EL6058 - Language, Meaning and the Mind

What will I learn on this module?

This module provides a detailed overview of the key concepts and issues in semantics (the study of language meaning). Along the way, we will discover a range of tools for analysing language and we will be engaging with current debates in linguistic theory. The module takes a problem-solving, interactive approach to analysing meaning and is designed to develop your ability to discover patterns (and exceptions) in language data.

How will I learn on this module?

The module will be delivered through a combination of interactive lectures and seminars. The interactive lectures will provide a detailed overview of key themes and theories in the field of cognitive science. The seminars will provide you with an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and understanding through discussing and comparing competing theories, and implementing the tools of analysis associated with these theories.

In addition to learning during taught hours with the module tutor, you will be expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning generally will take the form of preparation for seminars where you will be expected to contribute to group work and full class discussion. Independent learning generally will take the form of further reading and investigation, the consolidation of seminar notes, and revision/preparation for the assessment of the module.

All learning materials, tasks and readings will be posted on the eLP (e-learning portal) to facilitate full participation in the module. Additionally, you will receive formative feedback on your ideas and understandings throughout the module. The module’s final, summative assessment will also provide an opportunity for learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module will be taught by a mixture of interactive lectures and seminars designed to develop your academic knowledge and skills in order to help you attain the module learning outcomes. Your academic development will also be facilitated through engagement with the academic literature and by talking with your peers and the module tutor. This will include reading around the topic, undertaking practical analyses and discussing and reflecting upon what you have read and analysed.

The module handbook provides details of lectures, seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria; lecture materials are made available on the eLP (see above). The module tutor will be available in lectures and seminars, as well as in ‘Feedback and consultation hours’ (i.e. ‘office hours’) and on email, to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel academically on the module. Formative feedback will be on-going throughout seminar/workshop activities; written formative feedback will be provided on a short formative exercise, which takes the form of a scaled down version of the summative assessment.

In addition, you have a designated Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme. The academic side of the Guidance Tutor’s role includes: monitoring your ongoing academic progress; helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development; directing you to further available services which can help them with their academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus). You are advised to see your Guidance Tutor at least twice each semester to review your academic progress.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. Compare and evaluate different and competing theories of meaning.

2. Demonstrate and understanding of the role of context in the generation of meaning.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

1. Demonstrate your ability to analyse written and spoken texts and to enrich this analysis with secondary research.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

1. Demonstrate intellectual openness to historical and contemporary academic perspectives on language meaning.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment

1. You will receive ongoing formative feedback on seminar work, which involves the completion of short-answer exercises.

2. At a mid-way point in the module, you will receive written feedback on an analysis of language data. This formative assessment exercise mirrors the format of the final, summative assessment on a smaller scale.

Formative assessments address MLOs in ‘Knowledge and Understanding’, ‘Intellectual/Professional skills & abilities’, and ‘Personal Values Attributes’.

Summative (graded) Assessments

1. Summative assessment is by one 3,000 word essay and textual analysis. You will be given the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of semantic phenomena as well as an ability to apply this knowledge in an analysis of language data.

2. The assessment will be part of the learning process, and addresses all four MLOS.

Feedback will be provided using the Programme template and comments on the script.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code Q310

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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