HENK00007U English - Free topic 7: Perspectives on Language Variation

Volume 2018/2019

Both courses (or part-courses) in this module address the phenomenon of linguistic variation albeit from different perspectives. While both courses fall under the rubric of language variation, Accents of English draws on phonological and sociophonetic theories and Cognitive Sociolinguistics draws social psychology and social cognition. Consequently, the module gives students with an interest in linguistic variation a rich and multifaceted perspective on this linguistic phenomenon.


Cognitive Sociolinguistics (Kim Ebensgaard Jensen)

Cognitive sociolinguistics is an emerging field which, combining sociolinguistics and cognitive linguistics, seeks to address the mental aspects of linguistic variation and, more broadly, study the linkage between the social and the cognitive realities of language. This course will introduce the students to central ideas and important findings in cognitive sociolinguistics. We will look at variation in several aspects of language (including grammar, lexicon, and discourse) and how this can be related to mental phenomena in speakers such as social stereotypes, mental models of society, and conceptualizations of communicative situations as well as cultural models and worldviews. Since cognitive sociolinguistics is still very much an emerging field, this course is in many ways on the cutting edge and is a great opportunity to witness, and maybe even contribute to, a scientific field in development.


Accents of English (Christian Jensen)

The pronunciation of English varies immensely across the British Isles and beyond, but how exactly does a Geordie or Yorkshire accent differ from a London / Cockney accent. How can word pairs like pane–pain, daze–days be homophones in most accents of English but not in some parts of Wales? How come put and putt are different in standard English and American accents but not in the north of England? Is H Dropping only characteristic of a working-class London accent (Cockney), like that of Eliza and Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady? And why did Professor Higgins find it so important for Eliza to change her accent?

In this course we will examine how, and to some extent why, accents vary. The primary focus will be on the regional variation that results from various splits and mergers and other linguistic processes, but we will also examine how accents vary across social factors – most notably socio-economic class.

Cognitive sociolinguistics:

Compendium: Cognitive Sociolinguistics. [contains excerpts from textbooks and monographs as well as research articles]


Accents of English:


Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English 1. An introduction. Cambridge University Press.

Hughes, A., P. Trudgill & D. Watt (2012). English Accents and Dialects: An Introduction to Social and Regional Varieties of English in the British Isles. Hodder Education.

Wardhaugh, R. & J.M.  Fuller (2014). An introduction to sociolinguistics. 7th edition. Wiley Blackwell.

Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English 2. The British Isles. Cambridge University Press. Online access through  KB: http:/​/​ebooks.cambridge.org.ep.fjernadgang.kb.dk/​ebook.jsf?bid=CBO9780511611759.

Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English 3. Beyond The British Isles. Cambridge University Press. Online access through  KB: http:/​/​ebooks.cambridge.org.ep.fjernadgang.kb.dk/​ebook.jsf?bid=CBO9780511611766.

Classes, with particular emphasis on reading primary and secondary texts, oral discussion and developing proficiency in English.
This course only leads to exams Free Topic 4 with Written and Oral Proficiency in English.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 353,5
  • Total
  • 409,5
Type of assessment
Exam registration requirements

This course only leads to exams Free Topic 4 with Written and Oral Proficiency in English.

Criteria for exam assesment