This module explores the relationship between linguistic form and speaker identity. Drawing on diverse work in the fields of stylistics, sociolinguistics and language and gender studies, we explore how “identity” can be understood as a theoretical concept and an object of study, and at the complex relationship between identity language and power.
The module is centred on the concept of the ‘idiolect’ - the language of the individual. We consider how individuals utilise linguistic resources for their self-representation, looking at particular aspects of identity (power, social class, ethnicity and particularly gender), assessing how a speaker’s choices may differ or develop in reflection of their social experiences, and how the same choices intersect with the socio-cultural norms (register, genre, sociolect) of their speech community.
The module explores the topics using texts from different historical periods and different genres (including political speeches, private letters, news and social media texts), combining both quantitative and qualitative analytic methods.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay