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Directed Readings in Historical Linguistics - LAN00090M

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Joel Wallenberg
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

The module focuses on developing core academic skills while conducting and engaging with primary research: short and long form writing, abstract writing, and critique of current research in the field. The module is split into two thematic parts: topic A and topic B. Each topic will be managed by a different member of staff. From this pool of readings, you will write critiques and an abstract, culminating in an original research essay.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

  • Engage with primary research and conduct independent research

  • Understanding the main theoretical and empirical issues and the competing analyses of specific phenomena within a particular area of historical linguistics and language change

  • Communicate research effectively via a range of modalities

  • Develop core academic skills in communicating research through abstract writing

  • Develop compelling and concise short-form writing through writing critiques of research papers

  • Conduct and communicate independent research by writing a long essay

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, you will be able to:

  • Read and engage with research articles in historical linguistics and language change, broadly understand them and be able to articulate the issues that are addressed and the analysis proposed

  • Communicate research effectively through abstract writing

  • Navigate the differences between short-form and long-form writing

  • Identity a topic of research through the synthesis of key issues in the literature

Module content

This module will be taught by two staff members A and B. Each staff member will assign you 3 readings.

  • Week 1: Staff A contact time, intro & assign 3 readings

  • Week 2: No staff contact, reading & writing

  • Week 3: No staff contact, Formative 1 due

  • Week 4: Staff A contact time, consolidation & feedback

  • Week 5: No staff contact, Summative 1 due

  • Week 6: Staff B contact time, intro 2 & assign 3 readings

  • Week 7: No staff contact, reading & writing

  • Week 8: No staff contact, Formative 2 due

  • Week 9: Staff B contact time, consolidation & feedback

  • Week 10: No staff contact, Summative 2 due

  • Week 11: Meet with Staff 1+2 to discuss essay proposal

  • RA: 4000-word essay due


Task Length % of module mark
Directed Readings in Historical Linguistics essay
N/A 80
Directed Readings in Historical Linguistics paper abstract
N/A 20

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Directed Readings in Historical Linguistics paper abstract reassessment
N/A 20
Directed Readings in Historical Linguistics reassessment essay
N/A 80

Module feedback

Individual written feedback will be provided for all written pieces of work. Weeks 4 and 9 are specifically designated as consolidation and feedback weeks, where you will meet with a member of staff to discuss your formative work and to introduce your upcoming summative work. In week 11, you will meet with both members of staff to discuss your essay proposal.

Indicative reading

Weinreich, Uriel, William Labov, and Marvin Herzog. 1968. Empirical foundations for a theory of language change. In Directions for historical linguistics, ed. W. Lehmann and Y. Malkiel, 95–195. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

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.