Multilingual and Multicultural Communities

Module code: EN3205
Module convenor: Dr Chryso Hadjidemetriou

In this module you will explore how and why people use more than one language in their everyday interactions, drawing from bilingual/multilingual data and communities in the UK and around the world. We will address issues such as how people use different languages in a conversation, how a community can maintain, lose or bring back to life a language, and what are peoples’ language rights. 

We will cover topics in multilingualism in 21st century from two perspectives: multilingualism at the level of individual (language choice, diglossia, code-switching) and multilingualism at the societal level (the co-existence of more than one language in a society and some consequences of language contact – language maintenance, language shift, language death, language endangerment, language rights).

You will carry out thorough investigations of case studies related to the topics examined during the module. A list of project topics will be provided to help with assessment preparation with the option of devising a new project topic (subject to approval from the tutor). 

Learning

10 two-hour seminars

Assessment

  • Essay proposal 
  • Essay

Former students say:

Vartika Kumar (2017 Graduate; Winner of the Waddington English Language Prize 2017)

“I initially chose this module as I wanted to understand issues surrounding multilingualism which I had personally experienced. But the subject has far exceeded my expectations. This module is stimulating, fascinating, insightful, and eye-opening. It has monumentally expanded my awareness of issues relating to language, individuals and society, and profoundly impacted my worldview and social consciousness. I was introduced to a profusion of new ideas such as language rights, language-based discrimination, language as an integral part of culture and identity, as well as the significant political dimensions of language – all highly relevant, contemporary issues that I would have never considered before. The teaching is enthusiastic and engaging, and complex concepts are explained in a simple, easy-to-understand manner, making the module accessible to everyone. The assessment at the end is very enjoyable and rewarding. In the face of a rapidly changing global socio-cultural landscape, I would actually consider this module to be essential life learning that no one should miss.” 

Agne Cerkute (2017 Graduate)

“The reason I chose the module was because it was different from all the other special subjects offered and because it was something that I was always interested in. The seminars looked at a wide range of topics and provided different perspectives challenging some of the views that I had. It also benefited from the diversity of the group itself. Everyone was able to relate and share their experiences on different topics, which enhanced the overall module experience. We stayed in touch with the seminar group and often found ourselves going back to and discussing topics such as identity or language death. The assessment not only gave an opportunity to research our chosen topic in more detail, but was also organised in a way that allowed students to plan how to approach the topic better. The feedback on project proposals addressed possible challenges and issues, which contributed to the results and quality of the final essay. This was certainly one of the modules I enjoyed the most!”