The details
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
09 October 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA QP10 English Language with Media Communication,
BA QP11 English Language with Media Communication (Including Year Abroad),
BA QP12 English Language with Media Communication (Including Placement Year),
BA QP13 English Language with Media Communication (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

In this module we cover the principles of sociolinguistic theory. We look at how language is actually used, how people feel about it-- how the two are often opposed. We cover language attitudes and linguistic ideologies; how they emerge, how they affect language behaviour and society. We also explore the relationship between language variation, language change and social factors (social class, age, gender etc.). We see how social identity illuminates variation in language and learn about such topics as linguistic diffusion, dialect contact, sociolinguistic style and social meaning.

Module aims

To familiarise students with:
• The basic principles of sociolinguistics and language variation and change.
• The role of social factors in linguistic variation and change
• How and why different varieties and features of language spread, change or disappear.
• The key findings of variationist sociolinguistics, examining language variation and the social, linguistic & contextual characteristics which help to shape it.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, you should have:
• Knowledge of the principles of sociolinguistic theory
• Ability to follow and contribute to discussions about language and society
• An informed view of why and how languages vary and change
• Knowledge of the key principles relating to language attitudes and ideologies
• Competence in reading and evaluating sociolinguistic research papers

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Weekly 2-hour lecture/seminar


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay     

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Marisa Brook, email: marisa.brook@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Marisa Brook
marisa.brook@essex.ac.uk, Office 4.207, Number 2286



External examiner

Mr Conrad Hechter Heyns
Goldsmiths, University of London
Director - Centre for Academic Language and Literacies
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Language and Linguistics

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