Motivational Processes and Practices in Accelerated Ab-initio Language Learning

This report focuses on motivation in ab initio language learning.

Ab initio language degree programmes in HE institutions in England and Scotland: a mapping survey and a case study

This report consists of a mapping survey of ab initio degree provision in England and Scotland.

Languages, linguistics and area studies students in the National Student Survey 2011

This report is a summary of interviews and focus groups with around 100 students and 50 members of academic staff in departments of languages, linguistics or area studies at nine universities in the UK

External examining: issues in languages, linguistics and area studies

This is a brief report on the issues raised at the LLAS discussion group at “External examining in the humanities” held at the University of Sheffield on 18 February 2011. Please contact John Canning with any comments or suggestions about how LLAS might support current and future external examiners. Further resources from the workshop including a presentation on UUK’s review of external examining are available from the workshop website


Languages, linguistics and area studies students in the National Student Survey 2010

The attached document displays the results of the 2010 National Student Survey in Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies.

Languages, linguistics and area studies students in the National Student Survey 2009: an analysis by subject and gender

This analysis was undertaken by Gosia Kulej-Turner, a consultant employed by the Higher Education Academy.

Modern foreign languages, higher education and mobile learning

A review of literature on Modern Foreign Languages and mobile learning at Higher Education Institutions in the United Kingdom, with a particular focus on the importance of the context on students’ learning experience

Modern Foreign Language departments at Higher Education Institutions in the United Kingdom are considered to be in a precarious situation, with declining enrolments on specialist language degree courses, in a context of an ever-increasing diversification of the student population.

At the same time, many universities have launched programmes and developed strategies to expand the use of e-learning and mobile learning within their departments with a view to maximise students’ learning experience.

This paper will define mobile learning in the context of Modern Foreign Languages and will consider the importance of the learning context, based on theories of collaborative learning.

Runner-up of the student award 2010: Studying languages, linguistics or area studies at university: a guide for new students

India-Chloe Woof, a 3rd year French and Linguistics student at the University of Sheffield, was a runner up in the Subject Centre's undergraduate student award competition 2010.

Runner-up of the student award 2010: My future employability: the benefits of a languages, linguistics or area studies degree

Rosie Shimmin, a 4th year German and Politics student at Cardiff University, was a runner up in the Subject Centre's undergraduate student award competition 2010.

Runner-up of the student award 2010: My future employability: the benefits of a languages, linguistics or area studies degree

Ciaran Roe, a 4th year Italian and English Literature student at the University of Edinburgh, was a runner up in the Subject Centre's undergraduate student award competition 2010.

Runner-up of the student award 2010: Encouraging school pupils to study languages, linguistics or area studies at university

Sarah Louise Badrock, a 1st year Middle Eastern and Modern European Language student at the University of Manchester, was a runner up in the Subject Centre's undergraduate student award competition 2010.

Winner of the student award: Encouraging school pupils to study languages, linguistics or area studies at university

The winner of the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2010 is Daniel Finch-Race, a 3rd year Modern European Languages student at the University of Edinburgh. Daniel’s winning entry is a promotional article aimed at encouraging school pupils to study languages, linguistics or area studies at university.

Guide to languages, linguistics and area studies in the National Student Survey

The National Student Survey is a census of final year undergraduate students in the UK. Conducted since 2005, the 2009 survey asks students 22 questions about their learning experience at university. Each institution's results are broken down by discipline and made publicly available on the Unistats website.


Why study Phonetics?

This paper was written by two students about the exciting and informative experience of studying phonetics at university.

Studying Typology

This paper was written by a student about their experiences of studying 'typology' within their linguistics degree at university.

Integrating key work skills into an undergraduate language module: marketing and media in France

‘Marketing and the Media in France’ is a final-year undergraduate module which integrates the development of key or transferable skills with the acquisition of subject-specific knowledge (of marketing and the advertising media in France) and the development of all four language skills. This case study provides an outline of the module, its aims and assessment methods, introduces some of the resources used to support the module and reviews student responses regarding the challenges and benefits of integrating key skills into a final-year module as they prepare to make the transition into the world of work.

Employability and Enquiry-Based Learning in Languages

The UK seems to be experiencing a dilemma regarding languages and employment, with a reduction in the number of students taking languages at specialist level and yet an increase in demand for competent linguists in all fields of work worldwide. This paper will address some of the issues facing both recruiters to language programmes in HE and language graduates embarking on the job market. Since, currently, British language graduates are something of a minority, we will consider the “added value” qualities they can offer to employers, and what employers are seeking in job candidates that linguists might uniquely fulfil.
In French Studies at the University of Manchester, we have been engaged in several innovative projects exploring the use of Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL) within our grammar and oral programmes and also in a project designed to maximize students’ linguistic experience of their residence abroad (not discussed in this paper). We believe that EBL methods enable students to achieve both an expert “product” and a transferable “process” as the outcome of their studies, thus providing them with valuable employment skills: successful group-working strategies, confidence in giving presentations, practice in time-management, administrative and organizational skills, the ability to research independently through a variety of resources, and a flexible, open-minded attitude to new situations and tasks.

Why teach French sociolinguistics?

What is the place of linguistics and sociolinguistics in the undergraduate French programme? For 20 years, I taught a second-year undergraduate module (10 weeks, 2 hours/ week) on ‘The making of the modern French language’, chosen by about 20 students each year. The course was modified to take account of research, seminar discussions, students’ work, and feedback questionnaires. This description of the course is intended as an encouragement to colleagues teaching French to undergraduates to consider offering a course on similar (or different!) lines, or to consider including in an existing course some of the topics and/or approaches outlined here.

Lancaster – Graz intercultural Web-based project: intercultural learning across the Net

This paper presents a web-based, cross-cultural project designed to develop foreign language students’ awareness of both their own culture and the target culture. In addition to the cultural sensitising aspect of the project, students also benefited in terms of their language learning, in particular their reading and writing skills in the foreign language. This was a joint project with Karl-Franzens University, Graz.

Interpreting in the teaching of undergraduates: at the interface of HE and business

Durham offers a final-year German Interpreting module teaching simultaneous, consecutive, liaison and on-sight interpreting on the basis of European Parliament debates. All performance indicators testify to the module’s success:

  • High student numbers
  • Highest possible satisfaction rates in student surveys
  • A prestigious institutional award for innovation and teaching excellence
  • Provision of an excellent foundation for postgraduate studies in Translation/Interpreting
  • Acknowledgement of value by numerous employers who have praised students’ transferable skills and readiness for the work market.

The skills-based approach of this course leads to reflective learning, instills infectious enthusiasm in students, and operates effectively at the HE-business interface, satisfying the demands of the academic and the business world.

Autonomous acquisition of Italian culture within language learning: the experience of CAMILLE (Cultural Awareness Modules to Improve Language Learning Experience)

This contribution focuses on an innovative e-learning project recently initiated at the University of Manchester. CAMILLE (Cultural Awareness Modules to Improve Language Learning Experience) aims to design, develop and implement innovative e-learning resources to enhance students’ awareness of Italian culture (understood in the widest sense) in support of their language learning experience. The paper presents some of the content and resources that have been developed for the project, and discusses how this innovative e-learning approach to teaching Italian culture fits into the language learning experience of different groups of students.

Promoting the study of languages in the South East through school-university partnerships: the Aimhigher Kent and Medway Languages Project

The Aimhigher Kent and Medway Languages Project was initiated in 2005 as a response to the growing concern about falling numbers of students choosing languages at GCSE and continuing with post-compulsory language study in an area (the Thames Gateway and the Channel area) where demographic changes and the proximity to the rest of Europe makes international opportunities relevant to its economic regeneration. The aim was to raise awareness of the potential of language learning and the importance of intercultural awareness among KS3 students in Aimhigher schools by increasing motivation and self-confidence through a programme of activities including interactive workshops and online social learning platforms. It also aims to raise aspirations and understanding of progression and careers in MFL among students and their families. The project is currently led by the Open University in the South East under the Aimhigher consortium, in collaboration with the University of Kent and eleven schools in Kent and Medway.

This paper describes a number of initiatives developed by the project, the results achieved so far, and the findings of the research into language perceptions that has been carried out in partner schools. The Languages Project aims to create a model which can be replicated elsewhere.

