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Unit information: Hispanic Sociolinguistics TB-2 in 2020/21

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Unit name Hispanic Sociolinguistics TB-2
Unit code HISP30094
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. James Hawkey
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This final-year unit introduces students to key concepts of sociolinguistic theory and places them in a Hispanic context for analysis. With little-to-no prior knowledge of linguistics, students will firstly examine different topics within sociolinguistics, including (among others):

  • language variation and change
  • multilingualism and language contact
  • language policy and planning

These theoretical tools will then be applied to the current situation of Ibero-Romance language varieties (Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Galician, Judeo-Spanish) around the world. Lessons will be dedicated to the analysis of specific Hispanic case studies worldwide, such as:

  • the role of minority Ibero-Romance varieties in Spain
  • the issues faced by indigenous languages of Latin America
  • the creation of Spanish-based pidgin and creole varieties
  • the sociolinguistic situation of Spanish in the United States

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Understand the discipline of linguistics, acquiring new theoretical tools which will allow for the in-depth study of Ibero-Romance varieties in contemporary society;
  2. Develop greater knowledge of various languages spoken worldwide, and undertake cross-linguistic comparative study;
  3. Apply their new theoretical knowledge to different linguistic situations, and prepare independent, original, critical analyses;
  4. Select and synthesise relevant material as appropriate to work at level H/6;
  5. Collaborate effectively in groups as part of a joint project.

Teaching details

1 x 2-hour slot per week across 1 teaching block, divided into an informal lecture (one hour) and a seminar (one hour).

Assessment Details

1 x group presentation (groups of 2-3, 20 minutes plus 5 minutes of questions) (25%) testing ILO’s 1, 2 and 4-5.

1 x 4000 word essay (75%), testing ILO’s 1-4.

Reading and References

Chambers, J.K. & N. Schilling (eds.) 2013. The Handbook of Language Variation and Change. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Díaz-Campos, M. (ed.) 2011. The Handbook of Hispanic Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Hualde, J.I., Olarrea, A., Escobar, A.M. & Travis, C.E. (eds.) Introducción a la Lingüística Hispánica. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mesthrie, R. 2011. The Cambridge Handbook of Sociolinguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wardhaugh, R., & J.M. Fuller. 2015. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.