The following is a sample of typical modules that we offer, not a definitive list. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change, for example due to curriculum developments.
You will take the following compulsory module:
Research Methods in Applied Linguistics: Quantitative & Qualitative Methods
The module looks at various approaches of collecting and processing data using both qualitative and quantitative methods of investigation. With a focus on the area of applied linguistics, you will be introduced to the process of hypothesis formulation and testing, issues of interpretation, evaluation and replicability of data and of research results, questionnaire and interview design, data gathering and recording, statistical description and analysis.
You then take further modules from the following list of typical modules:
Assessment in the Language Classroom
The main focus of this module is an exploration of the principles of assessing second language learning. The components of the module will provide theoretical and practical knowledge of assessment techniques that allow for comprehensive treatment of all four skills in the language classroom.
The course is premised on the belief that assessment has various purposes and that it is important to design and use classroom assessment methods to serve the intended purposes. You will become familiar with assessment techniques ranging from controlled to open-ended item types as well as standardised tests and their design, purpose, validity, and utility.
You will be given the opportunity to work with numerous assessment methods and consider their implementation in the language classroom. There will also be time devoted to guidelines and practical suggestions for assigning grades.
Business & Organisational Communication
The module investigates the multidisciplinary subject of business and organisational communication. It covers a wide range of quantitative and qualitative approaches, examining how individuals and groups use spoken and written communication to achieve success in the workplace. The range of methodologies and analytical frameworks for interrogating business and organisational communication include: conversation analysis, corpus linguistics, critical discourse analysis, pragmatics and speech act theory, ethnography, and genre analysis.
The module also highlights contemporary issues emerging from the field, exploring, for instance, the influence of context, new multi-media technologies and globalisation on communication in commercial domains and organisational environments. The module emphasises how the findings of communicative research can be practically applied in teaching and training materials and in consultancy work.
Cognition & Literature
This module represents a course in cognitive poetics. It draws on insights developed in cognitive science, especially in psychology and linguistics, in order to develop an understanding of the processes involved in literary reading. The module also develops skills in stylistics and critical theory.
Consciousness in Fiction
The module will explore in depth techniques for the presentation of consciousness in novels and other fictional texts. You will learn about the linguistic indices associated with the point of view of characters and the various modes available to a writer for the presentation of characters’ thoughts and perceptions.
Alongside detailed examinations of narrative texts which portray consciousness, you will also study different theories put forward to explain the nature of writing consciousness in texts. Our stylistic analyses of fictional minds will also aim to account for historical changes in the techniques used for consciousness presentation.
This module explores the relationship between language and drama. Taking a multi-faceted approach, drawing on facets of linguistic analysis from stylistics, discourse analysis and sociolinguistics, the module considers the role of language in moving dramatic scripts from page to stage, exploring aspects of characterisation (such as identity, power and provocation), the role of language in story-telling on stage and the 'management' of performance through stage directions. Working with a range of texts from the early modern period to the present day, the module investigates the role of language in shaping character, dialogue, interaction, and staging.
English Vocabulary: Teaching & Learning
This module covers the various aspects of knowledge that are required to fluently use a word: meaning, written form, spoken form, grammatical properties, frequency, register, collocation, and association. Practical aspects of teaching vocabulary will also be covered including vocabulary teaching activities, vocabulary learning strategies, vocabulary testing, and the use of corpora.
Group Dynamics & Motivation in the Language Classroom
This module offers an introduction to the main psychological factors and processes that determine the way students learn foreign languages within an institutional (classroom) context. The focus will be on two key issues that have a considerable practical significance: language learning motivation, and the internal dynamics of the learner group that can either enhance or hinder the individual members' learning achievement.
Key topics to be discussed will include the components of L2 motivation; strategies to increase student motivation; structural and developmental characteristics of the 'good' learner group; group building techniques; effective leadership roles; cooperative language learning.
This module will explore the use of language in interactions between speakers of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds from three different perspectives: description, development, and assessment. With a growing proportion of interactions in the world today taking place between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, it is important to identify and describe language use which may lead to misunderstanding and communicative breakdown.
This module will look at ways in which language barriers might be overcome in such interactions, and at the key factors in this process. You will examine intercultural interactions in a variety of contexts, for example: business and other professional encounters, the language of the media, and the language classroom, etc
Language & Gender
The module will explore the relationship between language and gender in spoken interaction and written texts, drawing on key approaches in the areas of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and pragmatics. The extent to which gender affects the language we produce when interacting with one another in a variety of contexts will be focused on, along with the issue of sexism in language use. Various theoretical paradigms that have been presented to explain language and gender differences will be critically examined, along with gender ideologies which operate in society.