The diversity of language services

Every year the schools in the two national networks, translation and interpreting (NNT and NNI), receive representatives from various agencies who are looking into recruiting our postgraduate students not just for work in translation but in jobs classed as ‘translation projects’ where linguists are expected to fulfil such functions as project managers, terminologists, translators, localisers, revisers, editors and publishers. The interpreting services of international organisations talk to our students about remote and ‘chat room’ interpreting, where interpreters reproduce a verbal exchange on a computer screen. And if subtitling used to be exclusively the job of the translator with knowledge of specialised software, nowadays subtitling agencies are keen to recruit simultaneous interpreters. The discussion in this presentation will focus on the diversity of language services.

Liaison interpreting as a teaching technique for Italian

This article is based on my own experience as a tutor of liaison interpreting as a final-year option in the Department of Italian, Leeds University. First, a definition of liaison interpreting will be given, followed by a short comparison between liaison and consecutive as well as simultaneous interpreting.  Particular attention will be dedicated to how liaison interpreting can be a very useful method of language teaching.  Afterwards, I will talk about how this module is delivered in the Department of Italian, Leeds University.  Issues such as group size, methodology adopted to deliver the module, strategies and skills that are necessary to teach this subject will be underlined. I will discuss the importance of giving regular feedback and the types of feedback which may be most useful to students on this type of module.  Lastly, this paper will deal with assessment procedures and difficulties encountered by students/problems specific to Italian.  The conclusion will underline the benefits of this course as a learning and teaching exercise as well as a way of encouraging students to consider further training leading to a possible career in interpreting.

The Language Café

The Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies is coordinating a two-year European Socrates Lingua 1 funded project exploring informal and socially situated language learning for adults. The Language Café project draws on the existing and growing café culture around Europe and aims to create an expanding network of Language Cafés which take place in real cafes and other publicly accessible social spaces. This paper outlines the background to the Language Café project, reports on progress to date, and discusses the major successes and challenges encountered in setting up and sustaining a Language Café.

Keeping up the good work: the motivational profiles of students in secondary and higher education

With the transition from school to Higher Education students are expected to adapt to a new learning environment and to new demands and expectations. As a consequence, during their first year in a Modern Languages Department some learners may have problems learning the language efficiently. They may either be unaware of the new demands, or have difficulties learning in the new situation. Based on the changes in the learning situation caused by the transition from school to university, I shall use a single case study in order to describe some possible negative effects of a mismatch between institutional and students' expectations on the motivational disposition of the students.

Reactivating lapsed language skills: an exploration of language memory

Training to be a teacher is a stressful undertaking but for trainee language teachers, whose linguistic skills are under constant and close scrutiny from mentors, tutors and pupils, this can be a particularly challenging time. Many students, for a variety of personal and professional reasons, allow their language competence and confidence to decline. This study investigates ways of reactivating lapsed language skills in the context of a PGCE programme where students have been invited to take part in a reflective activity to identify effective ways of regaining their former linguistic competence and to contemplate useful strategies to maximise their language memory and ways to develop effective learning styles. This research project is nearing the end of its initial stage and it is intended that the findings will form the basis for a guided learning programme for the next cohort of modern foreign languages trainee teachers.

Engaging with employers at the University of Liverpool

This paper presents initiatives recently introduced at the University of Liverpool to engage employers in a range of activities in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies. The paper shows how employers have contributed to the School’s employability agenda outside of a formal career management module. It also demonstrates the importance of a partnership between an academic department and a careers service in order to develop and maintain links with employers.

The Listening Log: exploiting listening opportunities beyond the classroom

When Erasmus and Study Abroad students come to the UK they are exposed to a great deal of language in their new environment. This exposure presents them with a wealth of listening opportunities, many of which can be exploited for learning and skills development. This paper explains why the Listening Log was introduced and what it entails. Samples of Listening Log entries will be used to illustrate how keeping a Listening Log can encourage learners to apply skills covered on the course and reflect on their own performance, thus achieving autonomy.

Runner up in the student award 2009: How have you been inspired by studying languages, linguistics or area studies at university?

Amelia Villiers-Stuart, a 1st year French and English Literature student at the University of Edinburgh, was a runner up in the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2009.

Runner up in the student award 2009: How have you been inspired by studying languages, linguistics or area studies at university?

Vladislav Mackevic, a 2nd year International Relations and English student at Aston University, was a runner up in the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2009.

Runner up in the student award 2009: How have you been inspired by studying languages, linguistics or area studies at university?

Deborah Adams, 4th year Humanities with English Language student at the Open University, was a runner up in the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2009.

Winner of the student award 2009: How have you been inspired by studying languages, linguistics or area studies at university?

The winner of the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2009 was Laura Gent, a 4th year Modern Languages student at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Middle Eastern Studies in the United Kingdom

The study of the Middle East in UK universities dates back at least to the seventeenth century. The Middle East is taught and researched by scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines and student numbers studying Middle Eastern languages and area studies have substantially increased in the last few years.

Mobile Learning, Collaborative Learning and World Languages - The Flexi-Pack Project at SOAS-UCL CETL for Languages of the Wider World

The SOAS-UCL CETL for ‘Languages of the Wider World’ (LWW CETL) aims to promote excellence in the teaching and learning of languages that do not have a large presence in higher education in the United Kingdom but which are of increasing strategic importance locally and globally. A key objective of the CETL is to support blended language learning, the combination of face-to-face learning and self-study, using multimedia materials.
LWW CETL has launched the Flexi-Pack project to create a whole range of mobile learning (M-learning) materials with a fully-integrated approach between traditional lessons and self-study. This paper will present the pedagogical rationale behind the Flexi-Packs and will also recommend further developments in relation to them (e.g., collaborative learning) in order to maximise students’ motivations.


What students say about linguistics: why study syntax?

This paper was written by a student about their experiences of studying linguistics at university.

What students say about linguistics: why study French linguistics?

This paper was written by a student about their experiences of studying linguistics at university.

Student diversity and the assessment dilemma

Widening access to higher education has implications for modern foreign language learning, teaching and assessment. This paper addresses dilemmas when assessing increasingly diverse cohorts of students. It draws on analysis of questionnaires with 88 students taking free modules at ab initio level at University of Worcester in 2007-08. The aim was to study students’ previous language learning experiences. The paper considers the benefits and drawbacks of a portfolio-based approach to assessment, assessing students with visual impairment and dyslexia, and questions how to encourage students of diverse backgrounds to enter into language learning whilst maintaining rigorous standards of assessment.

Plenary: Languages in Higher Education Conference 2008: transitions and connections

To follow

Runner up in the student award 2008: What makes a good lecturer?

Marta Dados, a second year French, Spanish and English student at the University of Glasgow, is a runner up in the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2008.

Runner up in the student award 2008: What makes a good lecturer?

Caroline Smith, a final year Linguistics student at the University of Cambridge, was a runner up in the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2008.

Student award 2008: What makes a good lecturer?

The winner of the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2008 was Siobhan Tebbs Wesley, a final year student studying a Combined Honours in Arts (Arabic, French, Russian and Sociology) at Durham University.

Marking students’ written work: principles and practice

This practical guide to marking MFL and EFL students’ written work covers continuous writing and translation. Marking is considered as one stage in an integrated, collaborative process of teaching and learning, requiring awareness of the tutor’s dual role as coach and assessor, and consultation and calibration among tutors. Issues discussed include: How much to mark; making appropriate comments; using symbols for the nature and seriousness of errors; consistency and fairness; giving positive feedback through ticks; converting quantitative scores into marks. The guide concludes with three illustrated case studies: a marked copy of a piece of first-year writing in French; suggested criteria for assessment of Year Abroad projects; a marked copy of a final-year English to French translation. Reference is made to surveys of research findings on marking.


Teaching and assessing phonetic transcription: a roundtable discussion

This report is from the 2nd meeting of the Phonetic Transcription Group held on 3 May 2007 in the Dept of Linguistics and Phonetics, University of Leeds. Attendees represented a number of different perspectives and specialisms, including general phonetics, clinical phonetics and phonology, corpus linguistics, sociophonetics, English language.

Teaching language and gender

The relationship between language and gender has long been of interest within sociolinguistics and related disciplines. After overviewing the history of the subject, the article discusses possible content for language and gender courses as well as addressing issues which may arise in the classroom setting.

Learning and teaching discourse analysis

Learning and teaching discourse analysis engages students and tutors in the exploration of texts and talk. Analysis of discourse data encourages students to reflect upon and critically evaluate knowledge acquired in the study of, for example, syntax and semantics as well as naturally drawing students to the investigation of socially-situated language use. Such study provides students with the opportunity to examine how meaning is constructed and negotiated in discourse and to reflect on the role that language plays in social life. Teaching discourse analysis involves introducing students to relevant theories and guiding them in the application of these theories to real life language use. Learning is grounded in students' own experience and in the questions they ask about problems in the humanities and social sciences.

Lexical semantics

The nature of lexical semantics has changed markedly in the twenty-to-thirty years since classic texts like Lyons (1977) and Cruse (1986) were published. Such texts were written at a time when Structuralist lexical semantics essentially carried on separately from major [Generative] theories of grammar. During and since the 1980s, however, theories of grammar have become much more lexically-driven, necessitating much deeper attention to issues of lexical meaning. Unfortunately, there is a tendency in lexical semantics courses and in semantics textbooks to present lexical semantics essentially as it was 30 years ago, with the focus limited to polysemy/homonymy and the ‘nym’ relations (synonym, antonym, etc.). This guide examines ways to construct a modern classroom approach to lexical semantics, with a broader definition of the field.

Conducting successful translation classes

Translating can be taught with a number of different methods so as to meet all of the students' needs. This article reviews some of these methods, and highlights ways in which they can be applied in the translation classroom.

The teaching of pidgin and Creole studies

This article suggests ways in which different areas of linguistics can be illuminated by including a discussion of pidgins/creoles, as well as giving a suggested outline for a stand-alone course.

The Languages of the Wider World CETL

The Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), Languages of the Wider World (LWW) is hosted jointly by the School for African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) and University College London (UCL). Funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), it was set up in 2005 and is one of only two CETLs in the UK devoted to language learning and teaching and learning.

Runner up in the student award 2007: What advice would you give to students starting your course?

Elizabeth Murray, a first year French and German student, is a runner up in the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2007.

Runner up in the student award 2007: What advice would you give to students starting your course?

Heather Brunt, a final year French student, is a runner up in the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2007.

Runner up in the student award 2007: What advice would you give to students starting your course?

Elizabeth Baines, a final year French student, is a runner up in the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2007.

Student award 2007: What advice would you give to students starting your course?

The winner of the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2007 was Robert McGinty, a final year student studying Russian and English Studies at the University of Nottingham.

The teaching of stylistics

Stylistics is the study of linguistic style, whereas (theoretical) Linguistics is the study of linguistic form. The term 'style' is used in linguistics to describe the choices which language makes available to a user, above and beyond the choices necessary for the simple expression of a meaning. Linguistic form can be interpreted as a set of possibilities for the production of texts, and thereby linguistic form makes possible linguistic style.

Commercial awareness and employability

Although commercial awareness may not always be addressed in a classroom setting, it is a skill that students applying to graduate recruiters will benefit from nurturing. This short article outlines some of the ways in which employers may require potential employees to demonstrate this attribute.

Keep Talking

"Keep Talking" is a project aimed at motivating KS3 pupils to retain an interest in language learning and to support their teachers. This paper will describe the rationale for the project, how it is organised and funded and will report on evaluation of the impact of the project in local schools in Manchester.

Slanguistics or just lemon meringue?

The paper will present samples of UK youth slang (keywords and emblematic terms in particular) recovered by informal research among London students, schoolchildren and members of gangs and clubs. The origins of terms and the ethnic influences on linguistic innovation by adolescents will be considered, as will the role of slang in the construction, reinforcement and negotiation of roles at 'street level' and in relation to adults. The paper will propose that the fuzzy notion of 'slang', whether it is characterised as a sub-set of the lexicon, a (mere) stylistic preference or a social dialect, is worthy of linguists' and teachers' attention. Taken as lexical curiosities, slang terms key into young people's feelings, values and social practices: viewed as components of an emergent language variety they may be indicators of important sociocultural changes.

Differentiation strategies for the inclusion of students with severe visual impairment in MFL modules in Higher Education

It is now mandatory for Modern Foreign Language (MFL) teachers in Higher Education to make "reasonable adjustments" to allow full participation by students with disabilities. The Special Education and Disability Act (SENDA) 2001 required post-16 institutions to have implemented the Disability Discrimination Act Part IV (DDA) by September 2005. Implications of this legislation for MFL teaching on institution-wide language programmes in Higher Education are examined in this paper. A lecturer in MFL and a specialist teacher of the visually impaired (VI) explore practical teaching strategies for enabling the successful inclusion of students with severe visual impairment.

Widening participation: a case-study

This paper summarises a case-study which was carried out during 2004/5 involving the School of Languages, University of Brighton and Addington High School in Croydon, South London under the former's Widening Participation programme. This paper first details the nature of the two visits and outlines some of the lessons learned along the way based on data collected from the four parties involved (staff and students/pupils from both institutions). It subsequently proposes a working model which could usefully underpin future visits of this nature and highlights ways to integrate successfully the parties from both sectors.

The aware language learner: promoting reflection in an online Dutch course at intermediate level

This article discusses how the development of a number of 'awarenesses' - awareness of language, awareness of the (language) learning process and awareness of culture, as well as the development of transferable skills is being promoted in an online Dutch course at intermediate level, Lagelands 2. It links the importance of awareness and reflection to two bodies of research, Naiman et al.'s The Good Language Learner and Ramsden et al.'s deep v. surface approaches to learning, before giving some examples from the course. Finally, the aforementioned is linked to Personal Development Planning.

Face-to-face and online interactions - is a task a task?

This study contrasts two different ways of analysing interaction and participation in language learning tutorials: Social network analysis of frequency and QSR analysis of type of interaction. One task from three German beginners' language tutorials (one delivered face-to-face, the other two online) is analysed. A description of the background and method of the study is provided together with some examples of the findings. As this is work in progress, only tentative conclusions can be provided at this stage.

Speaking across frontiers - promoting the independent use of synchronous voice conferencing by scattered groups of Open University language learners

During the past two years The Open University has opened its synchronous audio-visual conferencing system to language students for use in independent study partnerships. This paper explores the ways in which language students scattered throughout the UK and other European countries have received and are making use of this opportunity to speak to one another and share images independently over the Internet. It also considers the University initiatives required to promote and provide pedagogical support for these independent partnerships.

Promoting less-widely-taught languages. The outreach experience of the Foreign Language Awareness Group for Schools (FLAGS)

In the current downward trend in the uptake of languages, and especially of less-widely-taught languages, FLAGS aims at enthusing sixth-formers with an interest in either Italian, Russian and / or Portuguese through a series of language sessions delivered through the Virtual Learning Environment WebCT. Pupils' progress is aided and monitored by University students, who act as language facilitators on a weekly basis. This paper assesses the outcomes at the end of the first year of FLAGS' life, as well as the challenges met during the project's setting-up period and throughout its duration.

French as a foreign language and the Common European Framework of Reference for languages

This paper considers the position which British GCSE and 'A' level are given in the Common European Framework (CEFR). The vocabulary sizes of learners taking these exams are considered in relation to the vocabulary information and wordlist sizes included in the CEFR documentation. The vocabulary knowledge of learners appears small, very small, in comparison to the levels anticipated by the Framework, and very small compared to learners of other languages at the same levels. Learners in Britain appear to lack the vocabulary knowledge necessary to carry out the skills indicated for the levels they are expected to attain.

Language teaching at a distance: establishing key principles to develop professional practice

What skills, knowledge and attributes do distance language teachers need? How do these differ from classroom teaching? Although the requirements for teaching a range of subjects at a distance and for classroom language teaching have been examined, few studies explore the nature of the distance language teachers role, despite increasing numbers of distance language teaching programmes. Although researchers have emphasised the importance of the tutor in distance learning, the tutors voice is undervalued. This paper reports on a research project to articulate and recognise the skills, knowledge and attributes deployed by distance language teachers in order to enhance professional development.

