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Unit information: Advanced Language 2 in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Advanced Language 2
Unit code MODLM0001
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Foster
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit is a training unit on the MA programme in Modern Languages, and is made available to taught postgraduates on other programmes. Based on existing fluency (normally an undergraduate degree in the relevant language), it enables students to achieve advanced reading and oral skills in one of: Catalan, Czech, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish. The unit will focus on (i) the comprehension and use of the higher registers of the modern language, particularly its political, literary and academic registers, and (ii) the language of cultural and historical sources of the sort that students examine in their units on the MA programme in Modern Languages. Through intensive tuition in a fortnightly one-and-a-half-hour class throughout the two teaching blocks, some conducted in the relevant language, and through extensive preparation for these classes students will develop their ability to express themselves on political, literary and historical topics and to read and analyse sources and scholarship in these areas.

The unit is offered to students wishing to study a second language at advanced level, alongside MODLM2040 Advanced Language.

The broad aim of the unit is to develop the linguistic competence of students coming to the MA programme with a first degree in one of the available languages. Specifically it is designed to:

  • develop students’ ability to express themselves verbally, fluently and accurately, in the chosen language on a range of topics from current affairs to literary and intellectual history;
  • develop students’ ability to read and analyse both primary sources and scholarship on the areas of cultural and intellectual history explored in the core units taught on the programme of the MA in Modern Languages;
  • prepare students to read in the original the sort of material that they would have to digest in large quantities were they to go on to do a research degree in relevant aspects of literature, culture, history or intellectual history or to work in a professional context that would be enhanced by the same skills in the advanced handling of the language.

Intended learning outcomes

Students will (1) build on the linguistic knowledge acquired at undergraduate level in one of the languages taught in the School of Modern Languages. They will (2) learn to speak about literary, cultural and historical topics in this language with greater fluency and accuracy. They will also (3) learn to read source material and works of scholarship in the original language with greater facility, and develop advanced analytical skills with this type of material. They will (4) be in a stronger position at the end of the course to proceed to research which will demand immediate fluency and familiarity with source texts in the relevant language or to work at higher level with their language in a professional context.

Teaching details

Fortnightly tutorials. Some will be conducted in the relevant language and will develop oral fluency in various registers enabling students to discuss and present academic material at a high level. Other classes will focus on analysis of academic texts in English, and on advanced reading comprehension of such texts in the relevant language.

The unit is taught fortnightly in 1.5-hour tutorials.

Assessment Details

(1) A portfolio of written coursework dealing with the analysis of academic texts on a literary, cultural or historical topic [outcomes 1, 3]; and an end-of-year examination, consisting of (2) an oral examination that will focus on discussion of literary, cultural or historical topics [outcomes 1-2] and (3) an advanced reading comprehension (outcomes 1, 4). The three elements contribute one third each to the overall unit mark. The portfolios are around 1500 words in length (3X500) - but it is important to consider that they are written in the foreign language so standard word lengths should not apply.

Reading and References

Key reading will vary according to the language of study.