Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


A.Y. Credits
2016/2017 8
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Catherine Lea Farwell Wednesdays 12.00-13.00 From February 20th-12th May 2017

Assigned to the Degree Course

Foreign Languages and Cultures (L-11)
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

This Monografico Course aims:

1) To introduce learners to the discipline of Sociolinguistics and how it identifies the point where Language, Society and Power intersect;

2) to assist students develop skills in analyzing the most up-to-date aspects of the English language from a sociolinguistic perspective, including social media, gender-, ethnic- and political-related aspects;

3) to give learners practical tasks focusing on pragma-sociolinguistic issues including such contexts as a popular English-language talk show, the lyrics of rap music and the reading section of an Academic English test of an international examination (mock IELTS trial).


See the Moodle site for this course for the detailed syllabus.

Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

Awareness of the focus placed by Sociolinguistics on the role of language in society and the power that languge exerts on others in that society.  

Ability to understand the principles of sociolinguistics as they appear in and are developed within the English-language context.

Ability to express oneself using the specific terminology outlined in the course and define the most important concepts (ex: the concept of self-constructed identities, i.e. where language is one of the tools used to shape one's identity).

Ability to analyse and evaluate the strategies highlighted in various comunicative environments of the English language

Ability to dicuss some aspects of the lesson input with others in English during the Monografico lessons 

Ability to understand and - if the oral exam option is chosen by the student - to speak about the contents of the course

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

The detailed exam programme for this course consists in the following chapters of the course textbook 'Language, Society and Power" - Annabelle Mooney and Betsy Evans.  Routledge Editors – 4th edition, London.

 Chapters  2,3,4,6,7,10   

                         Of particular importance are the following topics, though they are not the only ones that may appear on the written exam for this course

Chapter 2 Language, Thought and Representation

2.1  Introduction

2.2  Language as a system of representation

2.2.1  Different types of language

2.2.2   Signs and Structure

2.3  The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

2.3.1  Linguistic diversity

2.3.3  LInguistic relativism and determinism

2.3.4  Colour

2.4  One language many worlds

2.7  Summary

Chapter 3  Language and Politics

3.1  Introduction

3.2  What is ‘politics’?

3.3  Politics and ideology

3.4  Three persuasive strategies

3.5  Grass roots politics: introducing more linguistic tools

3.6  Words and weapons: the politics of war

3.7  Extending metaphor

3.7.1  Student as customer

3.9  Summary

Chapter 4 Language and the Media

4.1  Introduction

4.2  Mass Media

4.3  Manufacture of consent

4.4  Semantic unity

4.5  News values

4.6  Experts and the news

4.7  News online

4.8  New ways of ‘doing’ news: Twitter and citizen journalist

4.9 Summary

Chapter 6  Language and Gender

6.1  Introduction

6.2  What is gender?

6.3  Inequality at the lexical level

6.4  Differences in language use:  doing being a woman or a man

6.5  Gossip

6.6  Gender and power

6.6.1  Do women talk more than men?

6.6.2  Silence is golden

6.7  Gendered talk: performing identity

6.7.1  ‘Dude’

6.8  Summary

Chapter 7  Language and Ethnicity

7.1  Introduction

7.2  What do we mean by ‘ethnicity’?

7.3  Ethnicity, the nation state and multilingualism

7.4  Racism and representations of ethnicity

7.5  Ethnolect

7.6  Ethnicity and identity

7.7  Discourses of authenticity

7.8  Consequences for ethnolects

7.9  Crossing

7.10  Summary

Chapter 10  World Englishes

10.1  Introduction

10.2  What does global mean?

10.3  Learning English

10.4  Inside the inner circle

10.10  What do language varieties mean in the global context?

10.11  Summary

Teaching, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


 There will be frontal lessons for this course (the Mongrafico lessons specific to the Sociolinguistic topics being outlined here) plus there are many support lessons to improve your English language skills (called Esercitazioni and Lettorato).

The Lettorato lessons to strengthen your English skills are extremely important and take place both in the First 'Autumn' semester / the Second or 'Spring' semesters (called I Semestre and II Semestre in the Italian system).  There is a separate web page dedicated to the Lettorato lessons.



Attendance at class lessons is not obligatory in Italy but it is highly useful to understanding the contents of the course and arriving at the exam in a well-prepared manner.

Course books

The course textbook is 'Language, Society and Power" - Annabelle Mooney and Betsy Evans.  Routledge Editors – 4th edition, London.

See the section above entitled 'Teaching Materials' for a detailed description of the exam programme (which chapters of the course textbook to study for the course exam).


There will be a written exam on each date published for this course.

You will arrive on at the exam and have the possibility to take this written exam and - when the results of the exam are made available - you can decide whether to accept your written exam mark in lieu of taking the oral exam.  Or - alternatively - if you don't want to accept your mark/grade from the written exam but want to improve it you can try to increase that mark at the oral exam.

If you prefer to skip the written exam and come directly to give the course exam orally you may do so; that is your legal right in Italy.  The oral exams for this course will always take place 2.5-3 hours after the written exams on each exam date scheduled for this course.

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students


Same as the above.


See the description concerning attendance in the section above (for attending students).

Course books

Same as above.


Same as above (see description for attending students).

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