You will be encouraged to combine theoretical thinking with hands-on analyses of data from authentic examples of spoken interaction and from a variety of publications including the popular media. The practical consequences of the discipline in terms of how findings can have a political impact on wider society are also discussed.
Language Teaching: Speaking & Listening
The main focus of this module is an exploration of teaching methods for listening and speaking in EFL and ESL environments. The components of the module will provide a theoretical and practical focus for the content and organisation of language classes focused on listening and speaking.
You will become familiar with the four strands approach to designing language learning programs. Within this context, participants will be guided towards good practice in English language teaching and learning constructed from current theory, methods, approaches and practices. You will have the opportunity to observe, plan, prepare, and teach listening and speaking activities.
This module surveys key work in narratology, from literary, stylistic and sociolinguistic perspectives. Combining a consideration of ideological and theoretical issues in narratology with methodological approaches from other areas of linguistic study such as pragmatics, discourse analysis and cognitive poetics, the module explores narratological analysis in relation to both literary and non-literary narratives.
Psychology of Language
This module considers three fundamental and interrelated questions about psycholinguistics:
- acquisition: how language is acquired
- comprehension: how words, sentences, and discourse are understood
- production: how words, sentences, and conversations are produced
Potential topics include, but are not limited to: lexical influences on sentence comprehension and production, first and second language acquisition, reading, and language disorders (e.g. dyslexia, aphasia).
Research Methods: Corpus Linguistics
Corpus linguistics provides methods for the study of collections of electronic texts (written texts including literary texts, material from the internet, transcripts of spoken language, etc.). This module introduces fundamental corpus methods that include retrieving and interpreting word frequency information, studying patterns of words in the form of concordances, and analysing keywords and key semantic domains.
This module introduces fundamental corpus methods that include retrieving and interpreting word frequency information, studying patterns of words in the form of concordances, and analysing keywords and key semantic domains. Through weekly hands-on sessions you will actively practice the use of corpus software. Throughout the module, you are encouraged to reflect on the applicability of a range of methods to their own areas of interest (e.g. literary linguistics, discourse analysis, ELT, etc.).
For the assessment, you will complete a small-scale corpus project on a topic of your own choosing (in consultation with the tutor). This project can function to test ideas that might be further developed in your dissertation.
Research Methods in Literary Linguistics
This module explores the use of linguistic frameworks to investigate literary texts. Through a series of practical analyses, you will be introduced to a range of linguistic explorations of poetry, prose, and drama from a wide range of historical periods.
The course will invite you to use the analyses as an occasion for the critical evaluation of the various approaches to language and literature, to investigate the notions of literariness and interpretation, and to consider the scope and validity of stylistics in relation to literature and literary studies. The range of key research methods and methodologies in stylistics will be studied.
Scientific Study of Literature
Albert Einstein tells us that 'science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking'. In the Scientific Study of Literature you will look at this refined thinking—the 'scientific method'—and how it can be used to understand 'literariness'.
You will look initially at the historical relationship between “science” and 'literature'; at what constitutes the scientific method; and, importantly, you will also explore the kinds of literary questions to which this method can be applied. You will then survey a range of scientific methodologies, including eye-tracking, corpus linguistics tools, and the use of EDA and EMG (which measure 'arousal' in readers), exploring how they can be used to investigate literary texts and readers' responses to them. Through this work, you will acquire the necessary skills to develop hypotheses and test them, with the aim of designing and carrying out your own literary experiments.
Second Language Acquisition
Arguably the most important subdiscipline for the understanding of language teaching is SLA. The module focuses on this area to ensure that you have a sound understanding of how language is learned.
Sociolinguistics of Work
This module is intended to familiarise you with theories and applications of sociolinguistics in relation to a work context. It will cover a range of sociolinguistic, workplace topics, including a focus upon the following: workplace cultures, language and identity, including gender, ethnicity, age, religion/nation and social class, miscommunication, intercultural communication, linguistic politeness, and interactional sociolinguistics.
The module will emphasise the crucial relationship between social variables, power and communication in the workplace, and demonstrate how recourse to sociolinguistic analysis can illuminate and enhance communication in a range of workplaces.
The final element of the course is a dissertation, which you complete over the summer period.
More information on the above modules is available in the Module Catalogue.
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The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.