Objectives


Students identify a subgroup, occupational class, or subculture with its own jargon and produce a research project investigating the jargon’s properties, social profile and relationship to wider questions of diversity and identity. They learn how to tackle an in-depth research project, dealing with methodological and theoretical questions, and integrating data analysis with wider intellectual questions. The student may work on English or Cantonese/Chinese data but any project using primarily non-English data must be presented so as to be comprehensible by a general reader who does not know Chinese.

 

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Topics


Topics include: language in relation to individual and group identity, language and power, jargon in the media, jargon and metaphor, notions of social marginality and deviance; jargon and slang; language change and the diffusion of innovation.

 

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Organisation


The semester will be divided into three sections. The first will consist of introductory presentations by the instructor, the analysis of selected readinbgs, together with discussions about the topics and materials that students may be interested in exploring. The second section will involve student presentations of project proposals. Ideally, the presentation will lead into the final research project, which is the focus of the final section of the course. In preparing the project, students will meet with the instructor individually or in groups. The precise structure of the course will depend on the number of students enrolled and their background knowledge and interests.

 

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Assessment


Students will be required to present a research plan or proposal to the class, togegther with an application for ethical clearance (20%), and complete a final research project of approximately 3,000 words (80%), involving original research on a particular jargon or variety. Students can work individually or in groups of up to three.

 

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Texts


Students will be given access to a range of readings in sociolinguistics, history of English, and jargon sftudies.

 

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Last updated: 18 July 2017