Language and Social Interaction

Course - first cycle - 15 credits

Overview

Admission requirements

The special prerequisites for this course, besides general entry requirements for university studies, are a pass mark from the following upper secondary school courses: English B. 60 higher education credits in Language Studies.

Selection:

credits 60% final grades 20% national university aptitude test 20%

Description

The aim of this course is to provide a multidisciplinary perspective on the study of language. Starting with the study of language origins, we move on to look at how and why languages change. The focus is on the social dimension of language use, including the creation and upholding of power relations in society. The empirical analysis of texts is embedded in a critical analysis of their societal and cultural context.

Syllabus

For students spring 2012

Other semesters:

Course Code:
EN225E revision 3
Level of specialisation
G2F
Main fields of study:
English
Language:
English
Date of establishment:
26 March 2009
Date of ratification:
24 November 2011
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
16 January 2012
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
17 June 2009

Course description

This aim of this course is to provide a multidisciplinary perspective on the study of language. Starting with the study of language origins, we move on to look at how and why languages change. The focus is on the social dimension of language use, including the creation and upholding of power relations in society (module 1). The empirical analysis of texts (module 2) is embedded in a critical analysis of their societal and cultural context.

Advancement in relation to the degree requirements

The course can normally be included as part of a general degree at undergraduate level.
The course content overlaps with English III (EN103E).

Entry requirements

The special prerequisites for this course, besides general entry requirements for university studies, are a pass mark from the following upper secondary school courses: English B. 60 higher education credits in Language Studies.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes
  • Module 1: Language Evolution and Change (7.5 credits)
In this module we explore the extent to which we can find empirical evidence for how and why the complex system that is human language evolved, and how and why languages constantly change. A particular challenge lies in the question: how does the language faculty come to play in our social and cultural behaviour?
Knowledge and understanding
After finishing module 1, the student will:
be familiar with recent findings relating to the evolution of language, and
understand how and why languages change.
Skills and ability
After finishing module 1, the student can account for:
the converging evidence from cognitive science, primate evolution, and archaeology which allows us to make hypotheses about the origins of human language, and
the way in which human cognitive faculties drive language change.
Critical skills and approach
After finishing module 1, the student should be able to critically evaluate:
the human language faculty in relation to social and cultural behaviour, and
their own, further readings in the field.
  • Module 2: Empirical Methods in Language Analysis (7.5 credits)
This module is concerned with the tools and methods used in language analysis, in particular corpus linguistics and discourse analysis.
Knowledge and understanding
After finishing module 2, the student will be familiar with:
available corpora and software tools for their investigation (online and in-house), including database construction, and
the foundations of discourse analysis.
Skills and ability
After finishing module 2, the student will be able to:
create their own small, specialized corpus,
carry out a corpus based discourse analysis.
Critical skills and approach
After finishing module 2, the student:
can make informed decisions as to which research method is appropriate for a specific research question,
can select and analyze data appropriately, and is aware of the advantages – and limitations – of empirical language research.

Assessments

Module 1: Language Evolution and Change (7.5 credits)
Module 1 is assessed through a combination of the following:
Participation in discussions and collaborative in-class activities (50%)
Critical review of a chapter or article from a selection of specialist books and articles beyond the mandatory course literature (50%)
Re-sits take the form of extended written assignments.
Module 2: Empirical Methods in Language Analysis (7.5 credits)
Participation in discussions and collaborative in-class activities (50%)
Research project presented as a Powerpoint (50%)
Re-sits take the form of extended written assignments.

Course content

Module 1: Language Evolution and Change (7.5 credits)
In this module we explore the extent to which we can find empirical evidence for how and why the complex system that is human language evolved, and how and why languages constantly change. A particular challenge lies in the question: how does the language faculty come to play in our social and cultural behaviour?
Module 2: Empirical Methods in Language Analysis (7.5 credits)
This module is concerned with the tools and methods used in language analysis, in particular corpus linguistics and discourse analysis

Learning activities

A combination of resources is available, including seminars, group work, self-study, library research, and independent, supervised research.

Grading system

Fail (U), Pass (G) or Pass with Distinction (VG).

Course literature and other teaching materials

Module 1: Language Evolution and Change
Deutscher, Guy. 2005. The unfolding of language. London: Arrow House.
Dunbar, Robin. 1996. Grooming, gossip and the evolution of language. London: faber and faber.
Module 2: Empirical Methods in Language Analysis
Baker, Paul. 2006, 2nd edition. Using corpora in discourse analysis. London/New York: Continuum.
In addition
Supplementary material dependent on students’ special interests.

Course evaluation

Oral, informal evalutation is carried out throughout the course. A formal, written evaluation is carried out at the end of the course and published on the course homepage.

Contact

Further information

Åsa Ulemark, Student Services Assistant
Phone: 040-66 57212
E-mail: asa.ulemark@mah.se

Jean Hudson, Course Responsible
Phone: 040-66 57352
E-mail: jean.hudson@mah.se


The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the department Department of Language and Linguistics.