Students take the following compulsory modules:
Advanced Research Methods in Applied Linguistics: Quantitative and 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, students 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, qualitative data analysis and interpretation.
Second Language Acquisition
Arguably the most important subdiscipline for the understanding of language teaching is SLA; therefore, this module will focus on this area to ensure that students have a sound understanding of how language is learned.
Students will choose a topic in consultation with the MA Course Convenor and an appropriate supervisor. The topic will normally be based on interests and skills students have developed in the course of the modules already studied.
You must take a minimum of 60 and maximum of 80 credits from this group, with each module being worth 20 credits:
Language Teaching: Speaking and Listening
The main focus of this module is an exploration of methods for teaching L2 speaking and listening, as rooted in instructed EFL and ESL classroom environments. Participants will consider various aspects related to teaching L2 speaking and listening, including spoken grammar, fluency, pronunciation, strategies and input. Module content will draw on relevant bodies of research which inform approaches to teaching, and will relate this to a practical critique of L2 textbooks, materials and activities. Throughout the module students will have the opportunity to analyse, plan, prepare and present L2 speaking and listening activities.
Psychology of Language
This module considers three fundamental and interrelated questions about psycholinguistics:
- acquisition, or how language is acquired
- comprehension, or how words, sentences, and discourse are understood
- production, or 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; language disorders (e.g., dyslexia, aphasia).
Group Dynamics and 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: (a) language learning motivation and (b) 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.
English Vocabulary: Teaching and 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.
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. We will examine intercultural interactions in a variety of contexts, e.g. business and other professional encounters, the language of the media, the language classroom, etc.
You may then choose (if you wish) one additional module from the following group:
Business and 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, written and digital forms of communication to get work achieved successfully. 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 and ethnography. 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 and Literature (20 Credits)
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. Students 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, students 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.
Working with a range of texts from the early modern period to the present day, this module explores the relationship between the ‘dramatic text’ of the written script and the ‘theatrical text’ of the script in performance through the lens of linguistic analysis. Drawing on facets of stylistics and discourse analysis, 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.
Language, Gender and Sexuality
The course will explore the relationship between language and gender in spoken interaction and written texts, drawing on key approaches in the areas of discourse analysis and interactional sociolinguistics. Students will focus on the ways in which: gender and sexuality affect the language we produce when interacting with one another in a variety of contexts; the critical analysis of how individuals and groups of people are represented in the media, in ways related to their gender and/or sexual identities; issues of sexist and discriminatory language towards LGBT people. Various theoretical paradigms that have been presented to explain the relationships between language, gender and sexuality will be critically examined, along with ideologies associated with gender and sexuality that operate in society and influence discourse. Students will be encouraged to combine theoretical thinking with hands-on analysis 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 term of how findings can have a political impact on wider society will also be discussed.
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 will explore narratological analysis in relation to both literary and non-literary narratives.
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 key words and key semantic domains. The module will explain these concepts and illustrate methods through case studies, with an emphasis on the use of corpus methods for the purposes of discourse analysis. Through hands-on sessions students will actively practise using corpus analysis software and several online interfaces. Throughout the module, students are encouraged to reflect on the applicability of a range of methods to their own areas of interest (e.g. literary linguistics, critical discourse analysis, ELT, etc.).
For the assessment, students will complete a small-scale corpus project on a topic of their own choosing (in consultation with the module convenor). This project can function to test ideas that might be further developed during the dissertation.
Research in Literary Linguistics
This module explores the use of linguistic frameworks to investigate literary texts. Through a series of practical analyses, students 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 students 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.
Sociolinguistics of Work
This module is intended to familiarise students with theories and applications of discourse-based sociolinguistics in relation to the context of work. It will cover a range of sociolinguistic, workplace topics, including a focus upon the following:
- workplace cultures
- language and identity, including power, ethnicity, age
- intercultural communication
- critical discourse anaylsis and multimodal critical discourse analysis
- interactional sociolinguistics
The module will emphasise the crucial relationship between power and communication in the workplace, and demonstrate how recourse to discourse-inflected sociolinguistic analysis can illuminate and enhance communication in a range of workplaces and institutional settings.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Teaching methods and assessment
The course is designed to give you an advanced knowledge of the relevant state of scholarship in language study, pedagogy and linguistics, while also broadening your ability to apply and develop theoretical models and frameworks in language study.
Typical subjects covered on this course include:
- Second Language Acquisition
- Language Teaching – Speaking and Listening
- Group Dynamics and Motivation in the Language Classroom
- English Vocabulary: Teaching and Learning
- The Teaching of Language and Literature
- Research Methodology in Applied Linguistics: Quantitative and Qualitative methods
Most taught modules are assessed by written work of varying format and length commensurate with content and weighting. Tutors provide detailed comments on assignments. The objective is to provide you with the confidence to work as professional academics, at ease with the conventions of the discipline, and ready to tackle any area of research in applied linguistics and English language teaching.
Towards the end of your studies, you will complete a supervised dissertation of 14,000 words. This is a major piece of advanced independent research, which you will undertake with the supervision of a specialist in your chosen area. We will provide you with advice and guidance while you select and refine your area of study, and offer close supervision and support as you complete your research and your MA.