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Unit information: Aspects of Modern Sociolinguistics in 2015/16

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Unit name Aspects of Modern Sociolinguistics
Unit code GERM22029
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Langer
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of German
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will provide an introduction to the relationship between language and society, as applied to the German-speaking countries. In weekly lectures and seminars we will be investigating “who speaks how with whom where and when” (J. Fishman, 1965) and how particular language varieties are perceived and used in the construction of speaker's identities. More concretely, we will discuss topics such as the following: German in the diaspora, the standad language ideology, language and region, language and gender, migration and multilingualism, amongst others. The precise list of topics may vary from year to year. In addition to these content-based discussions, students will be introduced to principles of data collection and interpretation, as applied to the sociolinguistic study of German and other West and North Germanic languages.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The unit will develop:

  1. students' knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the core concepts of sociolinguistics, as found in the German-speaking areas
  2. students' critical skills by gaining an awareness of the similarities and differences of sociolinguistic processes and perceptions in German and other European languages, including English
  3. students' understanding of how speakers use and perceive languages in the creation of individual and group identity
  4. students skills in presenting information and arguments in a structured form, both orally through seminar discussions and in writing.

Teaching Information

1 lecture and 1 seminar per week

Assessment Information

2 x 2000 words essay weighted 50% each testing ILO's 1-4.

Reading and References

Barbour, Stephen & Patrick Stevenson. 1998. Variation im Deutschen. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.

Clyne, Michael, The German Language in a Changing Europe, Cambridge, CUP, 21999.

Coulmas, Florian. 2005. Sociolinguistics. The study of speakers’ choices. Cambridge: CUP

König, Werner, dtv-Atlas zur deutschen Sprache, München, Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 2001.

Stevenson, Patrick, Kristine Horner, Nils Langer, and Gertrud Reershemius. The German-speaking world. London: Routledge. 2015