Module code: LIN2005

Module Overview

Sociolinguistics explores language as a social phenomenon, examining both how social factors affect language, and what language can tell us about society. This module introduces students to the interaction between language and society. We start by considering the linguist variables that reflect our social identity, before examining how speaker’s responses to external social factors influences the way in which languages are used, lost and standardized.

This module is taught in English at FHEQ Level 5. Introduction to Sociolinguistics builds on themes in linguistics introduced at throughout modules taught at Level 4 and provides in-depth preparation for Level 6 modules that focus in detail on the sociolinguistics of specific languages including French and Spanish.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

BOND Oliver (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 95

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Language variation and change;

  • Language as a social marker;

  • Social networks

  • Gender in language use

  • Power and politeness.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Essay of 1500 words 50
Coursework Written Assignment of 1500 words 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes.

Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed mainly to assess transferable skills in working independently as well as part of a group and to develop skills in formulating, defending and sustaining arguments.

Both the essay and assignment assess subject knowledge in (i) the different types of data and empirical methodologies used to study human languages and (ii) the factors that contribute to the way in which different languages or linguistic structures are used in different social contexts. They also assess cognitive/analytical skills in evaluating the outcomes of scientific experiments and case studies from linguistics within their historical and cultural context.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

* Essay of 1500 words (to be submitted after week 8) (50%)

* Written Assignment of 1500 words (50%)


Formative assessment and feedback

* Formative assessment will focus on student participation and class discussions throughout the module.
* Students will be provided with detailed written feedback following coursework assignments.
* Verbal feedback will also occur in class and individual appointments if required.

Module aims

  • The module aims to: examine language as a social phenomenon, promoting the students' awareness of socio-cultural issues in different languages
  • familiarise students, through module content, with data from linguistic systems which differ from those with which they are already familiar; using different types of data to understand a field of inquiry
  • develop students' critical thinking about the types of evidence that can be used to support a scientific argument through class activities
  • encourage refection on, and understanding of student¿s own linguistic practice, as well as those of others around them

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 By the end of the module students will be able to: analyse the outcomes of scientific experiments and case studies from linguistics within their historical and cultural context KCT
002 Understand the different types of data and empirical methodologies used to study sociolinguistic variation KC
003 Identify which factors contribute to the way in which different. languages or linguistic structures are used in different social contexts KC
004 Formulate, defend and sustain arguments in both written and oral form PT
005 Work independently and as part of a seminar group PT
006 Conduct independent research for written work in an organized and critical fashion PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • enable students to acquire explicit knowledge of the linguistic structures, grammar and stylistic registers through attending classes and reading

  • encourage student participation and learner autonomy, through small group classes, reading outside contact hours and participating in seminars

  • develop research skills, through reading and presenting findings, through informal class presentations and in the written assignment

  • enable students to engage in analytical and evaluative thinking, to analyse and interpret texts and other cultural products, through attending classes and engaging in individual study

  • develop communication skills through interactions in class

  • acquire a broad knowledge of sociolinguistic theory and practice


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Three contact hours per week over Semester 2.

  • Classes will include lectures and seminars.

  • Students are expected to read extensively outside classes in order to follow lectures and participate in seminars.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: LIN2005

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Resourcefulness and Resilience: This module encourages students to reflect on the evidence for diversity in the world around them, drawing on examples of linguistic variation from their own experience, as well as the experiences of others. It introduces students to methods for examining differences between social groups, so that they are able understand objectively identify and appreciate variation, differentiate between social values and purely linguistic ones, and understand factors lead to diversity in our communication practices.

Employability: This module enhances important professional skills, in particular through researching unfamiliar topics, working in assigned peer groups to complete a shared objective, and interpreting and explaining visual representations of quantitative data. Group and individual exercises provide students with tools to establish patterns and links between different types of data. This enhances their problem-solving abilities by developing their strategies for scrutinising new information in a systematic and methodical way.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: The development of global and cultural capabilities is a necessary component of understanding how language use varies across society. Every activity and topic within the module develops these skills by inviting students to reflect on the linguistic, cultural and social behaviours of different speech communities in the UK and across the globe. In particular, this challenges any preconceptions of homogeneity in language use and experience and encourages students to reflect on their linguistic and social position in relation to others.

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.