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This course explores the sociolinguistic study of language variation and change. We examine how language varies both between individuals (e.g. accents) and within individuals (e.g. style). You will also learn transferable research skills. Students will record a sociolinguistic interview and analyse it to uncover hidden linguistic patterns.
Languages are not static; they vary and change across time and space in ways that are quite predictable once we understand more about the speakers of these languages, and their social characteristics. This course takes you on a journey of discovery. We will re-trace some of the methodological innovations in the field of sociolinguistics, and explain how these methodological innovations have led to a better understanding of the relationship between language and society. We will begin with the introduction of the first methodological tool in the sociolinguists’ tool kit – the sociolinguistic interview. Then, we will work through advances in that tool kit to better understand social structure (e.g. by applying social network analysis), or to better understand the contributions that can be made by different types of speakers (e.g. by working with children or speakers of understudied languages). We end with a look at the application of new and exciting methodologies to recent sociolinguistic research such as EEG, experimental methods and the use of so- called ‘big data’. At every stage of the journey, we will be guided by two questions: (1) what is this new methodology? And (2) what have we learned about connections between language and society from using it?
By the end of the course, students will:(1) Display a good understanding of the main methodological advancements in the field of sociolinguistics (2) Display a good understanding of the theoretical implications of these methodological advancements (3) Demonstrate an ability to read and critique published sociolinguistic research(4) Demonstrate a variety of sociolinguistic research skills including collecting and transcribing sociolinguistic data
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Any 15 points at any level from any subject.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
There is no final exam for this course.More information about each piece of assessment will be provided in separate handouts.
There is no set textbook for the course. Instead, journal articles and book chapters will be recommended to accompany each lecture. Electronic copies will be made available on Learn. To access the Learn page for the course, go to www.learn.canterbury.ac.nz, and log in with your usual UC username and password. You will see a menu of the courses you are enrolled in.Other material, which may be helpful, can be found at the Library Subject Guide for Linguistics: http://canterbury.libguides.com/
Domestic fee $785.00
International fee $3,500.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
Language, Social and Political Sciences.