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Unit information: Language Variation and Change in German in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

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 Language Variation and Change in German
Unit code GERM30074
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Havinga
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of German
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

This unit focuses on language variation and change in German. After an introduction to sociolinguistic theories on this topic, ways of studying language variation and change will be explored, focusing on corpus linguistics. Students will learn how to compile their own data, how to work with existing German corpora, and how to use text analytic software (AntConc and SketchEngine) to investigate the data for diachronic, regional, and/or social variation.

Starting from examples of language change from canonical textbook literature, students will learn to carry out their own linguistic analyses, encouraging them to challenge common language ideologies. No specialised computing knowledge is required for students of this unit.

Aims:

o To introduce students to a significant body of knowledge of a complexity appropriate to final year level.

o To further skills of linguistic analysis and research and build on the students’ existing knowledge of varieties of German.

o To engage students in quantitative methods and corpus linguistic tools for text analytical research.

o To develop further skills of synthesis, analysis and independent research, building on the skills developed at Level I.

o To equip students with knowledge and skills that will transfer to other working environments, including postgraduate study.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, successful students will have:

  1. Demonstrated sophisticated knowledge of German varieties and language change;
  2. Developed and deployed advanced topic-specific skills: quantitative methods and text analytic tools for linguistic analysis;
  3. Articulated an advanced understanding of processes involved in language change;
  4. Demonstrated advanced skill in the selection, synthesis, evaluation and analysis of relevant topic-based material, appropriate to level H;
  5. Presented independent judgements in a range of written forms in an appropriate style and at a high level of complexity.

Teaching details

1 x 2 hour seminar hour per week across one teaching block (22 contact hours).

Assessment Details

One project-based assignment, consisting of a 2000-word project proposal with literature review (30%),

one presentation (35%), and one 2000-word write-up (35%), each testing ILOs (1)-(5).

Reading and References

Anthony, Laurence. 2013. ‘A critical look at software tools in corpus linguistics’. In: Linguistic Research 30 (2), 141–161.

Chambers, J. K. 2009. Sociolinguistic theory. Linguistic variation and its social significance. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Dittmar, Norbert & Jana Bressem. 2005. ‘Syntax, Semantik und Pragmatik des kausalen Konnektors weil im Berliner ‚Wendekorpus‘ der neunziger Jahre.‘ In: Johannes Schwittalla & Werner Wegstein (eds), Korpuslinguistik deutsch: synchron, diachron, kontrastiv. Würzburger Kolloquium 2003. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 99–124.

Elter, Irmgard. 2005. ‘Genitiv versus Dativ. Die Rektion der Präpositionen wegen, während, trotz, statt und dank in der aktuellen Zeitungssprache.‘ In: Johannes Schwittalla & Werner Wegstein (eds), Korpuslinguistik deutsch: synchron, diachron, kontrastiv. Würzburger Kolloquium 2003. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 125–135.

Feine, Angelika & Mechthild Habermann. 2005. ‚Eine korpusgestützte Analyse zur deutschen Fremd-Wortbildung. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen.‘ In: Johannes Schwittalla & Werner Wegstein (eds), Korpuslinguistik deutsch: synchron, diachron, kontrastiv. Würzburger Kolloquium 2003. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 89–98.

Nübling, Damaris, Antje Dammel, Janet Duke, and Renata Szczepaniak. 2013. Historische Sprachwissenschaft des Deutschen. Eine Einführung in die Prinzipien des Sprachwandels. 4. Aufl. Tübingen: Narr.

Rössler, Paul. 2005. Schreibvariation – Sprachregion – Konfession. Graphematik und Morphologie in österreichischen und bayerischen Drucken vom 16. bis ins 18. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Weisser, Martin. 2016. Practical Corpus Linguistics. An Introduction to Corpus-Based Language Analysis. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.

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