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Linguistics and culture: a UK perspective


Admission requirements

This course is only meant for BA students of English language and culture.


Is being able to chat about the weather for half an hour a requirement for a British passport? Do Brits really say ‘sorry’ when somebody else bumps into them? Do people from different social classes have different pet hates when it comes to grammatical or lexical mistakes? What can an accent tell you about that person? What unwritten rules might a non-native speaker unwittingly be violating when they are having a conversation with a Brit?

This course will attempt to answer all of these questions and many more. It will teach you about British and Irish cultural identities, social rules and etiquette, linguistic codes, and differences between Standard English and social and regional varieties spoken on The Isles. At the end of this course, you will have a more extensive knowledge of the recent social and linguistic history of the UK and Ireland and of culture-related topics ranging from pubs to papers to politics – knowledge that might help you not only to negotiate the minefield of social codes and conversation codes, but which may also be helpful when you’re reading a contemporary British novel or watching a British TV series.

Course Objectives

  • Course objective 1: knowledge of recent British and Irish history, culture and relevant linguistic codes

  • Course objective 2: ability to identify and define social and regional varieties of UK English and Hiberno English

  • Course objective 3: ability to use the appropriate terminology to describe linguistic and cultural phenomena in the UK and Ireland

  • Course objective 4: ability to apply background knowledge of British culture and linguistic phenomena in order to be able to identify and define linguistic codes and to use them in everyday situations


See timetable English

Mode of instruction

Self-study of written materials, audio files and audiovisual materials.

Course Load

5 ECTS = 140 hours of study

  • 26 hours: lectures/Q&A sessions

  • 4 hours: mid-term (2) and final (2) exams

  • 25 hours: revision for the exams

  • 85 hours: required reading/audio/viewing materials

Assessment method

A 2-hour mid-term exam on the material presented and studied in Block I; 50% of the final grade.
A 2-hour end-of-term exam on the material presented and studied in Block Ii; 50% of the final grade.
Marks for both course components must be at least 5.5 to pass the course.



Reading list

A syllabus containing instructions and a list of reading materials, audio files and audiovisual materials to be studied for each week will be posted on Blackboard in due course.


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