Plans and e-plans: integrating personal development planning into the languages curriculum

This paper will illustrate how the integration of voice tools and subtitling software in conjunction with the use of a virtual learning environment (VLE) into the teaching and learning of Italian have enabled staff at Coventry University to explore innovative ways of delivering the syllabus and created more opportunities for students to engage with work-related activities and simulations in line with the government's drive towards an employability agenda for HE. The presentation will also show how the new tools have boosted students engagement and motivation. The major features of the voice tools and subtitling software will be demonstrated and examples will be given of activities carried out with learners of Italian from absolute beginner to advanced level. Examples will also be given on how the voice tools could be used to create spoken entries for an e-portfolio.

The introduction of Chinese onto the curriculum of Spanish engineering students at the Polytechnic University of Valencia

Ten years ago the introduction of Chinese onto the curriculum of engineering students (offered German and French in addition to English) at the Polytechnic University of Valencia was unthinkable, but last September my first Chinese class was full. This paper sets out to analyse the motivation and experiences of the first batch of students, comparative references being made to German beginners at the same institution. Of particular interest is how students (and potential employers) perceive the relevance of Chinese to their future careers.

Intercultural communicative competence in telecollaborative foreign language learning

This paper is an introduction of the rationale and research design of an intercultural exchange project between English as Foreign Language learners in Taiwan and Chinese as Foreign Language learners in the UK by using internet-mediated social software tools including instant messengers, wikis and emails. The rationale is based on an intercultural approach to foreign language learning. The detail of the research design including internet tools used, participants, tasks, procedures and the theoretical framework for data analysis will be discussed.

Delivering the international agenda - are we, as language lecturers, the best people to do it?

Language and culture are inseparable. Or are they? Do you necessarily deliver cross cultural awareness through the teaching of a module on Italian literature or Spanish politics? Does being a French specialist automatically equip you with the ability to contribute to the international agenda of your institution? The assumption is yes. And yet, there is a need to challenge such assumptions. As the European Union refers to pluriculturalism and is gone beyond a 'binary' system, as there is clear evidence of a decline in the number of undergraduates taking language degrees, I would argue that there is a need for language lecturers to re-invent themselves, reflect on their practice and methodological approach as well as content of delivery if we are to come closer to matching these assumptions. This paper is proposing to look briefly at the challenges faced by language specialists in Higher Education, offer reflections on language learning and language teaching and finally offer a positive, researched answer to the question in the title.

Enquiry-based learning: an approach to enhanced independent learning in the humanities

This paper will examine the pedagogical thinking behind EBL and provide an example of an EBL module of work within the discipline of French Studies, including a brief history behind the first pilot project for this module, and will finally explore some ideas for taking the EBL approach forward.

Reconceptualising PGCE Modern Foreign Languages: the merits of Mlevel accreditation

The current model of Initial Teacher Training is centrally focused on school experience where the underlying assumption is that effective practice is mainly developed through practice, that is practical teaching experience and that academic considerations are secondary. This paper will draw on recent substantial research into the role of theory in current ITT MFL programmes, in order to explore and chart the policy context for the move to M-Level PGCE MFL courses in the near future. The paper will also consider some of the implications of M-Level accreditation of PGCE in terms of course content and assessment, as well as the relationship between school experience and HE provision. It will further consider some of the principles upon which a more theoretically-orientated course might be conceived.

Language assistants: enhancing the learning experience

The development of the British Council Personal Development Portfolio arose from a desire to recognise the transferable skills and experience acquired during the language assistantship in a more formal way. A collaboration with several universities and the Centre for Recording Achievement has resulted in a 'default' PDP which universities can customise in accordance with their own QA requirements for dual certification from the BC and the home institution. Response from participating students and tutors has been very favourable - 'for the first time, students were able to acknowledge the changes they go through which are usually obvious to members of staff who see them return from their year abroad.' This paper will describe the various elements of the British Council PDP, and will also outline the pedagogical support and materials available on the dedicated Language Assistant website, developed with the co-operation of ELT specialists in the British Council.

The Linguacast Project at the Open Access Centre and Schools' Enterprise Euromarch

This report describes firstly the process of setting up a language learning podcast site in order to demonstrate the use of web-hosted mp3 recordings for learning. The second part describes a multi-organisational school-based project that used the site and podcasts to deliver language learning material.

Languages and war

'Foreign Affairs are no longer really foreign. What happens elsewhere increasingly affects us at home' (Jack Straw). This paper argues that there is a (so far) hidden languages history in international events. Using material on wars and occupation from 1943 up to Iraq today, the paper examines how foreign languages have been (and are being) represented in international conflict situations, looking at such questions as: how are participants in a conflict prepared linguistically? What importance do languages have in the process of occupation/regime change? What role do interpreters/translators have 'on the ground'? The paper concludes that the ways in which languages are represented in conflicts are key to our understanding of international relations today, and have important public policy implications.

Developing online self-access materials for subject specific language courses at an advanced level (SAM Project)

The Language Centre at the University of Bristol is committed to providing students with up-to-date and innovative learning opportunities. Over the course of the academic year 2004-2005 the applied foreign language team developed a range of online language learning materials in French, German, Italian and Japanese for Engineers, Scientists and Social Scientists studying language at advanced and intermediate levels.

Translation, theory and practice: an interactive approach

In this article, the development and assessment of a web-course in translation specifically designed for online collaborative learning will be analysed. It will investigate how Modern Languages students at Northumbria University reacted to this problem-based electronic platform. It will discuss the pedagogical considerations behind online collaboration, why the field of translation lends itself particularly well to this constructivist mode of learning, the impact of this project on students' critical thinking, their understanding of translation practice and theory and the application of key skills and finally the merits and potential pitfalls of online collaborative work.

The role of personal development planning (PDP) in undergraduate learning: perceptions of its value and links with attainment in the Languages Department of the University of Chester

A number of small projects undertaken in this institution have assessed the extent to which Personal Development Planning enhances student learning and impacts on achievement and progression. Having provided an overview of PDP in the Languages Department, this paper will describe the support mechanisms in place (including the institutional Progress File) and provide statistical data comparing levels of engagement with PDP and overall student achievement. Staff and student perceptions of the value of PDP mechanisms in supporting independent learning will be reported and a pilot scheme for early induction to PDP processes evaluated.

Exploring the evolving role of HEI language centres in the context of national and international languages strategies

The UK appears to be at odds with the rest of Europe in terms of the application of language policies. Whilst the rest of Europe is promoting linguistic diversity, the UK has paradoxically seen a drop in the uptake of languages at Secondary School level. This trend has a detrimental effect on student recruitment in the HE sector. However, this situation may work in favour of University Language Centres. The purpose of this paper is to explore the changing roles of Language Centres, primarily in research-led universities, and within the national and international context, and to argue that the discourse on languages must be reconfigured.


Learning second language writing systems

Learning to read and write a second language writing system (L2WS) requires developing new skills or adapting pre-existing ones. Different writing systems represent different language units, with different levels of transparency and different symbols. L2WS learners, who developed processes and strategies appropriate for their L1 writing system, must adapt to the cognitive demands of their new writing system. Learners may need to become aware of new language units, to adjust their reliance on the phonological route, to adapt their eye movement patterns and hand movements and to learn new orthographic conventions. Learning an L2 writing system is therefore a complex but rewarding task.

Case study: The Cultural Twist Project: a language learning framework with cultural awareness activities

The Cultural Twist Project attempted to offer solutions to the problems of 'Less Widely Used Lesser Taught Language (LWULT)' teachers (i.e. academic isolation, lack of expertise and materials) by providing a Cultural Awareness Materials Development Workshop and the Cultural Twist Website. The workshop provided the participants with cultural experience and helped them discover for themselves their implicit assumptions and sense of values that underlie their language use. Using the evaluation criteria and materials development framework, teachers were guided to produce their own language teaching materials with cultural awareness elements in them. The website was designed to offer all the necessary tools, sample materials, and useful links.

New ways of teaching literature

This article outlines my experiences in teaching the novels of the major nineteenth-century author Benito Pérez Galdós (1843-1920) to second-year students at the Department of Hispanic Studies, University of Sheffield. My course (HSS 264) aims to encourage students to think creatively and independently, to appreciate not only the stimulation, but also the enjoyment derived from the study of literature. It combines traditional literature teaching with innovative methods and multimedia resources, including an electronic critical edition of Torquemada en la hoguera (1889) and Buñuel's film of Tristana (1892). It is a venture that has enabled both the students and myself to benefit from the virtues of multimedia and 'research-led teaching' in its broadest sense (Brew 2001, McGuinness n.d.).

