Communities, Speakers, Texts: Pragmatic and Sociolinguistic Perspectives on English

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 5EN166

Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
English G2F
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 3 February 2016
Responsible department
Department of English

Entry requirements

English A1 and English B1

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the component students will be able to

  • use appropriate sociolinguistic terminology in accounting for variation in the English language
  • demonstrate a command of the terminology used to describe contextually influenced linguistic meaning
  • demonstrate knowledge of the major theories and frameworks that guide research in pragmatics and sociolinguistics
  • summarise important findings in research in sociolinguistics and pragmatics
  • independently complete a small-scale research project analysing authentic language data
  • independently write a short research paper
  • make appropriate use of primary and secondary sources
  • actively and independently participate in seminar discussions.


The course examines how the English language varies in use according to contextual factors. By applying theories and analytical frameworks from the fields of pragmatics and sociolinguistics, we discover how speakers and writers use the English language to communicate meanings, carry out actions, signal membership in speech communities, and achieve styles in talk and writing. In the pragmatics portion of the course, we consider the ways in which meaning is context dependent and the ways in which speakers achieve goals using language. In the sociolinguistics portion of the course, we analyse the linguistic resources with which speakers show their connection to a given community and express identity. Students will use primarily qualitative research methods to complete assignments and short research papers.


Group instruction. Active participation in course seminars is obligatory. In cases of absence students will be given the opportunity to complete an extra assignment within the framework of the course period.


Examination is done in the form of oral presentations, written assignments, and written final examinations. Grades used are either Fail, Pass, or Pass with Distinction.

Students who do not achieve a passing grade on the regular examination will have another opportunity to take the examination within a reasonable period of time after the regular examination.

Students who fail a certain examination twice have the right upon request, following consultation with the head of department, to have another examiner appointed.

Other directives

The course cannot be counted toward a degree if an equivalent course/module is included in the degree.

If the syllabus or course reading for a component has been changed, students have a right to be examined under the original syllabus and course reading on three occasions during the following three semesters. Normally this right then expires. Otherwise there are no limitations on the number of examination opportunities.

Transitional provisions

For transitional regulations in the case of changes in the syllabus, please contact the student adviser.