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Introduction to Language

  • Module code: EN4003
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 4
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This introduces students to the field of English Language and Linguistics by questioning judgemental attitudes to language and encouraging students to take a descriptive approach. This is developed by focusing on the description and analysis of language at different levels, namely phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. In the second half of the module students will be expected to apply such knowledge to various areas of current research interest in linguistics which could include language acquisition and processing, the history of English, the contemporary position of English around the world, language and technology and language and new media. 

Students will gain a basic understanding of how language works and will be introduced to the key concepts and frameworks for describing and analysing language in terms of its different constituents (sounds, words, phrases, sentences, utterances), with specific reference to the underlying principles for combining them in meaningful ways. The module will provide the foundations for students for further study at Levels 5 and 6. 

Aims

  • Introduce students to systematic linguistic enquiry;
  • Provide students with an insight into the nature of language as a multilevel system drawing on related theories, concepts and issues;
  • Equip students with the key terms required to describe language at different levels of analysis. 

Learning outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key principles in contemporary linguistic enquiry;

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of language as system employing key terms and concepts in discussing related issues;

  • Demonstrate an ability to apply key terms to the description and basic analysis of language at different levels of analysis.

Curriculum content

Describing language

  • Analysing sound
  • Analysing structure
  • Analysing meaning

Themes in English Language

  • Language and the brain
  • Evolving language
  • Academic and research skills for linguists

Teaching and learning strategy

Teaching and learning will be based on a combination of one-hour tutor-led (i.e. keynote) lectures where students will be introduced to key concepts and theories and interactive lectures where students will actively explore concepts and theories via guided discussions and activities. Students will have the opportunity to consolidate their understanding of topics in seminars by following up on the lecture topics via tasks that prepare students for summative assessment where a formal grade is recorded.  Such formative assessment include group discussions, guided debates and activities on weekly topics, oral presentations, online tests, peer assessment and participation (a selection of these formative tasks may be subject to bonus points that count towards the total mark for the module). Students will be encouraged to work in study groups on reading and discussion activities independently or assisted by a student mentor, when possible. Independent study will include further reading and guided research towards formative and summative assessment. Finally, in the context of the personal tutorial session students will be assisted in their transition to Higher Education, encouraged to develop good academic habits and prepared to make the most of feedback on their tasks.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lectures 44
Scheduled learning and teaching Seminars 22
Scheduled learning and teaching Tutorials 11
Guided independent study Directed reading, study and assignment preparation 223
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The assessment encourages students’ engagement and assesses students’ understanding of specific concepts and basic principles of language description and analysis. The summative assessment has three components aimed to test: (i) students’ understanding of key theories, concepts and issues introduced in the module and (ii) their ability to apply key terms to the description and basic analysis of language.

Summative assessment:

- Take-home test including small tasks on the building blocks of language (50%)

- Writing task including academic skills such as paraphrasing and referencing (10%)

- Essay on a topic relating to the theories of language and issues introduced in the module (40%)

Formative assessment:

Students will be assessed formatively through a range of tasks, both in-class and online that will support them in developing the skills required for the completion of their summative assessment. More specifically, students' engagement with tasks on the building blocks of language in the context of seminars and study groups will provide them with feed-forward for their take-home test. Discussion activities in class and online via Canvas discussion forums will provide students with feed-forward for their essay. Assessment workshops and one-to-one tutorials for work-in-progress are further aimed at supporting students in their satisfactory completion of the module's requirements.  

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Demonstrate an understanding of the key principles in contemporary linguistics; Formatively via seminar and study group discussion activities and online discussions and summatively via essay;
Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of language as system employing key terms and concepts in discussing related issues; Formatively via lecture and seminar tasks and summatively via take-home test and essay;
Demonstrate an ability to apply key terms to the description and basic analysis of language at different levels of analysis. Formatively via in-class activities and online discussions and summatively via take-home test and essay;

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Take Home Test 50
CWK Writing Skills 10
CWK 2000 Words Essay 40
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Fromkin, V., Rodman, R and Hyams, N (2010) An Introduction to Language. 9th ed. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Yule, G. (2010) The study of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bibliography recommended reading

Aitchinson, J. (1995) The Articulate Mammal. Oxon: Pearson.

Blakemore, D. (1992) Understanding utterances. Oxford: Blackwell.

Fasold, R. and Connor-Linton, J. (2006) An introduction to language and linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jenkins, J. (2003) World Englishes: A Resource Book. London: Routledge. 

Grundy, P. (2000) Doing Pragmatics. London: Arnold.

Katamba, F., O’Grady, W. and Archibald, J. (2011) Contemporary Linguistics. 2nd ed. Harlow: Longman.

Pinker, S. (2000) The Language Instinct: how the mind creates language. London: Penguin.

Thomas, M. (2011) Fifty Key Thinkers in Language and Linguistics. Oxon: Routledge.

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