Inside-out: Student criticism of "foreign experts" in universities in the P.R.C.

The article through its use of critical incidents provides stimulating case study material for TEFL/TESOL teacher education programmes. The paper brings together three key issues: the underlying concept of 'communicative competence and Communicative Language Teaching, the status of English as a lingua franca and the debates related to linguistic imperialism, and lastly the nature of teacher education and what are relevant and appropriate skills within this field for practitioners.

Promoting and evaluating the use of the European Language Portfolio

The Nuffield Foundation and the University of Southampton funded 10 partner institutions to run mini-projects whose aim was to implement and evaluate the European Language Portfolio in Higher Education.

How can key skills "sell" Linguistics to students and employers?

In this article Richard Hudson argues that an undergraduate course in Linguistics is an exceptionally good source of important life skills, given the right input from both the student and the teacher. He distinguishes three kinds of learning experience: application of a given system of categories (e.g. the IPA), understanding of how language works, and self-reflection; and for each of these general categories he comments on the educational benefits and illustrates a range of more specific sub-categories. He also list some specific life-skills that these educational experiences should develop, e.g. respect for evidence, tolerance, self-understanding. He concludes with a few preliminary remarks on how these benefits can be "sold" to students and employers.

Student award 2006: How does your experience of your course compare with any expectations you may have had?

The winner of the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2006 was Gemma Brown, a 1st year in the Department of European Studies and Modern Languages at the University of Bath.

Virtual learning and virtual teaching: challenging learner and teacher identities in a distance learning professional development programme

This paper examined the dual roles - student and teacher - played by participants in a postgraduate programme for language teachers, the Master's in Teaching Modern Languages to Adults (TMLA), run in online mode at the University of Dundee, Scotland, since 2003. It was explained that in order to enrol as a student on the programme, an individual must already be a practising teacher of languages, usually at post-compulsory level. Participants are spread across the world, from Asia and the Middle East to Europe and the Americas.

Online teaching skills for language tutors

Online teachers need different skills than those normally employed by tutors trained to teach languages in a face-to-face classroom and they also require different skills compared to online teachers of other subjects. Research shows that the medium influences the form of communication and interaction (see e.g. Hutchby 2001). The asynchronicity of communication in written conferencing and the lack of non-verbal clues in audio-conferencing are examples of new challenges for online language tutors.

Global perspectives in Area Studies: a complacent or creative response?

Higher Education is under pressure to produce graduates with the knowledge and skills for working in a globalised world and with the values and attitudes to behave as global citizens. Are Area Studies students developing these 'global perspectives' through their studies? A scoping study at the Royal Geographical Society (with with the Institute of British Geographers) has investigated the current status of the global dimension. The research project examined how global perspectives are manifest at three different levels within Higher Education: disciplines/subject areas, departments/teaching teams and institutions. In Area Studies, the picture is generally encouraging, with many of the building blocks for developing and strengthening global perspectives already in place. The long-term objective is for a holistic approach where all the components contributing to global perspectives are integrated and embedded into the ethos, structures, activities and daily life of Higher Education institutions.

Translation Studies in the UK

Translation Studies in the UK is a small but expanding field of study. Programmes are primarily at postgraduate level though some elements of translation studies are included in first degree programmes in ancient and modern languages. The cultural approach to translation is the most recent development in a field that has been growing steadily since the 1970s. What distinguishes Translation Studies from translating is the emphasis on cultural history and the role and function of translation in the broader socio-cultural context.

Case study: Lecturing in the target language to post A'level Spanish students: linguistic gains and pedagogical implications

This case study aims to present the Spanish Cultural Studies lecture in the first year of the Modern Languages degree at the University of Bath as an example of how lecturing in the foreign language to post A-level learners can be linguistically fertile without neglecting the primary aim of the unit, namely to provide a conceptual and systematic introduction to Spanish culture in the 20th century.


Case study: Supporting student learning at level 1 Linguistics

This case study evaluates the impact of an enhanced portfolio of learning support materials deployed in the LING 101:Introduction to Language and Linguistics module at Nottingham Trent University.

Pedagogic research: Issues in Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies

This article outlines issues about the status and nature of pedagogic research in the present intellectual and evaluative environment of Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies.

Global issues, local responses: Engaging with environmental issues through Languages and Area Studies curricula

This paper was presented at the joint LLAS - English Subject Centre event, Enhancing environmental awareness through Literatures, Languages and Area Studies. It provides an overview of possible opportunities for integrating Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into languages and area studies curricula. It is a much-extended version of the report 'ESD: Report into activity of LLAS'.

An introduction to South Asian Studies in the United Kingdom

The efflorescence of South Asian Studies in Higher Education is evident in the range and number of taught and research degrees, the number of language courses, and the popularity of South Asian options within other courses that are offered by Colleges and Universities in the United Kingdom. This article gives an overview of the range of options available to a student at the undergraduate, postgraduate and research degree level, lists the major centres of teaching and research on South Asian Studies, indicates the range of resources available for research and highlights the principal networks of academic exchange and research in the United Kingdom and the world.

Canadian Studies teaching in the UK

An overview of the nature and content of Canadian Studies (including Québec Studies) teaching and research in British and Northern Irish universities, with sections on each designated centre, their specialist disciplines and the courses they offer. These are mainly in history, politics, literature, geography, film, and aboriginal studies, often as part of a comparative programme.

Subject Centre Report 2004-5

This document serves to provide a brief update on the key areas of activity for the Subject Centre in 2004-5. You may wish to forward this to Subject Associations, colleagues in your department or other parties interested in the work of the Subject Centre.

Case study: The role of the moderators in focus group interviews: Practical considerations

Focus group interviews are an increasingly popular, albeit poorly documented, tool in education research. This case study details the authors first experiences of using a focus group interview in a small-scale qualitative inquiry and documents some of the practical issues surrounding the responsibilities of focus group moderators. A redefinition of the facilitative, recording, checking and analytical roles of the Moderator and Assistant Moderator is considered.

Facilitating reflective learning: an example of practice in TESOL teacher education

Reflective learners are said to demonstrate self-awareness and motivation, awareness of the process of learning and independence. However, some learners can find the process of reflection problematic. In this case study I describe the impact of a specific reflective 'tool', the Statement of Relevance, on a language teacher education programme for which I am responsible. I outline the potential of this tool to help learners work autonomously, to qualitatively enhance learners' reflection, to enable reluctant reflectors to develop the tendency to habitually look for learning from a variety of knowledge sources, and to enable learners to predict future needs more successfully.

Education for Sustainable Development: Report into activity of LLAS

An article by John Canning, Subject Centre, as part of the Subject Centre's Education for Sustainable Development Project.

Education for Sustainable Development: an African-Asian Languages perspective

An article by Michael Hutt, SOAS, as part of the Subject Centre's Education for Sustainable Development Project.

Education for Sustainable Development: Human Geography (Agriculture and Rural Development)

A relflective article by Guy Robinson, Kingston University, as part of the Subject Centre's Education for Sustainable Development Project.

Education for Sustainable Development: Languages and Sustainability

Alison Phipps discusses how an education for sustainability might be fostered within the field of languages and intercultural studies. This is part of the Subject Centre's Education for Sustainable Development Project.

Student award 2005: What makes the best learning experience for students of Languages, Linguistics or Area Studies?

The winner of the Subject Centre's undergraduate student essay competition 2005 was Joanna Britton, Exeter College, University of Oxford.

The Applied Linguistics MA: course content and students' perceived needs

This article considers the expectations of students attending MA courses in Applied Linguistics, many of whom have a background in language teaching. It contrasts academic approaches to language with those widely adopted in the language classroom. It identifies four possible rationales when planning course content for Grammar and Linguistics modules at MA level. One treats linguistics as a body of knowledge; another aims to develop students language awareness. A third meets short-term goals by providing the linguistic knowledge necessary for the study of second language acquisition. A fourth aims for long-term goals by equipping students for new professional roles.

The role of Linguistics in the Applied Linguistics MA

This article first asks what linguistic knowledge, understanding and skills a graduate from an MA programme in Applied Linguistics should ideally have, and then considers what might reasonably be expected of graduates in the real world.

Widening participation in Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies: An overview

This paper gives an overview of the UK government's widening participation policy and some of the implications for the study of Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies.

