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Language across the Lifespan

Language Change across the Lifespan

Faculté de gestion: Faculté des lettres

Responsable(s): Jennifer Thorburn
Intervenant(s): -

Période de validité: 2015 -> 2015

Pas d'horaire défini.


Semestre d'automne
2 heures par semaine
28 heures par semestre

Langue(s) d'enseignement: anglais
Public: Oui
Crédits: 0


After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

- Critically engage with sociolinguistic literature, particularly on language variation and change
- Lead thoughtful academic discussion
- Understand of how language use can change across the lifespan
- Design and conduct a quantitative research project
- Perform basic statistical analyses


This course focuses on a particular domain of sociolinguistics: intra-speaker linguistic change. Students will be introduced to case studies and conduct an independent research project to develop their understanding of how individuals do or do not change their linguistic practices after the critical period. We will discuss age-grading and lifespan change and the different methodologies that can be used to explore these topics. Students will be exposed to different tools and analyses employed in quantitative variationist sociolinguistics and are expected to design and conduct their own quantitative study as part of this course.


Assignment 1:
You will lead at least one seminar this semester. (The actual number of seminars you will lead will depend on the number of students enrolled in the course.) As the rotating discussion leader, you should come to class prepared to (i) briefly summarize the papers we have read (major questions, findings, takeaways) and (ii) lead discussion by preparing substantive questions or comments that relate to the reading and how it fits into the larger body of sociolinguistic research.

Assessment 2:
For this course you are required to write a paper exploring real-time change, studying the public figure(s) of your choice. You may analyse either: (a) the speech of a modern-day public figure OR (b) the writing of a historical figure, though it may be more difficult to find adequate data. Your subject(s) can speak any language, with the caveat that there must be enough documentation of the relevant language(s) or dialect(s) to allow you to write a thorough literature review. You are expected to perform quantitative analyses of at least two phonological, morphosyntactic, or discourse variables for your chosen subject(s) and interpret the data to determine how your findings fit with current sociolinguistic literature.

MA exams may be taken in connection with this class (see special requirements for MA exams).


To be specified

Informations supplémentaires


Canton de Vaud
Swiss University
Unicentre  -  CH-1015 Lausanne  -  Suisse  -  Tél. +41 21 692 11 11  -  Fax  +41 21 692 26 15