Language in Society

Module code: ED7525

Module co-ordinator: Dr Nick Smith

In this module you will investigate how and why the way we use English varies according to social, regional, and other dimensions (for example, age, gender or social class). We will explore how and why language use becomes more standardised over time, and how this process influences attitudes to different varieties or dialects. We will also look at how the status of English as a global language has been described and theorised, and at the methods used to collect and study sociolinguistic data.

Topics covered

  • Introduction to language variation
  • Standard English and dialects of English
  • World Englishes
  • Multilingualism
  • Language policy and language planning
  • Language and gender
  • Methods in sociolinguistics 


150 hours over 20 weeks to include:

  • reading course materials; reading, watching and listening to required and recommended resources
  • engaging in online module activities / discussion forum
  • independent study
  • writing the module assignment



  • 3,000-word project involving data collection


  • You can combine the assessment for this module and the assessment for Discourse Analysis into a single 6,000-word project.