Case study: The CERCLU Project: Certification of Language Competence in Italian University Language Centres

Following the 1999 university reforms in Italy, the need arose for a system of language certification valid in all Italian University Language Centres. Under the auspices of AICLU, the Italian Association of University Language Centres, a four-year project was launched in 2000 in connection with similar initiatives by members of CERCLES, the European Confederation of Language Centres in Higher Education. CERCLU will not re-duplicate existing certification systems but will provide an additional means of certifying two intermediate levels of linguistic competence in English and in Italian, at levels B1 and B2, with full European academic recognition.

'English for Excellence': An innovative, comprehensive, web-based and tutor-supported programme of study in Academic English

This paper is a presentation of 'English for Excellence' (EfE): a web-based and tutor-supported programme of study in Academic English. The EfE is a project initiative jointly funded by the University of Luton and the Higher Education European Social Fund (HE ESF) programme, under the theme of Widening Participation. The paper discusses the research base of the teaching materials, their content and presentation, followed by interim evaluation results of its beneficiary effects on learners.

Intercultural awareness as a component of HE Modern Language courses in the UK

This study traces the growing importance attached to intercultural awareness within Modern Languages Higher Education in the UK. It differentiates between the incorporation of intercultural insight into language learning and the development of 'intercultural studies' as an emerging interdisciplinary field. This development, it is argued, is changing the character of the relationship between Modern Languages and Cultural Studies in the UK. The role of intercultural awareness within the curriculum entails not simply innovative pedagogies and the inclusion of periods of residence abroad as part of undergraduate programmes. It has underlined the value of linking ethnography, history, language, literature, philosophy and psychology in new course combinations. The article reviews the background to this change and the various teaching practices associated with it.

Content and language integrated university course: A task-based approach

The presentation discusses the results of an experimental study carried out at UCL, Italian Department, aiming at finding an acquisitional model in order to abolish the barrier between content courses and language courses through a task-based approach to teaching/learning, and at creating a bridge between language and content courses. The presentation shows how an input, relevant to the learner (i.e. related to content courses) to be processed through tasks, raises motivation and allows a rapid interlanguage change and development. Results of a two year experiment will be presented, acquisitional models will be discussed and operational solutions will be proposed.

The case for a common framework of reference for the validation of assessments of written English on English language degree programmes in Europe

The Bologna process carries out an agreement by European governments to create by 2010, a European Higher Education Area with two main degree cycles, undergraduate and graduate, and a common system of credits and quality assurance. In this climate of review, revision and collaboration, this paper describes a survey of existing practice with regard to expectations of attainment on degree programmes in Europe. It will also outline a proposal for a collaborative project to develop a framework for the self-validation of skill assessment on a language programme. The concept of validity informed the design of a questionnaire to collect qualitative and quantitative data on the final assessment of students' written English on English language degree programmes across Europe. Analysis of responses from 30 universities in 12 European countries revealed wide variation between different countries, within the same country and, in some cases, within the same degree programme. As a result of this survey, European partners have been identified to collaborate on the development of a framework for the self-validation of assessments of written English, which can inform the assessment of other skill areas and other languages.

Implementing a digital multi-media language learning environment

This article examines a number of the practical and pedagogic considerations involved in the implementation of a digital language learning environment. It makes a distinction between digital audio-lingual and digital multi-media learning environments and focuses mainly on the latter which, because they provide a computer for every user, have rather more pedagogic potential (and are considerably more expensive) than digital audio-lingual systems. The article - presented here in shortened form - aims to providing readers with an analysis of the practical and pedagogic factors involved in deciding to move from analogue to digital materials.

Spain today: Language and contemporary society at your fingertips

Many institutions have introduced e-learning into the languages curriculum, often with a commensurate reduction in the number of contact hours. The authors describe this approach using the Spain Today web site at Northumbria University. Student motivation was reported to be high and the site was regularly visited, though the interactive tools available were not greatly used. However, a blended mode was strongly supported by a majority of students. It was found that overall student performance was actually slightly lower than when more contact hours were included. The authors also note that e-learning often shows itself to be far more time-consuming than traditional teaching.

Solo learning module: Giving control to the learner over materials and learning session design

Normal practice in course construction is to supply learners with pre-selected material chosen by the teachers to illustrate a grammar syllabus or progression. This paper will discuss the reversal of this process. The learners will be invited to select the material they wish to learn from according to their needs and interests. The tutor will provide a bank of exercise typologies, graded for level of difficulty and by skill, and guide the learners on how to select a balanced learning session from the bank which is commensurate with their level of expertise and the skills they wish to concentrate on. This method will make maximum use of the motivation of the learners to work with material which they are already interested in and which may be of direct use to them. It will also allow them to specify which skills they wish to acquire or to prioritise.

Identifying student needs for the year abroad preparation

The author examines student needs in preparing for the year abroad, looking at the relationship between metacognitive learning strategies and linguistic development during the year abroad, and how students' subjectivities relate to their linguistic development. The author summarises her findings by producing a list of steps that would ideally be included in a year abroad preparation course.

Online self-study - the way forward

The author describes the "e-packs", as developed by London Metropolitan University, and the rationales behind them. Developed for online use by autonomous language learners, they are also used to supplement taught classes. Although the e-packs have been successful, the author reports that tighter integration with taught material would be beneficial and that both learner and teacher training would be necessary to secure this.

New hats for old: Intercultural competence and the integration of language and linguistics teaching

This paper discusses the development, delivery and outcomes of a module in Intercultural Communication aimed at first year undergraduate students of English Language and Linguistics, French, and Spanish at Kingston University. The incorporation of key skills and the integration of the varied linguistic and cultural experiences of the students was central to the module.

Researching 'Languages Work': Why don't teenagers pick languages?

With the removal of languages from the compulsory curriculum for 14-16 year olds, the post 16 decline in language learning is starting to affect numbers taking GCSE as well. Public debate centres on the importance of pupil choice, and the alleged unpopularity of the subject among teenagers. The 'Languages Work' project has produced materials designed to improve careers guidance in languages, and so increase take up. This paper outlines findings from our development work which sheds light on teenagers' attitudes towards languages and how to address their misconceptions.

Online languages and reflective learning

This paper describes a programme of university language courses, delivered as a combination of both online and face-to-face teaching. The authors believe that the approach taken can promote learner reflection. Evaluation studies reported a good level of student satisfaction and focus groups indicated an increased quality of student work. Further work to foster greater reflection is discussed.

Widening horizons: Charting progress the Aston way

This paper discusses Aston University's Widening Participation project, providing pathways into the University via Foundation Degrees, with a view to creating a new service and knowledge-based workforce in the Birmingham region. Languages form an important part of the knowledge economy and the Languages For Life project, launched in 2001, is described. Current Aston undergraduates are recruited as ambassadors for local schools and a supporting conference was held. Ways in which the project can be developed further are discussed.

A Common Framework for Chinese

The authors look at the Council of Europe's Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF) and posit that a complementary Europe-wide framework for Chinese is much needed. They claim that this is necessary as the CEF is politically, linguistically, socio-culturally inadequate for the issues facing the teaching and learning of Chinese. A number of ways of taking this idea forward are introduced.

Enhancing student awareness of employability skills through the use of progress files

This study, which was inspired by the Dearing Report, aimed to explore the nature of student perception of their skills development. Taking place over five years and involving 35 undergraduate students, the study found that students had a low awareness of the skills that they were intended to develop and many of them were unaware of the skills requirements of employers. As a result of these findings, Personal Development Plans were used to bridge this gap and it is hoped that the experience gained form this study can be transferred to other contexts.

Bridging the Gap: University of Manchester

The University of Manchester's Bridging the Gap project to help students transition between GCSE, As and A2 level is described. Various forums and committees were set up to identify gaps in their respective syllabuses and events days were run at a Language College to help fill these gaps. Feedback on the events was good and it is hoped that this type of event will encourage more students to take languages at university level.

Arousing an interest in school students for the take up of "new" languages at university: the ATLAS project

This presentation will report on the experience of designing and piloting a website which offers an introduction to the culture and language of five less taught languages to 14-19 year olds in nine partner schools in London and the South East. It is part of the work of the ATLAS project (A Taste of Languages in School), jointly funded by the Nuffield Foundation, CfBT and UCL, addressing the decline in numbers of students taking languages at university. The project aims to arouse an interest in language study and to spur consideration of study opportunities at university, especially ab initio courses in languages not studied at school. A survey of students' attitudes towards learning languages explored the reasons for discontinuing the study of languages after the compulsory stage and also investigated students' tastes in websites. It revealed there is much interest in learning 'new' languages.

