ENG3230 - Language and Society

Year of Study:2
Credit Units: 3
Duration: 45hours
Prerequisites: ENG1200 Introduction to Linguistics
or with special permission from Instructor and approval by Department Head
Module Description
This module addresses important questions related to language and its relationship with society including: How and why is language used differently in different regions and by different groups of people? What can an accent say about a person? How do men and women use language differently? How language is used to build and reflect social relationships? How is language used to express social power? How is bilingualism socially useful? Why do some people mix two languages together when they are talking? These are all part of the field of sociolinguistics. This module discusses not only these questions, and their possible answers, but also how sociolinguists go about researching these questions, using insights from sociology, human geography and anthropology as well as linguistics. This module focuses on English including: the varieties of English that are used all over the world, by different people in different contexts and cultures; and the roles that English plays in education, government and politics, and business and commerce in the current globalised economy. An important part of this module involves applying theories and techniques from sociolinguistics to the unique social and linguistic situation in Hong Kong. As part of this module students will design and carry out sociolinguistics projects researching the uses and functions of English in Hong Kong.
Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this module, students should be able to:

  1. Describe and write about language use and variation in social contexts, using appropriate linguistic tools and representations.

  2. Design, conduct and present a project related to a sociolinguistic issue or question.

  3. Describe and write about the social factors that lead to and drive language variation.

  4. Apply theories and concepts of sociolinguistics to contexts related to economics, business and commerce and to social situations in Hong Kong.

  5. Use e-learning platforms, such as the Moodle-based eCampus system, to participate in on-line guided class discussions, together with internet-based electronic tools for academic research.