Varieties of English

The details
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
11 April 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MRESQ14512 Analysing Language Use,
MA Q16012 English Language and Linguistics

Module description

The module looks at a wide range of variation in the English Language as it is spoken in the UK, North America and the Southern Hemisphere, and discusses associated historical and sociolinguistic issues. The focus is on phonological variation, although salient syntactic, morphological and lexical features are also covered, illustrating with recordings wherever possible

Module aims

• To familiarise students with the concept of diachronic variation in the English language in its historical and sociolinguistic context
• To familiarise students with varieties of English spoken in different parts of the world
• To introduce students to phonological, syntactic, morphological and lexical features of these varieties
• To compare and contrast the different varieties of English in focus and to shed light on their origins
• To provide practice in linguistic analysis, phonetic transcription and elementary auditory training

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able ...
• to identify most regional accents of English and to describe the differences between them.
• to make an intelligent and well-informed contribution to controversies concerning standard vs non-standard English (e.g. in education, broadcasting, etc.).
• to read research papers on variation in English and understand them within a broader perspective.
• to conduct original research of your own into variation in English.

Module information


Learning and teaching methods



  • Wells, J. C.; Cambridge Books Online. (1982) Accents of English: beyond the British Isles, Volume 3, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Walt Wolfram; Natalie Schilling-Estes. (2016) American English: dialects and variation, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. vol. 25
  • Peter Trudgill; Jean Hannah. (2017) International English: a guide to varieties of English around the world, New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Schneider, Edgar W. (2010) English around the world: an introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Graddol, David; Open University. (2007) Changing English, London: Routledge. vol. English language

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 or Small Project     

Additional coursework information


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
Prof Enam Al-Wer, email: enama@essex.ac.uk.
Enam Al-Wer
4.202b, enama@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Vivienne Esther Rogers
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).


Further information
Language and Linguistics

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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