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This interdisciplinary programme offers students the opportunity to deepen their understanding of areas of their undergraduate degree in Language and Communication as well as to specialise in areas of interest to them and their future profession. Students 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. Normally, students should have attained an average of 68% in their third year.

The Honours modules include the following offerings. Students have to choose three:
LIN 731 Business and Organisational Communication
(1st semester)

Participants will develop practical skills and knowledge of concepts and principles of effective business and organisational 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 organisations;
  • 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; and
  • Branding and brand identities. 
LIN 732 Inter- and Cross-cultural Communication
(2nd semester)

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- and 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 a 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;
  • The material culture of multilingualism and multiculturalism; and
  • Cultural flows and commodification of language and culture.
LIN 735 Multilingualism (Cognitive, Societal and Educational Aspects)
(1st semester)

This module aims to foster an understanding of multilingualism in contexts of the individual, society, the built-environment as well as in education. It examines the cognitive and other effects of multilingualism on the individual as well as the main theoretical issues relevant to multilingual societies. In addition, the module analyses typologies, policy frameworks and practices, as well as technologies associated with multilingual education – all of these against the backdrop of new meanings of multilingualism and evolving conceptions of the nexus of language and education in multilingual environments.

Topics covered include:
  • Rethinking concepts of language and multilingualism
  • Language policies in education and society: orientations and behavioural assumptions
  • Typologies of multilingualism in education
  • Multilingual assessment: conceptualizations, cognitive-emotion interface
  • Technologies of multilingualism
  • Linguistic diversity and social (in)justice
  • The multilingual linguistic landscape
  • Language and identity in multilingual societies
  • The language portrait as a heuristic for exploring language repertoires, practices and ideologies
LIN 737 Formal Language Studies
(1st semester)

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
  • Characterise 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 an appropriate working knowledge of (1) structure in nominal and clausal domains, and (2) argument structure and grammatical dependencies;
  • Confidently approach the analysis of data sets from (un)familiar languages; and
  • 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:
The 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; and
  • Historical overview of the field from Principles and Parameters Theory (P&P) to the Minimalist Programme (MP).

The key elements of the P&P Theory:
  • Bounding Theory;
  • C-command and Government Theory;
  • Theta Theory;
  • Case Theory;
  • Binding Theory; and
  • Control Theory.
  • Implementing core insights from P&P Theory in MP; and
  • Extension and application of the theory to an applied domain, e.g. language variation, contact, change, acquisition, speech acts and/or information structure.
LIN 741 Critical Media Studies
(2nd semester)

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 specialised, in-depth analysis.

Topics covered in this module include:
  • Approaches and theories in critical media studies;
  • Definitions of the media and news;
  • Distinctive features of media language in general, 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; and
  • Representation of social actors in media and social media.
LIN 744 Discourse Analysis
(2nd semester)

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of research methods for collecting, transcribing, and analysing data;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of context and how texts are shaped by and shape the contexts in which they occur; and
  • 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; and
  • 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 (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. 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.