English in Society

Module leader: Alison Smith (alison.smith@buckingham.ac.uk)
One term: 15 units

This is the first of a 2-term module which aims to develop students’ awareness of important aspects of English used in social situations and to provide opportunities for students to improve their own competence in using appropriate language in social situations.

At the end of the module, students should have:

  • knowledge and understanding of language appropriate for social situations generally, including euphemism.
  • appreciation of cultural norms and their influence on social language.
  • skill in using appropriate language for particular social situations.
  • ability to interpret data about social trends in British society and to explain these in a suitable written form.
  • ability to comment critically on linguistic choices determined by social factors in speech situations.
  • improved ability to compose social English texts, particularly with regard to appropriateness of style for social communication.

The module is assessed by coursework (25%) and test (25%), together with the examination (50%) for the module English in Institutions.

The topics covered are:

  • Individuals and the family
  • Social occasions and cultural norms
  • Class, attitudes and ethnic groups
  • Work and the cost of living
  • The role of gender in language usage
  • Euphemisms and other social practices

Key text:

  • O’Driscoll, J. Britain for learners of English (2nd ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). ISBN: 978-0-19-430647-8 (student book + workbook).

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