ML1IL-Introduction to Linguistics

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Federico Faloppa


Summary module description:
This module aims to familiarise students with principles in general linguistics, and to give students an overall picture of what a language is, how it works, and what its main structures are, with a particular focus on French, German, Italian and Spanish. It will also provide useful meta-linguistic competence which can be applied to the study of any other language.

This module aims to explore modern European languages, covering phonological, morphological, syntactical, semantic and pragmatic aspects. It aims to provide students with a general awareness of linguistic structures and variants, and to understand the origin, development and use of languages.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module it is expected that all students:
- will be able to approach modern European languages from a descriptive and scientific viewpoint
- will acquire methods and tools for approaching any other language from a descriptive and structural viewpoint
- will be able to design original research output (academic posters) about one or more aspects concerning languages today, in order to acquire a deeper awareness of the use of language in context.

Additional outcomes:
The module also encourages students to:
- develop a meta-linguistic awareness (useful for learning and approaching languages in general)
- develop research and writing skills (useful in preparation for the dissertation)
- develop their oral presentation and discussion skills and their effectiveness in group situations
- improve their grasp of foreign languages, their structures and varieties
- develop their IT skills by conducting OPAC and other web searches for material relevant to the module, and by being required to submit word-processed projects
- develop their problem-solving abilities (by doing specific exercises and class tests)
- make good use of appropriate reference materials (in preparation for Part 2 modules)

Outline content:
Over the two teaching terms lessons will be devoted to exploring elements of linguistic anthropology, language typology, neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics, phonetics, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Students will be required to do exercises in class, to apply contrastive analysis (by comparing English, French, German, Italian and Spanish structures), and to pass a class test at the end of the module. Students will also be expected to contribute to class discussion and debates by focusing on specific aspects and by presenting their findings via oral presentations, blog posts, posters, etc.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will be taught through a combination of formal lectures, seminars and presentations, for which students will carry out preparatory reading. Seminars will be delivered in a structured group discussion.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 16 16
Seminars 4 4
Guided independent study 80 80
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 40
Oral assessment and presentation 20
Set exercise 40

Other information on summative assessment:
Students will be asked to write a 1500-2000 word essay (Autumn Term), to take a two-hour set exercise (Spring Term), and to prepare a poster/oral presentation (Spring Term). The average of the three assignments will form the student's final mark.

Formative assessment methods:
Students will have the opportunity to contribute to the module blog, to participate in group discussions/seminars and departmental research seminars, and to give and receive feedback about other formative activities.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Reassessment in August, in the event of failure in this module and of failure in Part 1 as a whole, or (for compulsory modules only) of failure to qualify in Part 1.

    Class test to be retaken in August. Coursework marks over 40% will be carried forward but coursework with a mark of less than 40% to be resubmitted by 1PM on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed on the third Friday of August, at 1PM on the next working day thereafter.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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