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2015/16 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL32761 Language Style and Attitudes

20 creditsClass Size: 20

For full module descriptions of our level 2 and 3 undergraduate modules (including details of preparatory reading, texts for purchase and required unassessed work) please see the Undergraduate Module Handbook in the English Organisation on the VLE.

Visiting and Exchange Students must read this information before selecting modules.

Module manager: Dr Julia Snell
Email: j.snell@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2015/16

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students wishing to take this module must have passed an introduction to language study in the School of English or another department (such modules include ‘English Structure and Style’, ‘Analysing English’, ‘English: Context, Culture & Style’, a Level 1 module in Linguistics and Phonetics, or similar modules in other departments in Modern Languages.) If you do not meet this requirement, but do have a Grade A in English Language A-level, and you wish to take this module, you must consult the module tutor, as should any student who is uncertain whether they meet the pre-requisite requirements.

Please note: This module is restricted to Level 2 and 3 students. Enrolment priority will be given to Level 2 students for a restricted period (as detailed in the School’s Module Handbook).

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module introduces the key concepts and issues involved in the study of how linguistic features and styles come to have social meanings, and why these provoke strong attitudinal reactions, and in some cases social advantage or disadvantage.We begin by introducing the main research methods used in the study of language attitudes, including: language surveys; interviews; matched-guise experiments; and quantitative and qualitative techniques in ‘perceptual dialectology’. We then go on to review some of the key findings of language attitudes research. These will help to give us an understanding of general taken-for-granted beliefs about language variation (i.e. language ideologies). In the second half of the module we look in greater detail at language in use. We consider how speakers use language variation to position themselves in relation to other individuals and groups, achieve a range of interactional goals, and on occasions, subvert dominant ideologies. Understanding what language features mean socially offers us a way to understand how/why individuals and social groups are evaluated. We will explore the implications of this for addressing issues of social inequality.As part of your assessment you will be asked to conduct a group research project into an area of language attitudes study. This means that you will not merely be reading/hearing about research methods and findings, but gaining a deeper understanding of this area by becoming actively involved in collecting, analysing and reporting on research findings.

Objectives

The aim of this module is to investigate language attitudes and ideologies with regard to a range of varieties of English. A secondary focus will be on encouraging critical reflection on the relationship between language in use, beliefs about language, and social structure.

The key module objectives are as follows:
- To introduce the main paradigms of language attitudes and language ideology research, and demonstrate their relevance for the study of language in social life
- To develop a critical understanding of the ways in which beliefs about language are expressed in various types of discourse
- To evaluate research findings on attitudes towards varieties of British English, past and present
- To extend knowledge of research methods in sociolinguistics
- To understand how linguistic styles or features come to have social and ideological meanings
- To address the ideological nature of language and the relationship between language use and beliefs about language, prejudice and discrimination

Learning outcomes
Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will have developed knowledge and understanding of the following:
- Direct and indirect methods for researching language attitudes and ideologies
- A range of key concepts in the study of language, including ‘attitude’, ‘stereotype’ and ‘ideology’
- The ideological nature of a number of language-related concepts, including ‘standard’ and ‘non-standard’ language, ‘correctness’, and ‘prestige’
- The processes through which linguistic features and styles come to be associated with social and ideological meanings
-The connections between language ideology, power relations and social structure

Skills Outcomes
By the end of this module, students will have developed:
- Research skills, including: data collection, management and analysis; interpretation of findings; presentation of results
- Analysis and decision making skills
- Team-working skills
- Time management skills
- The ability to write clearly and to engage in discussion in an articulate manner
- The ability to engage critically in public debates about language
- IT skills (incl. using PowerPoint to give a research presentation)


Syllabus

This module introduces the key concepts and issues involved in the study of (1) how linguistic styles or features come to have social and ideological meanings, and (2) why these provoke strong attitudinal reactions, and in some cases social advantage or disadvantage.

The module will begin by introducing the main research methods used in the study of language attitudes and ideologies, including: language surveys; interviews; matched-guise experiments; and quantitative and qualitative techniques in ‘perceptual dialectology’. This will enable students to start thinking about and planning their own group research projects (Assessment 1). Some early seminars will involve discussion of issues raised by the planning of these research projects. Others will involve discussion of findings of language attitudes studies reported in the research literature.

In the second half of the module we look in greater detail at language in use. We consider how speakers use language variation to position themselves in relation to other individuals and groups, achieve a range of interactional goals, and on occasions, subvert dominant ideologies.

Throughout the module students will be asked to relate theoretical concepts and research findings to their own experiences and to discourses about language in the media.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Lecture51.005.00
Seminar101.0010.00
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Teaching will be through weekly seminars (10 x 1 hour) plus up to 5 additional hours (content to be determined by the module tutor). The 5 additional hours will include lectures and meetings about the group research project.
Private Study: Reading, seminar preparation, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Contribution to seminars.
- Presentation
- Submission of project proposal
- 500 word project progress report

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PresentationPowerPoint presentation based upon a group research project (50% of total mark). The presentation will be given in week 8 (i.e. just before Easter break), but students will be required to submit a project proposal in week 3 and a 500-word project progress report (including division of tasks within the group) in week 6. These two submissions will not be formally assessed, but students will receive formative feedback, and must complete this work in order to pass the module.50.00
EssayA theory-based essay (2250 words).50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 22/04/2015

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