ELL110 : Varieties of English

Convenor(s): Dr Gerry Howley


Please note: This module may or may not run in any given semester. Please check with the tutor.

General Information

This course explores the extraordinary diversity of the English language today, and is concerned with describing the features, use and status of contemporary varieties of English in Britain and around the world. Extraterritorial varieties are located within histories of expansion, colonialism, and globalisation, and considered in relation to the role of English as an international language. We investigate developments which led to the social and geographic distribution of certain present day varieties in Britain. Students will apply tools of description for all linguistic levels, and develop awareness of sociolinguistic aspects of language such as social indexing, attitudes and standardisation, as well as the relationship between variation and change.


There are two lectures each week with an accompanying weekly workshop. Lectures are delivered by different staff and guest speakers on areas in which they have particular expertise. Students will have the same workshop tutor for the duration of the module. Workshop preparation sheets will be distributed ahead of time. These are not to be submitted, but the preparatory reading and exercises are designed to facilitate learning in the workshop.


There are three assessments for this module:

  1. A descriptive account of the features found in some short recordings of varieties of British English (20%). You will listen to some recordings of varieties of British English and describe them in terms of sounds, structures, and lexis.
  2. Poster presentation (40%). You will work in a group to investigate the dialect features of a variety of English using a number of web-based resources and published research. You will be shown how to use these resources in the course of the module.
  3. Exam (40%). The exam will assess your understanding of key topics, terms, and concepts covered over the course of the module.

Contact Details

0114 222 0216


Information last changed: Tuesday 21st of March 2017 :: 11:49:53 AM (GMT)


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK