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Course content

This programme looks at language from a sociocultural perspective. It's designed for anyone with an interest in the relationship between language, culture and society but also provides a solid understanding of English language and linguistics.

The MA develops your understanding of historical and contemporary debates in (socio)linguistics and discourse analysis and enhances your analytic and linguistic skills by introducing different approaches to the analysis of written and spoken language use from a range of everyday and institutional contexts.

Topics covered include:

  • language and ideology
  • linguistic performances of identity (particularly language and gender, sexuality, ethnicity and social class)
  • language and the media
  • talk at work
  • English in a multilingual world
  • intercultural communication
  • multilingualism and code-switching
  • varieties of English

You're encouraged to engage with these topics by drawing on your own social, cultural and occupational backgrounds in class discussions and in your written work.

You're also encouraged to collect your own samples of written and spoken language use and learn to subject those to in-depth critical analysis.

This MA will draw on findings, theories and methodologies from: sociolinguistics, semantics, pragmatics, spoken and written discourse analysis, ethnography, semiotics, feminist stylistics; multimodal analysis; interactional sociolinguistics, conversational analysis, membership categorisation analysis, performativity and narrative analysis.

The programme’s distinct interdisciplinary ethos is also reflected in your opportunity to choose from a selection of relevant option modules in other departments in Goldsmiths.

Modules & structure

On this programme you will complete two core modules, two option modules and one dissertation.

Core modules

Option modules

You may choose two linguistic options or one linguistic option and one option from other MA programmes within the College, where specifically approved by the Programme Co-ordinator.

You may also choose one non-linguistics module, either from our own department (English and Comparative Literature) or from another department. Please note that availability of options across the College varies, but typically you can choose from the following selection.

Please note that your choice of option module from another department needs to be discussed with the Programme Co-ordinator of the MA Sociocultural Linguistics in advance. 

Dissertation

You also produce a dissertation. Dissertation topics in the past have included: 

  • A critical investigation of metaphor in accent coaching internationalisation & the role of language
  • Gun Ownership as Freedom and Safety: Framing in the Blogosphere
  • Tweeting Saudi Women’s Elections: A Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Framing and discourses of gender and national identity in sports commentary
  • Discursive identity construction in relation to global hip hop culture in young men’s talk
  • Representations of aging in women’s magazines
  • Discursive construction of religious identities in interviews with British Muslim converts
  • Code-switching practices in a Tunisian family
  • Discourse and identities in the SLA classroom
  • Language and gender in dream narratives
  • Pauses and silences on Talk Radio
  • Attitudes towards bilingual signs in Thailand
  • Representations of parenthood in UK parenting magazines
  • Political debates on Irish TV
  • Lifetime narratives of older Asian immigrants in the UK
  • The language of text messaging
  • Language and literacy practices on Facebook
  • Attitudes to non-standard language use
  • Discursive analysis of EFL textbooks
  • Gendered speech style in an all-female group of Iranian friends

The best (UG or MA) linguistics dissertation is rewarded every year with the Hayley Davis Prize. 

Approach to teaching

Our lecture/seminar sessions are designed to combine discussions of preparatory reading materials with tutor-led input and hands-on analyses of data/texts by students. We also tend to invite guest lectures as part of option modules and GoldLingS Seminar Series.

Our MA group is usually very tight-knit, students and student reps organise study/revision groups, online discussion forums, outings to lectures across London, and a number of social events.

Assessment

Coursework; essays; examinations; dissertation; presentation

Skills

Transferable skills, including enhanced communication and discussion skills in written and oral contexts; the ability to analyse and evaluate a wide variety of spoken and written texts from informal as well as institutional settings; an understanding of the concept of communicative competence; the ability to organise information, and to assimilate and evaluate competing arguments.

Careers

Publishing, journalism, british council roles, public relations, teaching, research, translation, advertising, the civil service, business, industry, the media.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.


Visit the Sociocultural Linguistics - MA page on the Goldsmiths, University of London website for more details!

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