposals in Language Variation and Change.

Module learning outcomes

Students will develop an in-depth understanding of a number of sociolinguistic issues in language change

Students will be able to critically evaluate theories about social motivations for language change

Students will improve their ability to critically read and present research articles


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback


Indicative reading

Essential preliminary reading:

Kerswill, Paul (2004). Social dialectology/Sozialdialektologie. In Klaus Mattheier, Ulrich Ammon & Peter Trudgill (eds.) Sociolinguistics/Soziolinguistik. An international handbook of the science of language and society, 2nd edn., Vol 1. Berlin: De Gruyter. 22 33. [A introduction to Labovian sociolinguistic theory]

Background reading:

Tagliamonte, Sali (2011). Variationist sociolinguistics: Change, observation, interpretation. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. Chapter 2 (pp. 25-65). [An overview of some of the areas covered.].

Recommended reading:

Chambers, J.K. (2003). Sociolinguistic Theory, 2nd edn. Oxford: Blackwell.Milroy, L. & Gordon, M. (2003). Sociolinguistics. Method and Interpretation. Oxford: Blackwell.

Labov, William (2007). Transmission and diffusion. Language 83: 344-387.

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.