Course Descriptions

ENGE5010 Theoretical Linguistics

 

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This course provides a broad introduction to general linguistics and the fundamental properties of human language shared by all language systems. It includes a survey of phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic structures of language, thus enabling students to investigate established theoretical premise for the linguistic description of natural languages and describe general grammatical properties of language universals in the light of the theory established. This course also equips students with some analytical tools and techniques for linguistic analysis and provides practice in using these scientific ways to discover the organizing principles underlying a language.

 

ENGE5410 Psycholinguistics

 

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The course will examine some linguistic, behavioural, and neural aspects of language and speech in an English-as-a-second/foreign-language (ESL/EFL) or English-related bilingual context. Selected issues in speech perception, language comprehension and language production as well as the intermediate stages that comprise the language of thought will be considered. Special attention will be given to some current, representative models of discourse comprehension and production and their relevance to second language teaching and learning.

 

ENGE5420 Sociolinguistics

 

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This course provides a survey of the relationship between social variables (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, attitude, style, location, time, social status, power, politics, and network membership) and variations in language in use. Some key areas covered include language attitudes and choice, language maintenance and shift, code alternation, contact languages, standard and vernacular languages, language planning and policy, regional and social dialects, influences of age and gender on language in use, politeness theory, linguistic stereotyping, as well as culture and language. Sociolinguistic research methods are also introduced.

 

ENGE5430 Second Language Acquisition

 

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This course focuses on how English as a second/foreign language develops in the individual. It provides an overview of four general categories of current interests in the field; they are: 1) the internal mechanisms of learning a second language; 2) the impact of first language on second language learning; 3) the role of learners’ psychological and affective characteristics and other social and functional factors in second language learning; and 4) the acquisition of English phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics in the second language context. Selected current theories of second language acquisition are reviewed, with particular emphasis on their relevance to Chinese learners of English.

 

ENGE5440 Language and Intercultural Communication

 

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This course examines the relationship between language and intercultural communication theory, research, and practice to better understand communication between culturally diverse people. It addresses core concepts in this interdisciplinary area of study including: conceptions of culture and multiculturalism; the relationship between language, culture, power, and context; English as the primary language of intercultural/ international communication; language and identity (re)construction; race and ethnicity; generalizations and stereotypes; values, assumptions, and worldviews; nonverbal and verbal communication; intercultural relationship development; language/ culture shock and intercultural adaptation; and intercultural communicative competence.

 

ENGE5450 Corpus Linguistics

 

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A corpus (plural corpora) is body of written text and/or transcribed speech which can serve as a basis for linguistic analysis and description. This course explores the ways in which corpora can be used to study the frequency and distribution of linguistic items, as well as collocations, keywords, and register variation. Most of the lectures are followed by a practical session, during which students gain hands-on experience in using the corpora and software demonstrated and/or discussed in the lectures. The corpora used include the International Corpus of English (ICE), the British National Corpus (BNC), the Chinese Learner English Corpus (CLEC), and many others. Students will learn how to use standard text retrieval software, including WordSmith, ICECUP, and WMatrix. The course is heavily computer-oriented, but no programming skills are required.

 

ENGE5510 Curriculum Design and Materials Preparation

 

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This course aims to give students a deeper understanding of the process of second language curriculum development in general, and of second language course design and materials preparation in particular. The course aims to help students understand the possibilities and constraints in the process of developing second language syllabuses and course materials. It also has the practical aim of improving course members’ ability in designing English language courses and teaching materials relevant to specific student populations.

 

ENGE5520 Evaluation and Testing

 

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This course examines the process of evaluation in second language learning. Evaluation refers to the systematic gathering of information for purposes of making value judgements about language learning programmes and the participants in these programmes. The methods of enquiry include observations, interviews, meetings, questionnaires, and testing. Public English proficiency examinations, both local and overseas, will be critically assessed. Key ideas in testing will be covered: validity and reliability; tests of global proficiency and of separate skills; particular problems with tests of listening and oral English; tests of communicative competence.

 

ENGE5530 Second Language Classroom Research

 

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This course presents an overview of the development of classroom-based research in the second language context. A central issue underlying the discussions is what possible effect(s) the various classroom processes may bring to the task of acquiring English as a second language (ESL). This will require an examination of the major instructional and non-instructional processes identified in an ESL classroom discourse, a critical evaluation of the observational instruments adopted to date, and a survey of the different types of second language classroom-related research. This course is designed to help MPhil students prepare for research in second or foreign language classroom settings. Subjects to the approval of the Graduate Panel, this course may be taken as one of the postgraduate electives for the M.A. in English (Applied English Linguistics).

 

ENGE5540 Research Methods*

 

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This course presents an introduction to research methods in applied linguistics (e.g. qualitative, quantitative, mixed method) and the preparation and refinement of research proposals. Discussion focuses on the identification of research problems; the formation of research hypotheses; a critical review of relevant research literature; and the selection of appropriate research designs including: sampling procedures, pilot studies, methods of data collection, methods of data analysis, instrumentation and measurement, statistical techniques, and modes of analysis (including the use of software). The course promotes a more qualified “critical consumption” of published and unpublished research in the field.

