ELL216 : Language Politics, Language Policy and Language Planning

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

Language is highly political. It has always been closely linked to how people define themselves and how they define others and so it has always been a means of control in society. From our earliest years we are taught that some features of language are good while others are bad, and this doctrine is based on the idea that there are standards in language. We start the module by exploring this idea before moving on to see how control is exercised in language matters in a range of contexts and in various parts of the world. Languages change and languages die and languages are reborn. Some of this is based on internal change but mostly things happen to languages because people do things to them. Language can be manipulated or managed at every level from the home and the school right up to national and international governments, and in this module we will be encountering the full range of intervention in languages. This module is about what we do with our languages and why we do it. You will encounter and have the chance to work on cases studies from across the world, and there will be a strong emphasis on the role of English worldwide.


You will be required to attend two classes each week. Some of these will be traditional lectures and some interactive workshops where your preparation and input is essential.


The first assignment will be to write an essay of not more than 2500 words on a topic chosen from a list of titles handed out in week 6. The topics will relate to the issues discussed in the first half of the module, and the workshop in week 6 will focus on preparation for this element of the course. The second assessment will be another essay of not more than 2500 words, this time discussing the roles and effectiveness of various agents in language planning and language politics and based on the material presented in the latter half of the module.

Contact Details

0114 222 0216


Information last changed: Tuesday 15th of March 2016 :: 03:59:03 PM (GMT)


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