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What do babies know about language when they're born? And how do our experiences as we get older affect both how we use language and what we think about other people's language behaviour? Why, for example, do people think some languages, or some dialects, are 'better' than others? And is there any truth behind such beliefs? In this course we consider a range of research from the field of linguistics that addresses these and other questions. The role of language experience will emerge as a recurrent theme: the experience that the infant has with a particular language; how our early experience with language affects how we speak and how we listen, and how our beliefs about language are created and maintained in connection to other experiences in our social lives.
PLEASE NOTE:LING102 (D) is offered as Distance Learning and under the STAR programme. Distance Learning and STAR programme students may enrol in this course.When we hear somebody talk, even for the very first time, we make a split second judgement about them. That’s because a speaker’s language tells us something about them. We not only receive a linguistic message – the content of what is being said – but we also receive social information. Is the speaker male or female? How old are they? Are they working class or middle class? Are they happy or sad? In this course, we explore how our language is able to convey social cues such as these. Our overarching question is: how does our language influence who we are and who we are seen to be?
By the end of the course, students will (1) have developed their knowledge of how language (including sound patterns and grammatical systems) can vary, (2) understand the relationship between language and society, and how e.g. social attitudes can affect language use, (3) understand how different groups of people use language differently. They will also (4) be able to conduct bibliographic searches of relevant work relating to language and society, and (5) be able to critically evaluate rival hypothesis. In particular, they will be able to think critically about the opinions very commonly expressed in the media about linguistic issues, and will be able to evaluate the evidence for those opinions.
An introduction to English sociolinguistics;
Edinburgh University Press, 2010.
Sociolinguistics: an introduction to language and society;
Library portalThe course outline is available on LEARN (only for students enrolled in this course).
Domestic fee $644.00
International fee $2,800.00
* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.
For further information see
Language, Social and Political Sciences.