 

(*This course is designed for M.Phil and PhD students in applied linguistics. If MA students in applied linguistics wish to take the course, they must receive special permission from the Postgraduate Coordinator of Applied Linguistics.)

 

ENGE5550 English for Specific Purposes

 

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This course will introduce students to the field of teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP) by exploring the primary context for ESP teaching and research (academic institutions of higher education, the workplace, and professional institutions and organizations). The course will examine the main issues and concepts related to the field in terms of their historical and discipline-specific relevance. Topics include the concepts of learner needs, target situation analysis, authenticity, discourse community, genres, and specialist knowledge. The course will equip students with a better understanding of how to design language programmes to suit the needs of a specific group of learners.

 

ENGE5560 Second Language Teaching

 

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This course provides a survey of theory and practice in the teaching of English as an additional language. Topics include current and historical views of second language instruction, a survey of factors which affect the second language learning process, and the presentation of language learning and teaching models. Issues related to English language teaching in Chinese/Asian contexts are highlighted.

 

ENGE5570 Discourse and Pragmatics

 

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This course examines language from pragmatic and discourse analytic perspectives. Topics include speech act theory, conversational implicature, cross-cultural pragmatics, and politeness theory. Other topics include conversation analysis, discourse structure and segmentation, cohesion, coherence, and discourse and intertextuality. Students will have the opportunity to examine samples of real life language employing the approaches to analysis presented in the course.

 

ENGE5580 Second Language Writing

 

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This course focuses on current theories of writing and teaching writing and what they mean for EFL/ESL teachers. It introduces different methodologies, practices, and techniques commonly used in teaching L2 composition. It has a special focus on process and genre of writing as well as teacher and peer feedback in learning to write. It discusses the role of technology in promoting new models of writing classrooms. The course also has a practical aim of training how to design effective writing syllabuses, lessons, materials, and tasks to promote more effective writing. It emphasizes how to critically assess the effectiveness and appropriateness of sample syllabus.

 

ENGE5590 Computer Applications in Second Language Teaching

 

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This course enables students to understand the relationship between second language acquisition theories and computer applications to language learning (CALL) and gain familiarity with computer software and Internet resources available for English/second language teaching. Students learns to use computers and the Internet as teaching aids, design learning activities using a range of CALL software, and evaluate software and Internet resources for teaching purposes.

 

ENGE5600 Special Topics in Applied English Linguistics

 

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This course provides an opportunity for students to be exposed to some current developments in certain area of applied linguistic research in English. The topics vary according to the research expertise of the staff or the visiting academics.

 

Subject to the approval of the postgraduate linguistics coordinator, students are allowed to take the above course more than once and gain the units each time they pass the course. However, students cannot take courses with the same course code more than once in a single term.

 

ENGE5610 Issues in Contemporary Applied English Linguistics

 

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This course will focus on topics in applied English linguistics which are not discussed in depth in other AEL postgraduate courses. The topics will vary according to the expertise of the staff or visiting academics. Students will be expected to develop an understanding of the topic through reading and discussion of related research and data analysis.

 

Subject to the approval of the Division Head, students are allowed to take the above course more than once and gain the units each time they pass the course. However, students cannot take courses with the same course code more than once in a single term.

 

ENGE5620 The Acquisition and Teaching of L2 Pronunciation

 

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This course focuses on both the acquisition of a second language (L2) sound system and the teaching of L2 pronunciation. The first part of the course focuses on the acquisition of L2 phonology, and covers child first language (L1) acquisition, theories of L2 phonological acquisition, and linguistic and social factors affecting the acquisition and use of a L2 sound system. In the second part of the course, the foci is on the application of theory into practice, and examines models for English pronunciation teaching; goals, models, and issues in the development of a pronunciation curriculum; and practical guidelines for the teaching of vowels, consonants, and suprasegmentals.

 

ENGE5630 Cognitive Linguistics and Its Applications in Language Teaching

 

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This course provides an overview of the discipline of cognitive linguistics and its application in second language teaching. Cognitive linguists understand the language that we encounter every day as input from which we draw inferences about form-meaning relationships, typical patterns, and schemata. The course addresses core concepts in this area of study including: prototype, perspective, categorization, image schema, figure and ground, metaphor, metonymy, entrenchment, embodied cognition, gesture, construction grammar, attention and salience, and contingency learning. The course discusses how cognitive linguists design pedagogical methods and stimulate learners to explore the deeper meanings of grammatical forms.

 

ENGE8000 M.Phil. Guided Research

 

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In this course, the supervisor will see the student on a regular basis and advise the student on all matters related to M.Phil. thesis research. Continuing students will be required to register for this course throughout their thesis preparation.