Language and Society

Introduction to Language and Society

This course provides a basic user-friendly introduction to the study of language and the relationship between language and society. Since the course targets people who have no prior knowledge of the subject, it presents information in short units, introducing the major concepts in language study – the analysis of language use on different levels. To increase student engagement with the teaching materials, the course also includes practical activities involving data analysis and interpretation.

Main topics:

  • Sociolinguistics as a study area and some basic concepts
  • Discourse analysis
  • Language and culture
  • Language policy and planning


Key question:

  • How does the speaker’s social role affect language use?
  • How does culture influence linguistic behaviour?
  • What is the relation between language and ideology?
  • Do multilinguals have any benefits?
  • How are we affected by language policies and how can we affect them ourselves?


Learning outcomes / competences:

  • Define the most basic linguistic terms
  • Explain the intricate links between language and society
  • Analyse language use in relation to social factors such as culture, age, status, etc.
  • Apply the knowledge of sociolinguistic theory, research methods, main concepts and terminology in data analysis

Course start date:

  • 2018-04-02

Course duration:

  • 4 weeks


  • 3 ECTS (80 academic hours)

Course language:

  • English

Course level:

  • English language proficiency at Level B2


  • None

Target group:

  • Applicants who have no background in linguistics

Recognition of competences:

  • Digital badge, digital certificate recognized in Course creator organization

Related programs:


Jūratė Ruzaitė

Professor of the Department of Foreign Language, Literary and Translation Studies at Vytautas Magnus University, researcher at the Centre of Intercultural Communication and Multilingualism, Kaunas, Lithuania

Researcher and educator with rich experienced in (inter)national research projects. Coordinator of the joint-degree programme “International Master’s in Sociolinguistics and Multilingualism”. Education professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) focused in Linguistics from University of Bergen (Norway). Research interests include sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, language and ideology.


Violeta Kalėdaitė

Profesor at the Department of Foreign Language, Literary and Translation Studies at Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania

She got her PhD from the University of Bergen (Norway) and has taught in universities in Europe and the USA. Research interests include multilingualism and language policy, contrastive studies of language, and language acquisition.

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