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Unit information: Language and Communications in 2015/16

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Unit name Language and Communications
Unit code EDUCD0100
Credit points 20
Level of study D/8
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Woodfield
Open unit status Not open

Understanding Educational Research


Language and Communication, Researching Language Classrooms, Testing and Assessment in Language Learning

School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit focuses on the description and analysis of language and communication across a range of discourse settings. Through a focus on discourse analysis, we examine how language enacts social and cultural perspectives and identities using quantitative and qualitative approaches, perspectives which draw on the paradigm issues introduced in Understanding Educational Research. We introduce conceptual and methodological means of exploring the social, cultural and cognitive processes involved in constructing meaning through language use. This includes consideration of techniques for the elicitation, construction and analysis of linguistic data. Indicative content areas include the nature of discourse, conversation analysis; critical discourse analysis; the analysis of institutional talk and learner language; linguistic ethnography; politeness theory and relational work as a framework for the analysis of talk; and corpus linguistics. Participants in the unit will have opportunities to explore language learning and language use issues in their own professional context through focussed linguistic analysis.


  • To develop an understanding of discourse and of talk as social action analysis;
  • To explore the use of pragmatics and discourse concepts in the analysis of linguistic data;
  • To develop an understanding of procedures and techniques for eliciting, recording and analysing language;
  • To adopt a critical orientation to the analysis of discourse within and across cultures.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • understand key theoretical concepts in language and communication studies;
  • develop skills of data elicitation, transcription, construction and analysis relevant to TESOL Applied Linguistics, including ethical issues relevant to such research processes;
  • develop skills of critical evaluation and interpretation in relation to empirical studies;
  • be aware of the implications of analysis for language policy and pedagogy.

Teaching Information





Assessment Information

A portfolio of tasks which engage purposeful analyses of linguistic data and critical review of empirical studies in the related literature (equivalent to 4,500 words).

Reading and References

Bardovi-Harlig, K. & B.S. Hartford (Eds.) 2005 Interlanguage Pragmatics: Exploring Institutional Talk. Lawrence Erlbaum: London/New Jersey.

Ellis, R. & G. Barkhuizen 2005. Analysing Learner Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Graddol, D; J.Cheshire & J.Swann (Eds.) 2002 Describing Language. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Markee, N. 2000 Conversation Analysis. Lawrence Erlbaum: London/New Jersey.

Richards, K. & P.Seedhouse (Eds.) 2005 Applying Conversation Analysis. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Spencer-Oatey, H. 2008 Culturally Speaking (Ed.) (2nd Edition) . London: Continuum.