Postgraduate Certificate in Linguistics

What are the courses about?

LING400 is an introduction to the linguistic structures of English, covering pronunciation (phonetics & phonology) and grammar (syntax & semantics). A key feature of the course is one of comparison – in part one we compare pronunciation systems across varieties of English and between English and other languages, and in part two we compare the sentence structure of English to that of other languages. This course will be valuable for anyone planning to teach English as an additional language, or those who want a detailed introduction to the analytical tools linguists use to study English and other languages.

The course will be taught wholly online, with 3 ‘contact hours’ per week. This will be constructed as follows: (a) 2 x one hour video lectures each week, (b) a set of analytical tasks/discussion questions, expected to take around 1 hour each week. There will also be weekly readings.

Runs from November to February

The course will be taught wholly online, with 3 ‘contact hours’ per week. This will be constructed as follows: (a) 2 x one hour video lectures each week, (b) a set of analytical tasks/discussion questions, expected to take around 1 hour each week. There will also be weekly readings.

Topic schedule

Week 1: Introduction to the course, and to phonetics & phonology
Week 2: Transcribing with the International Phonetic Alphabet
Week 3: The phonetics and phonology of ‘Reference’ English
Week 4: Variation 1: accents of English
Week 5: Variation 2: cross-linguistic comparison
Week 6: Variation 3: Interlanguage influences
Week 7: Introduction to syntax and semantics
Week 8: English phrase structure & cross-linguistic comparison
Week 9: English clause structure & cross-linguistic comparison
Week 10: Using movement to capture structural relations
Week 11: Composing sentence meanings
Week 12: Quantifiers and scope ambiguities

By the end of the course, students will:

  • have demonstrated their understanding of phonetic/phonological, syntactic and semantic terminology, and have shown they can apply this terminology when analysing a novel dataset,
  • have shown that they can use the International Phonetic Alphabet to transcribe novel dataset, and syntactic and semantic representations to capture the structural and meaning relations between sentences and subparts of sentences.
  • have shown that they understand the main differences between two ‘reference’ varieties of English (e.g. Received Pronunciation, General American).
  • have demonstrated their understanding of linguistic variation within a language and between languages.
  • have demonstrated their ability to use linguistic analysis to identify challenges for ESOL learners.

There is no such thing as ‘The English Language’. English has multiple varieties and forms used around the world today and this is reflected in the increasing use of the term ‘Englishes’ by professional linguists to describe the global situation. This course explores some of the historical, political and social issues associated with the development of different World Englishes, discussing key structural differences between varieties of English along the way. Of course, for the language professional attempting to operate in this environment (e.g. teacher, writer, editor, policy maker), there are a number of practical challenges: e.g. what type of English should we teach (and endorse)? How do learners’ attitudes towards their target variety affect their eventual proficiency? How do we codify new and emerging varieties? These and many more real-world issues associated with policy, planning and pedagogy are tackled in this course.

Runs from February to June

The course will have three ‘contact hours’ per week. It will be taught by (a) a two-hour face-to-face lecture, which will be recorded and made available online and (b) a 1hr reading group seminar. The reading group seminars will be conducted via UC’s online platform, Learn.

The course is split into three main overarching questions: (1) Why are there different Englishes around the world? (2) What are the real-life challenges faced by language professionals when dealing with Global Englishes? (3) How can we connect to broader issues in Linguistic theory?These questions frame the content of the lectures.

Topic schedule

Theme 1: Why are there different Englishes around the world?

  • Week 1: Tracing the first diaspora: English in Scotland, Ireland and Wales
  • Week 2: Tracing the second diaspora: English in North America, Australia and New Zealand
  • Week 3: Tracing the third diaspora: English in Africa and Asia

Theme 2: What are the real-life challenges faced by language professionals when dealing with Global Englishes?

  • Week 4: Globalization
  • Week 5: Codification and Legitimacy
  • Week 6: Policies, Planning and Cultural practices
  • Week 7: Methods in Teaching and Testing
  • Week 8: Communicative Competence and Learner Attitudes

Theme 3: How can we connect to broader issues in Linguistic theory?

  • Week 9: Models and theoretical frameworks of English
  • Week 10: Connecting to sociolinguistics
  • Week 11: Connecting to creole studies
  • Week 12: Summary and round up

By the end of the course, students will:

  • have a critical understanding of the histories and social contexts which led to the deveLINlopment of multiple Englishes in the world today.
  • show a critical understanding of the challenges and choices facing language professionals around the world today.
  • show a critical understanding of the various ways in which we can enrich our understanding of linguistic and sociolinguistic theory if we explore data from non-standard world Englishes.

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