GM2LWF-The World of Words: Lexicology and Word Formation

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:5
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Melani Schroeter

Email: m.schroeter@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module aims to provide students with an in-depth understanding of a range of aspects concerning the lexicon – including word formation patterns and their productivity, semantic relations between words, processes of borrowing from other languages, collocations and idioms, word frequency and variety in the lexicon. 


Aims:
The module aims to provide students with an in-depth understanding of a range of aspects concerning the lexicon – including word formation patterns and their productivity, semantic relations between words, processes of borrowing from other languages, collocations and idioms, word frequency and variety in the lexicon, including specialist vocabulary and regional variation.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

- analyse a range of linguistic aspects concerning words in given examples

- use dictionaries more critically and effectively

- consult corpora to gain insights into the use and frequency of words

- understand the importance of context in order to identify meaning and/or make the right choice of word(s) especially when using a foreign language.


Additional outcomes:
Students will have the opportunity to further develop their research skills as well as their skills of linguistic analysis. This module will also contribute to the effective organisation of ideas and to an increased consciousness in handling lexical choice, especially when using a foreign language. Finally, it will contribute to an appreciation of language contrast and language contact.

Outline content:

The amount of words available for use in a certain language – the lexicon – is more than an endless alphabetical list that even native speakers will never know by heart. The lexicon and individual words can be investigated from a range of perspectives:

- Chronology: there are obsolescent and archaic words that go out of fashion and out of use, and new words enter the lexicon all the time, mostly with the help of word formation or borrowing. We will look at how and why new words enter the lexicon, including word formation patterns and their productivity in the creation of new words;

- Contact: new words also enter the lexicon and sometimes replace existing words as a result of language contact; we will look at different types of borrowing and at factors that determine which languages are favoured for borrowing;

- Semantic relations: no word is unrelated to others; a lot of words share similar meaning and have more than one meaning to complicate matters. Opposition, i.e. semantic antonymy, is also one of such relations, as is hyponymy – i.e. some words refer to a class of entities which are implied as subordinate (animals – birds – crow, robin);

- Company: words also have the tendency to combine with certain other words in most contexts, for no apparent reason; we will look at collocations – frequent co-occurrence of some words – and idioms – when a combination of words creates a meaning beyond the literal meaning of its components;

We will also look at different types of dictionaries and how dictionary entries are structured. You will learn how to investigate the contexts in which words are actually used with the aid of corpus analysis tools, so as to analyse how such contexts of usage influence word meaning. From there, we look at how such analyses inform lexicography so as to enable you to create your own dictionary entries with the help of such analyses.  


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

A series of seminars in Autumn Term and Spring Term. Students will be required to read chapters from the relevant secondary literature in preparation of classes. Students will also be required, in small groups or pairs, to carry out analyses of examples and to discuss them in class. Students may also undertake an academic placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 18 10 2
Guided independent study: 80 45 45
       
Total hours by term 98 55 47
       
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:
2 hours

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will complete two pieces of written coursework. At the end of AT, students will submit a dictionary entry commentary (1500 words; 25%). At the end of ST, students will submit an essay on one of the topics covered (1500 words, 25%).



One written exam at the beginning of Summer Term will account for 50% of the module mark.



One piece of coursework assessment worth no more than 50% of the module mark can be replaced by a report produced after an academic placement. The placement must be agreed in advance by the module convenor; the length of the report is to be equivalent to standard departmental practice for coursework.  


Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    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.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re- examination in August in the event of failure in this module and in Part 2 as a whole. Coursework bearing a confirmed mark of 40% or more can be carried forward; all other coursework to be resubmitted by 12 NOON on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed, by 12 NOON on the first 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: 8 April 2019

    THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

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