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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MODL1060 Language: Structure and Sound

20 creditsClass Size: 96

Module manager: Dr Leendert Plug

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module introduces students to the scientific study of language structure and speech sounds. It covers core concepts in linguistics and phonetics, focusing on how speech sounds are produced (phonetics) and function as part of the sound systems of languages (phonology), on the internal structure of words (morphology) and on the internal structure of sentences (syntax). Students are confronted with data from a wide range of languages and learn to analyse structural aspects of the languages’ grammars and physical aspects of their sounds. Students gain insights into how language and speech work, and how language and speech patterns vary across the world’s languages. Having completed this module, students can go on to take more advanced modules in linguistics and phonetics.


This module aims to:
(1) introduce students to linguistics as a scientific discipline
(2) introduce core concepts in the study of language grammars and speech sounds
(3) familiarise students with the aims and methods of phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax
(4) develop students' awareness of cross-linguistic variation
(5) develop students' analysis skills through the practical analysis of data from a variety of languages
(6) develop students' communication and research skills through coursework assignments

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate
(1) an understanding of the aims and scope of linguistics as a scientific discipline
(2) an understanding of core concepts in the study of language grammars and speech sounds
(3) an understanding of the aims and methods of phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax
(4) an awareness of cross-linguistic variation and its theoretical implications
(5) basic linguistic and phonetic analysis skills


Following an introduction to general characteristics of human language and to the aims of linguistic theory and analysis, blocks of lectures and seminars are devoted to the morphological and syntactic structure of languages, and to the physical description of speech sounds and their place in the phonologies of languages. Seminars revolve around the discussion of practical analysis exercises.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are expected to devote 170 hours of private study time to this module, with the following suggested breakdown:
- Self-study using online materials: (10x3=) 30 hours
- Reading preparation for lectures: (20x2.5=) 50 hours
- Completion of seminar exercises: (10x3=) 30 hours
- Preparation for formative and summative coursework: 20 hours
- Preparation for exam: 40 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Seminars involve formative monitoring of students’ understanding of the core module content, as well as their use of the self-study materials developed for the module. Seminars explicitly practise and give feedback on the data analysis skills needed for the summative assignment. A formative data analysis assignment will enable students to get written feedback on their ability to present an analysis according to linguistic conventions. This skill is important for the summative assignment and likely to be new to most students. Lectures allow students to raise and lecturers to address areas of concern as the module progresses. The final lecture includes explicit guidance on the exam and provides an extended opportunity for students to ask questions and test their knowledge.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentData analysis task70.00
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: 28/04/2023 14:42:35


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