Go forth and multiply: the University of Ulster (UU) experience of extending language provision at Magee Campus

Magee Campus has developed new diplomas and undergraduate degree courses in modern languages in response to the perceived decline in demand for language places at university level. This article will assess circumstances prevailing in Northern Ireland with regard to language provision, then examine the specific experience of language provision at UU, the Magee campus in particular: previous language provision, centred around one course, has been extended to combine with new options from subjects within Arts, Business, Social and Health Sciences. It will reflect on the reservations of some languages staff and others to this new association. It offers an insight into the changes and pressures imposed on languages staff UK-wide, within - as reflected in the title - an environment of adapt or perish.

Before navigating: Grief and the new landscape for Languages

This paper engages critically with the futures we are presently imagining in terms of the language of 'employability', 'service teaching', and 'skills'. It engages the energy of grief as of key structural import and argues that for us to learn to navigate anew, for us to be people who language and who bring the intellectual delight and the trouble of languages to life, in the university, then collective grief and the sense of loss are not marginal affairs. Indeed, the authors argue, this is the ground from which innovation, hope and imagination grow.

Relating linguistic theory to TESOL practice in a distance MA programme

This paper considers some of the issues involved in ensuring that a distance Masters programme is both academically rigorous and vocationally relevant. It will demonstrate that students are motivated not only by career concerns but also by their desire to deepen their understanding of theoretical aspects of Linguistics and language learning and show how one Department (at the University of Leicester) meets these demands in their distance MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL.

Turning students into researchers: Introduction to research methods in Applied Linguistics

The teaching of research methods to postgraduate students in Applied Linguistics presents a particular challenge. For the most part students will come to the course with a humanities degree. Their undergraduate study previously involved reading secondary sources, textbooks or review chapters that summarized large bodies of evidence and spelled out their theoretical significance. In postgraduate study and research, however, primary sources of evidence become crucially important. Students need to become acquainted with a variety of empirical approaches to research questions and must learn to pose questions in such a way that clearly specifies the type of evidence and analysis required to produce the answers being sought. In addition, there are general research skills which are essential equipment for academic pursuits. Training students to become researchers in Applied Linguistics presents a challenge: how to encourage the development and acquisition of the critical skills, conceptual and analytical tools as well as the practical knowledge to enable students to navigate the research literature and develop their own research agenda.

An interim assessment of the introduction of accredited portfolios in introductory French courses

This paper reports on the introduction of accredited portfolios into an ab initio French language course at the University of Stirling. These were introduced to help students progress from a teacher-led learning environment into one in which a more autonomous approach was required. Student feedback was mainly positive, whilst a slight improvement in grades was also reported. However, some areas of difficulty would benefit from further development.

The year abroad: A critical moment

The year abroad component has faced challenges in recently, although it represents a life-changing experience for most students. This paper illustrates the importance of the year abroad to the undergraduate language degree, drawing on research evidence arising from an ESRC funded project of the development of criticality in undergraduates. Our suggestion, supported by our empirical evidence, is that the Year Abroad has a powerful role in allowing language students to develop in the domains of the self and the world which in turn helps progression in the domain of reason, and feeds into their ability to engage critically with academic work.

The agony and the ecstasy: Integrating new literacies and reflective portfolio writing into the languages curriculum

This article reports on the impact of a curriculum innovation in the area of academic and professional skills for undergraduate linguists at Coventry University, the aims of which were to raise students' awareness of language learning processes and reflect upon their own learning. The authors that all involved found this curriculum development very beneficial.

Undergraduate Language programmes: A personal perspective

Undergraduate language programmes that lead to qualified teacher status may be an interesting, alternative route into teaching, especially for students who do not match the typical profile. Such students, who tend to be older and to have interesting work and life experiences, are a valuable addition to our languages classrooms

Yes, but is PEL the same as ELP?

In September 2003, Leeds Metropolitan University started delivering a new French specialist route on its BA(Hons) Primary Education and was paired with the IUFM of Montpellier in France. As lecturers from both institutions started collaborating together, we decided to look into the use of the Common European Framework and in particular the European Language Portfolio (ELP) as tools offering an element of commonality between France and the UK. How is the use of these interpreted differently in both countries? How much do these interpretations reflect a different approach to language learning and the means to achieve that learning?

LATCOF: Lessons from a secondary/sixth-form - HE consultative forum for language teachers

The University of Manchester has hosted a forum for dialogue between tertiary and secondary language teachers to share pedagogic and curricular experiences and realities with the aim of facilitating student progression and bridging the secondary-tertiary 'gaps'. Participants have been surveyed to assess the impact of the dialogue process on them and their practice and to start to identify issues of broader relevance to the sector as a whole. This paper reports the experience of participants and responses to the survey.

Applying the CEF to Slovak university courses

The author starts her presentation with the historical background and current trends towards the application of the Common European Framework (CEF) in Slovak schools. Giving an example of an English course for Social Sciences, she then describes the specific phases of the application of the CEF.

Big is beautiful: Institution-wide language provision for two universities

In this paper, the author describes the operation of a Language Centre which offers its services to two institutions, the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The advantages of such a system are described, especially with regard to size and diversity. The Centre sees its role as an engine of cooperation between the two institutions.

Storm clouds with a silver lining: New opportunities for language programmes

Although university language programmes have undergone many difficulties during recent years, there have also been success stories. In this paper, the author balances the negative and the positive, encourages institutions to face the commercial argument head-on and provides a list of perspectives which language course providers can use to promote take-up.

Making languages pay - academic integrity and commercial reality

Over recent years, university language programmes have, by necessity, increased the emphasis on revenue-generating activity, which in some cases may be seen as creating a division between the academic and the non-academic. Here, the author shows out some of the benefits that this can bring, via three case studies, and makes the point that increased commercialisation can strengthen the foundations for future development.

Collaborative writing in Russian with shared text editor

A shared text editor was introduced into a Russian class in writing skills and used over a period of four years. It was initially adopted for its potential practical advantages over a traditional classroom whiteboard. Its use has led to new language learning activities that have contributed to the whole language programme and the writing class has become more integrated into the language programme as a whole. Opportunities for sharing and collaboration have been greatly increased and the role of the teacher has changed.

Ab initio language teaching in Scottish universities

This paper is based on a research project which reviewed the provision and operation of a range of ab initio language courses in Scottish universities. Questionnaires and semi-structured interviews helped sketch a picture of the Scottish situation. It was found that the current provision demonstrates a number of features highlighted in earlier UK research and that it is possible for students who start as beginners to exit as successful Honours graduates in the language. It may be, however, that the success of these students depends on a curriculum that is not appropriate for all students who take an ab initio course.

'Sharing Words': Conversation, collaboration and cultural connections

This paper examines the way in which native speakers of taught languages can be mobilised by universities for use in outreach activities. The authors suggest an empowering approach to facilitate cross-cultural communication. A questionnaire following such a scheme was administered to AS and A2 students, the results of which showed several benefits to the learners.

Teachers' roles and training in intercultural education

Foreign language degree programmes have been engaged, more than ever, in an active dialogue with other disciplines. In addition, these programmes can now be delivered in various environments. These recent developments have enhanced the learning experience, but they have also highlighted important implications for the roles and responsibilities of foreign language teachers. Here the authors summarise their investigation into the extent to which new approaches to foreign language teaching have had an impact on current established models of teacher education, and in particular, on how effectively the intercultural agenda has been incorporated in language teacher education programmes.

New contexts for university languages: the Bologna Process, globalisation and employability

So far, the Bologna Process is changing university studies in all countries except the UK. However, the author posits that the globalisation and commercialisation of HE may overtake the Bologna agenda and goes on to discuss this paradox. Prior strategies for emphasising employability have perhaps been badly-implemented and so suggestions for future improvement are included.


