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This interdisciplinary programme offers you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of areas of your undergraduate degree in Language & Communication as well as to specialize in areas of interest to you and your future profession.


 Postgraduate Programmes



This interdisciplinary programme offers you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of areas of your undergraduate degree in Language & Communication as well as to specialize in areas of interest to you and your future profession. You will complete three coursework modules and a research essay (Linguistics 701). The range of modules offered each year is subject to student interest and staff availability.

Entrance requirements: BA degree with either Linguistics, a language or Language and Communication Studies as a major. Students should have attained an average of 68% in their third year.

For 2020, the Honours modules include the following offerings. You have to choose three:

Business and Organisational Communication (Linguistics 731) (Semester 1)

Participants will develop practical skills and knowledge of concepts and principles of effective business and organizational communication. They will gain an understanding of attitudes, policies, strategies and processes required in an increasingly business-minded world, as well as the multimodal/multisemiotic design features of business documentation, promotional material and advertisements.

Topics covered will include:


- Theories of mediated communication

- Context and design in organisational Communication

- Aspects of organisational Communication

- Managing corporate discourse and communication

- Corporate discourse, power and control

- Discourse, diversity and dominance in multicultural organizations

- Marketing and the changing corporate discourse in South Africa

- Business conversations and analysis in organisations

- Multimodal representations and impression management in business interaction

- Multimodality, semiotic remediation, resemiotisation, text, context and design in business communication

- Social media, marketing and business communication

- Branding and brand identities


Inter- and Cross-cultural Communication (Linguistics 732) (Semester 2)

This module examines issues involved in communicating in contexts of cultural diversity. It includes an investigation of the nature of the communicative process, the competencies required to communicate and a detailed analysis of the nature of communicating across cultures in a multicultural society.

Topics investigated include:

- Theories and practice in inter-cross-cultural communication

- Politeness, politeness systems and the presentation of face

- Communicative styles and asynchronies

- Intercultural and interlingual aspects of language use

- Culture, communication and the orality/literacy debate

- Intercultural communication in learning and business contexts

- Intercultural communication, transformation and transgressive semiotics.

- Discourse as site for cultural struggle in learning, business and other contexts.

- The notion of gendered discourse.

- Cultural perspectives on discourse (analysis)

- Popular culture, youth, urban and rural identities

- Coloniality/decoloniality and culture

- Material culture of multilingualism and multiculturalism

- Cultural flows and commodification of language and culture

Multilingualism (Cognitive and Societal Aspects) (Linguistics 735) (Semester 1)

This module aims to develop an understanding of the main characteristics of multilingualism in Africa. On completion of this module students should be able:

- To evaluate policy options available to a multilingual society.

- To analyse the main theoretical issues relevant for multilingual societies.

- To evaluate enabling strategies used in education in multilingual societies.

- To evaluate enabling strategies used in education in multilingual societies.

- To critique the social justice issues on which an enabling curriculum should be based.

- To critique the link between language and (ethnic) identity.

- To critique the notion that languages are whole bounded systems.

- To critique the ideologies of language and nationhood.

The module also aims to develop an understanding of the multilingual individual. Students should be able to:

- Evaluate different theoretical models of the multilingual individual.

- Show familiarity and be able to evaluate theories on the effects of multilingualism on the individual in terms of linguistic and cognitive effects. 

Topics covered will include:

- Definitions, distinctions, typologies and description of bilingualism.

- Bilingualism and multilingualism in society, looking at issues such as language choice, language dominance, the position of minority and majority languages, language shift, language decline and language death.

- Multilingualism as social practice

- Hybridity, mobility, translanguaging and alternative discourse practices

- Monolingual/monoglot biases in multilingualism research

- Performativity, stylization of identities and speech forms, and repertoires

- Crosslinguistic influence in language and cognition

- Linguistic and conceptual transfer

Formal Language Studies (Linguistics 737) (Semester 1)

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

- Characterize the main approaches to the study of language and characterise the formal study of language.

- Analyse how the nature, acquisition, use, and evolution of language should inform a formal theory of language.

- Identify syntactic categories and constituent structure in (un)familiar languages.

- Demonstrate appropriate working knowledge of (1) structure in nominal and clausal domains, and (ii) argument structure and grammatical dependencies.

- Confidently approach the analysis of data sets from (un)familiar languages.

- Write a coherent and logically argued review of published analyses, demonstrating a familiarity with widely used terminology and the technical issues at stake. 

Topics covered in this module include:

Basic tenets of Generative Grammar:

- Two approaches to the study of language (I- and E-Language)

- Leading ideas and problems guiding inquiry in the field

- Historical overview of the field: from Principles & Parameters Theory (P&P) to the Minimalist Programme (MP)


Key elements of Principles and Parameters Theory:

- Bounding Theory

- C-command and Government Theory

- Theta Theory

- Case Theory

- Binding Theory

- Control Theory


Implementing core insights from P&P in MP.

Extension and application of the theory to an applied domain, e.g. language variation, contact, change, acquisition, speech acts and/or information structure

Critical Media Studies (Linguistics 741) (Semester 2)

This module introduces students to ways in which critical media communication is structured, produced and interpreted. It looks at how information is transferred in newspapers, journals and magazines, radio and television, as well as new media platforms such as the internet and social media. The devices and methods of persuasion used by journalists will be critically analysed. News texts from current publications will be chosen for specialized, in depth analysis.

Topics covered in this module include:

- Approaches and theories in critical media studies

- Definitions of the media, and of news

- Distinctive features of media language in general, of language in the news in particular

- What makes events newsworthy

- The headline as a unique type of text

- Critical linguistic tools for analysing media discourse

- Critical media theories and practices

- Multimodality, media and news

- Critical multimodal discourse and analysis and media

- Political discourse analysis, media and news

- Visual syntax

- Representation of social actors in media and social media


Discourse Analysis (Linguistics 744) (Semester 2)

On completion of this module students should be able to:

- Demonstrate an understanding of research methods for collecting, transcribing and analyzing data.

- Demonstrate an understanding of context and the ways in which texts are shaped by and shape the contexts in which they occur.

- Apply concepts and theories from discourse analysis, narrative analysis and sociolinguistics to the analysis of a range of multimodal texts.

Topics covered in this module include

- Shifts in the field of discourse analysis towards a social view of language;

- The complex relationship between language and context;

- Contemporary theories of discourse analysis, including Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and narrative analysis;

- Thematic analysis;

 Sociolinguistic theories of identity/gender/race as constructed.



Students may choose to do either a full Master’s dissertation or a structured Master’s programme which includes three coursework modules (first year) and a research component or mini-dissertation (second year).

The Master’s students sit in on the Honours modules offered in the Department of Linguistics (for which they may complete additional assessment tasks).



Students write a full research thesis on a topic within any field of study for which there is expertise within the Department of Linguistics.

​Students wishing to register for these postgraduate programmes should apply to the Faculty of Arts, UWC, as well as contact the Linguistics Department's Chairperson.

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