Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)


Department: English Language Centre


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to Q3K207
Tied to Q3K807


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • at the end of this module, students will:
  • be able to critically understand concepts and categories in the description of language structure, in particular the syntax, morphology and phonology of English
  • know of the aims and methods of enquiry in language analysis
  • be able to analyse language data
  • apply scientific reasoning to problems in language analysis
  • demonstrate self direction and independence in tackling and solving problems in language analysis


  • this course provides the foundation for the core areas in language description
  • the course will cover syntax, morphology and phonology (particularly with respect to English) within the context of language teaching
  • the topics covered include: articulatory phonetics, the International Phonetic Alphabet, phonemic analysis, distinctive feature theory; word classes, constituent structure, diagnostic tests for constituency, an introduction to syntactic rules; morphemes and allomorphs, morphological analysis, levels of morphology.
  • the data are from English and other languages

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • understanding of thebasic concepts in current syntactic, morphological and phonological theory
  • mastery of metalanguage appropriate to the description of language in a pedagogical context
  • knowledge of the variety of approaches currently taken in linguistic description and their appropriateness for language pedagogy
  • knowledge of categories in modern syntactic, morphological and phonological theory
Subject-specific Skills:
  • mastery of the analytical skills used in modern syntactic, morphological and phonological theory
  • ability to analyse language data in English and crosslinguistically
Key Skills:
  • ability to read and understand primary texts in language description and analysis
  • ability to apply scientific reasoning to language data

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • lectures and seminars will discuss the issues raised in the reading such that the student will have a good command of relevant theoretical background and be able to apply this knowledge to actual or envisaged teaching practice
  • the student will demonstrate an ability to research and organise complex material to sustain a logical argument. These arguments will be supported by a clarity of style and purpose that follows the expected conventions of academic writing

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 weekly 2 hours 20
Seminars 10 weekly 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 120
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Term 2 Examination 2.5 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Regular problem solving exercises prepared in advance by the student and discussed in class

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University