Introduction to Linguistics

PLEASE NOTE: This module is inactive. Visit the Module Directory to view modules and variants offered during the current academic year.

The details
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Foundation/Year Zero: Level 3
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
25 May 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA RQ99 Modern Languages and English Language (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA R8T8 Modern Languages and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA R8T9 Modern Languages with Latin American Studies (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA RT99 Spanish, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA QP13 English Language with Media Communication (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module is designed to prepare students wishing to join a degree course in the Department of Language and Linguistics.

It is also a suitable choice for students who simply have an interest in language and it similarly provides a sound academic background for the study of subjects which rely extensively on proficient use of the English language such as Literature, History, Sociology, and Philosophy.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To introduce and explain linguistic terms.

  • To raise students' awareness of key concepts and issues within the different branches of linguistics and to equip students with the tools to carry out linguistic analyses.

  • To broaden students' knowledge of linguistic theory through the application of theory

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Gain knowledge of the law and be able to define the relevant legal concepts within the syllabus.

  2. Discuss legal issues raised in practical scenarios and identify the liabilities within each topic.

  3. Demonstrate their ability to apply the law in a given situation.

  4. Analyse and critique case law and utilise their ability to identify the judicial interpretation of statute law within cases.

  5. Construct legal arguments and defend arguments. 

Skills for your professional life (Transferable Skills)

By the end of this module, students will have practised the following transferrable skills:

  1. Critical thinking – ability to recognise/verify reliable information, data or sources, and collate, synthesise or draw (logical) conclusions or lessons based on independent (complex) analysis of facts and evidence.

  2. Presentation and communication – the ability to clearly explain and coherently convey ideas or argue a point or challenge/defend a decision/position in verbal or written form.

  3. Problem-solving – ability to create, produce and/or advocate actionable solutions or recommendations and critical decisions for the resolution of difficult or complicated situations (especially by 'thinking outside the box' or 'on your feet').

  4. Organisation management – personal planning for setting targets and prioritisation, managing goals/tasks/expectations, attention to detail, measuring and monitoring progress/outputs.

  5. Resilience and adaptability – capacity to deal with criticism, assess risks, build/retain confidence, appropriately respond/adjust and work/overcome/thrive in diverse, challenging, new or high-pressure environments and conditions.

  6. People – capacity for personal effectiveness, interaction, intercession, empathy, compassion, negotiation, team work, collaboration, flexibility, conflict management, etc.

  7. Commercial and sector awareness – gain insights and critical knowledge of key/current developments within selected practice areas and contexts.

  8. Sustainability awareness – understanding and learning to leverage legal thinking, tools or practices to drive transformative action and promote systemic change or meaningful impact for sustainable development; integrate principles of sustainability (justice) into a wider understanding of the interrelationship between social, economic and environmental impacts, especially in the context of the global economy.

Module information


  • Language change and variation.

  • The words of English (morphology).

  • The sounds of English (phonetics).

  • The grammar of English (syntax).

  • Child first language acquisition.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 2-hour lecture per week.
  • One 2-hour seminar per week.

Teaching and learning on Essex Pathways modules offers students the ability to develop the foundation knowledge, skills, and competencies to study at the undergraduate level, through a curriculum that is purposely designed to provide an exceptional learning experience. All teaching, learning and assessment materials will be available via Moodle in a consistent and user-friendly manner.

Students will be expected to have done the prescribed reading for the sessions so that they can fully participate in discussions. The field of linguistics will be introduced at a level accessible to all students and no prior knowledge of the discipline area is required.

Learning support

Students are expected to engage with Moodle for materials and support activities for their continuous learning opportunities. Students will be supported in their research skills, essay writing, referencing and bibliographical procedures within this discipline. Students are also supported through the Listen Again facility and the use of technology in their teaching and learning. All students will have access to Academic Support Hours.


  • Dörnyei, Zoltán. (2001) Motivational strategies in the language classroom, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Yule, George. (2017) The study of language, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Jennifer A. Zapf; Smith, Linda B. (2007) 'When do children generalize the plural to novel nouns', in First Language. vol. 27 (1)
  • Dörnyei, Zoltán. (2007) Research methods in applied linguistics: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Berko, Jean. (1958-08) 'The Child's Learning of English Morphology', in WORD. vol. 14 (2-3) , pp.150-177
  • Mather, Patrick-André. (2012-12) 'The Social Stratification of /r/ in New York City', in Journal of English Linguistics. vol. 40 (4) , pp.338-356
  • Kit-fong Au, Terry; Glusman, Mariana. (1990) 'The Principle of Mutual Exclusivity in Word Learning: To Honor or Not to Honor?', in Child Development. vol. 61 (5) , pp.1474-1490
  • Guasti, Maria Teresa. (©2016) Language acquisition: the growth of grammar, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
  • Gass, Susan M; Behney, Jennifer; Plonsky, Luke. (2013) Second language acquisition: an introductory course, New York: Routledge.

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

Additional coursework information

Formative assessment

  • Students undertake homework exercises as and when prescribed. Students are expected to share their findings in small groups. Formative feedback will be provided.

Summative assessment

  • Language variation analysis (750 words). This allows students to engage with speech variation and phonetics within a particular setting. It further requires the students to reflect on qualitative research methodology.
  • Phonological classification exercise. Students are required to account for phonological processes such as weak forms, elision and assimilation.
  • Morphology and syntax exercise. Students account for morphological processes such as inflectional and derivational morphology as well as checking theory within the area of syntax.
  • Essay (1,500 words). This essay requires the students to account for a child's first language acquisition by adhering to research in areas such as phonetics/phonology, morphology or syntax.
  • Participation mark. This is based on preparation, engagement with set tasks, contribution to class discussions and pair/group work.

Reassessment strategy

  • Failed Coursework - resubmit a piece of coursework (1,500 words) which will be marked as 100% of the new module mark. The reassessment task will enable the relevant learning outcomes to be met.

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 Ritta Husted, email: rhuste@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Ritta Husted
Becky Humphreys (becky.humphreys@essex.ac.uk or 01206 872217)



External examiner

Miss Jan O'Driscoll
University of Chester
Dean of Lifelong Learning and Director of Foundation Years
Available via Moodle
Of 50 hours, 43 (86%) hours available to students:
7 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
Essex Pathways

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