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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LING5005M Languages in Contact

30 creditsClass Size: 24

Module manager: Dr Pier Pischedda

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is mutually exclusive with

LING2005Languages In Contact
LING3005Languages in Contact

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module enhances students' understanding of languages in contact. It also develops a set of critical as well as creative skills in relation to bilingual and multilingual practices so that the students will be able to understand what it means to know and use multiple languages. The emphasis in this module will be on cognitive, pragmatic and sociolinguistic aspects of language contact, interrogated through examples from multilingual realities in Europe and beyond.


The module aims to:
(1) Introduce major issues concerning languages in contact including how languages coexist in the brain and the consequences of such coexistence, how individuals and communities use multiple languages simultaneously, how societies construct and promote monolingual versus multilingual norms;
(2) Develop understanding of the phenomena that occur when languages come into contact including borrowing, codeswitching and language attrition;
(3) Develop critical awareness of the articulation of monolingual ideologies as well as the exploitation of multilingualism in the commercial sphere;
(4) Develop bilingual skills through the production of mixed language texts.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of this module students should be able to:
(1) Demonstrate a clear understanding of the terminology, concepts, and information used in the study of languages in contact;
(2) Show critical understanding of language contact phenomena;
(3) Present a structured, coherent and well-articulated argument regarding languages in contact using information from different sources, referenced appropriately;
(4) Show critical awareness of multilingualism in society;
(5) Communicate creatively using multiple linguistic resources simultaneously.

Skills outcomes
Through this module students will develop the following subject-specific skills:
• Understand the main theoretical instruments used in the study of languages in contact;
• Recognise and understand a range of language contact phenomena;
• Identify and assess the importance of the factors that lead to language contact;
• Evaluate critically the societal treatment of bilingualism and multilingualism.


This module explores what happens when languages come into contact both at an individual and at societal level. Throughout the module students gain an advanced knowledge of the phenomena involved in language contact spanning from the coexistence of languages in the brain to their use in society. We cover a number of topics including the following: why languages get close to one another; why multilingualism exists and its main dynamics; the multilingual creative brain; how individuals and communities use various languages simultaneously; having an accent in a language; language interference (geolinguistics, borrowing, code-switching, calques, loan words); language policy; language creation and language death due to contact (pidgins, creoles, koinés, mixed languages, constructed languages, language shift).

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours270.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students are expected to undertake independent reading outside of class. Guidance will be provided on this in lectures and seminars. Tutorials will be devoted to in-depth critical reflection on research papers revolving around languages in contact.
There will be preparation for formative assessments and preparation for the assignments.
4 hours reading per lecture (40 hours); 4 hours preparation on set readings for seminars (20 hours); 10 hours preparation for tutorials (50 hours); 80 hours preparation for first assessed essay; 80 hours preparation for second assessed essay = 270 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress is monitored through seminar contributions and participation in whole class teaching. Students are encouraged to complete one blog entry consisting of an original multilingual text. It is neither compulsory nor assigned a mark, but students receive written feedback on their entries which helps them progress through the module. Feedback on the first essay will be provided prior to the second essay .

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,500 word essay50.00
Essay2,500 word essay50.00
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: 09/05/2023


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