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Special Study: Meaning

  • Module code: EN6006
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 6
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: Successful completion of Level 5 requirements
  • Co-requisites: None


This module explores ideas from a wide range of disciplines and introduces students to some of the key concepts in the study of meaning. It begins by considering work in the philosophy of language on what it means to ‘mean’ something and moves on to the distinction between the context-dependent meaning inherent in language-in-use – the domain of pragmatics – and context-independent meaning – the domain of linguistic semantics. Students will consider how different linguistic elements interact with the discourse context to contribute to the communicative act, and we will also consider the role played by extra-linguistic aspects of communication such as facial expression, gesture and body language.


Permit a detailed and extensive study of an area in applied linguistics, focusing on developing an understanding of the key issues at stake and of the range of theoretical positions taken on those issues in the literature.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of and discuss key ideas in the area of applied linguistics studies
  • develop their own original ideas on the central issues discussed
  • work independently and manage their time efficiently
  • demonstrate the ability to conceptualise and structure an extended piece of writing

Curriculum content

  • The meaning of 'meaning'
  • Types of meaning: conceptual and procedural
  • The meaning of intonation
  • Extra-linguistic communication: facial expression, gesture and body language


Teaching and learning strategy

Teaching will be conducted via weekly two-hour interactive lectures in Teaching Block 1 and weekly seminars, reading groups, and personal tutorials in Teaching Block 2.  Activities within the two-hour interactive lectures will involve tutor-led presentations of key theories and principles relevant to the specialised area of study and student-led discussions of readings, work-in-progress or language data samples.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Interactive Lectures 14
Scheduled learning and teaching Seminars/Reading Groups/Personal Tutorials 30
Guided independent study Guided independent study and preparation for assessment 274
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Assessment will comprise (i) an extended piece of writing, in which students will be expected to present their own ideas, drawing appropriately on a wide range of scholarly sources, (ii) one piece of practical work that will allow students to explore their chosen topic creatively, independently and practically in a range of possible formats, such as web-based, audio-visual, textual, etc. and (iii) an oral presentation on the topic of the extended essay. 


Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
demonstrate an understanding of and discuss key ideas in the area of applied linguistics studied; Assessed formatively through in-class discussions and summatively through the extended essay.
develop their own original ideas on the central issues discussed; Assessed formatively and summatively through both assessment components.
work independently and manage their time efficiently; Assessed summatively through the extended essay and practical project.
demonstrate the ability to conceptualise and structure an extended piece of writing. Assessed summatively through the extended essay.

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Portfolio 100
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS a requirement that the major category of assessment is passed in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Wharton, T. (2009).  Pragmatics and Non-Verbal Communication.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.

Bibliography recommended reading

Croker, R.A. (2009) Qualitative Research in Applied Linguistics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

D’Hondt, J-O. Ostman, and J. Verschueren (2009) Handbook of Pragmatics: Highlights. Vol. 1- 10. Netherlands: John Benjamins. 

Johsnstone, B. R. Wodak and P. Kerswill (2010) The SAGE Handbook of Sociolinguistics. London: SAGE.

LItoselliti, L. (ed.) (2010) Research Methods in Linguistics. New York: Continuum. 

McCabe, A. (2011) An Introduction to Linguistics and Language Studies. London: Equinox.

Sealey, A. (2010) Researching English Language: a Resource Book for Students. Oxford: Routledge.

Wray, A. and Bloomer, A. (2006) Projects in Linguistics: a Practical Guide to Researching Language.  London: Arnold.


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