Disability and residence abroad

This article provides an introduction to ways of ensuring that disabled students are not denied the opportunity to participate in Residence Aboard and are not disadvantaged in the assessment of Residence Abroad. This is an important contribution to institutions' adherence to the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) Part IV. The fact that Residence Abroad takes place outside the UK does not absolve UK institutions of their duty of care and other legal obligations towards disabled students. Disabled students and potential students in the UK consequently have legal rights that are not affected simply because part of the course takes places outside the geographical boundaries of the UK.

Widening Participation and ensuring success: Transition from A-level to university

A report based on the experiences of students and staff in the School of Modern Languages at Queen Mary, University of London, produced for HEFCEs Excellence Fellowship Awards scheme. The project focused on languages. It investigated staff and student attitudes to help practitioners in the 14-19 years range to: understand the future experience of their students; to encourage their students to continue studying languages. The project also investigated innovation in HE practice which might have relevance in the 14-19 sector, with focus on the teaching of grammar and problem-based learning for language learners.

Widening Participation focus group report

The Subject Centre convened a focus group on 1st November 2004, to discuss Widening Participation in Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, and how the Subject Centre may help practitioners in their activities. This report is a brief overview of some of the issues and viewpoints that emerged from the group. If you have any comments and/or questions concerning WP, please contact John Canning llas@soton.ac.uk

Insurance and residence abroad

Insurance is not a large expense for students, but the consequences of not having it could be devastating. A recent discussion on a mailing list highlighted that many residence abroad organisers are uncertain about insurance matters governing residence abroad. Failure to alert students of the need for insurance may be a breach of an institution's Duty of Care if a problem occurs.

Designing Applied Linguistics masters programmes: the issue of "coherence"

If there is a single academic core for a Masters programme, it should probably rest with descriptive Linguistics, but a pedagogic core should rest with the needs of the participants. The tension and potential conflict between these are explored, with particular reference to a succession of only partially successful attempts to make descriptive work directly relevant to language teaching and other applied concerns. This paper will also try to show some associated ways of making the overall course both coherent and genuinely research-based.

Subject Centre Report 2003-4

This document serves to provide a brief update on the key areas of activity for the Subject Centre in 2003-4. You may wish to forward this to Subject Associations, colleagues in your department or other parties interested in the work of the Subject Centre.

Writing in a second language

Writing is not only the process the writer uses to put words to paper but also the resulting product of that process. This process and product are also conditioned by the purpose and place of writing (its audience and genre). Writing in a second language is further complicated by issues of proficiency in the target language, first language literacy, and differences in culture and rhetorical approach to the text. Instruction in writing can effectively improve student proficiency in a number of key areas. Approaches to instruction have variously targeted process, product and purpose of writing. More recent approaches both to its teaching and assessment recognise the need to integrate all aspects of writing.

Decentering Area Studies

This paper was first presented at a round-table discussion on the 'Future of Area Studies' held at Woburn House, London on 24 March 2004. This presentation was deliberately provocative and polemical, and more than a trace of these characteristics remain in this more developed version.

Provision of 3-year degrees in Languages: An overview

Language degrees (degrees in which a modern foreign language is a named component) have often been one year longer than honours degrees in other arts and humanities subjects, as students have usually spent the third year of the course aboard. This article overviews the increasing provision of three year language degrees.

Residence Abroad

Residence or study abroad can be the most rewarding element of a degree programme, bringing enhanced maturity, cultural insights and valuable transferable skills as well as improved language proficiency. This article traces the development of student residence abroad, summarises research findings, describes how best to implement a programme, and points to the many resources available to help staff and students involved in residence abroad.

Assessing risk for residence abroad

Risk assessment is a commonly used technique in preparing for fieldwork in the Earth Sciences. The technique can be adapted for use by students going on Residence Abroad. By identifying potential hazards and the likelihood of them occurring, students can be better prepared for their year abroad and decrease the possibilities of problems occurring or ensure that they are better prepared when difficulties arise.

Interdisciplinary teaching and learning in Area Studies

According the Area Studies Benchmarking statement, Area Studies courses are interdisciplinary and/ or multidisciplinary. By thinking about the nature of the discipline itself, this article introduces some of the challenges for teaching staff on interdisciplinary courses.

Enhancing employability: A guide for teaching staff in Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies

As we move towards the governments 50% widening participation target, and the financing of Higher Education changes, teaching staff are being given more responsibility for enhancing the employability of their students. The guide is aimed that those involved in preparing their students for the workplace.

Research Assessment in Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies

The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) is a form of peer review on the basis of which the UK Government allocates nearly £1 billion a year of funding, This article traces the origins, history, mechanisms, shortcomings, successes and possible future of the RAE.

New Zealand Studies Teaching in the UK

The content of New Zealand Studies teaching in the UK is outlined in sections covering Literature, Film, Geography, Social Sciences, History, Tourism and Sport. Links to resources available in print and on the Internet are provided.

Setting the context, highlighting the importance: Reflections on interculturality and pedagogy

This is a report on the IALIC/Subject Centre Pedagogical Forum on "Intercultural Lessons: Locating the intercultural in an educational context". It highlights the importance of interculturality in pedagogy. It addresses how teachers are developing curricula and unpacking learning moments which challenge students to reflect critically on their own lived experience. The classroom should be the place where both cognitive and affective challenge materializes, and where both teachers and learners can take the opportunity to reflect on one's response. The Forum, too, was a space for reflection and challenge, and a valued opportunity for the exploration of interculturality and pedagogy.

A Snapshot of Intercultural Communication Courses: An International Analysis

This essay reflects upon an ongoing study by Lengel and Talkington (2003) examining intercultural communication course outlines in order to determine the current status of the field of intercultural communication within the U.S.A., its territories, Britain, and Western Europe. The essay focuses on four key assessment questions about those courses, with particular attention given to languages and intercultural communication, and to critical intercultural communication studies.

Why the UK Needs Area Studies

This keynote speech was originally presented at the Area Studies Project conference: Understanding the world: Developing interdisciplinary area studies to meet the needs of the 21st century. The day began with an impassioned plea by former UK Ambassador to Iraq Sir Harold Walker that it is in the national interest that Area Studies programmes are maintained in the UK. In light of current events in Iraq and Afghanistan it is imperative that universities produce graduates who understand the languages and cultures of regions such as the Middle East.

Orientation in narratives: Intercultural differences between native English and Chinese-English bilingual students

This paper aims to explore differences in presenting picture-based narratives between two distinct language and cultural groups - native English students (ES) and native Chinese students (CS) whose L2 is English. It compares narratives in English L1, English L2 and Chinese L1. The degree of specificity and elaboration of ES and CS texts differs significantly in various aspects of orientation. ES texts are more specific in character identification, whereas CS texts are more specific in time orientation. The differences reflect the influence of L1 culture. Findings help raise writer's awareness of areas of differences when writing for readers of different cultures.

The Construction of Second Language Identity in two Chicano Autobiographies

This short paper uses literary autobiographies to explore intercultural experiences and the relationship between the perception of the self and language learning. The analysis will follow a post-structuralist view of language learning where L2 users have identities of their own, that are multiple and that are subject to change over time (Norton 2000, Pavlenko 2002). Extracts from autobiographies of L2 writers are used to demonstrate that language learning takes place by socialization, i.e. by appropriation and internalization of voices around us and by having the power to impose reception on others. We will conclude by arguing that to do justice to language learners permeable and dynamic identities we need to take on board how identity markers, such as social and ethnic background, together with socialization process, can be crucial for language learning success.

Seeing and saying things in English

A description is given of a module in English for Intercultural Communication currently offered at the University of Rome III (Italy). It teaches students how, in intercultural exchanges conducted in 'English', mutual understanding can be best achieved by relativising the concept of 'English' and by reconsidering the relationship between language and 'thought' (or, more recisely, 'being'). Students introject English-speaking cultural 'doubles' and then, as their doubles, carry out intercultural research tasks.

Teaching Challenge: Fostering 'Polyphonic Dialogism' in the Diversity Classroom

The class is designed to prepare elementary education students for working with children from diverse backgrounds. Based on Bakhtins' principle of dialogicity, I try to enable students to engage in dialogue with real and imagined others (other class members, authors, videos, and myself). Bakhtin argued that relativism renders argumentation and authentic dialogue irrelevant, while dogmatism renders them unnecessary. This class mainly consists of the challenge of creating genuine dialogue without succumbing to institutional constraints that foster monologic imposition of one 'true' view or to the temptation to sterilize the classroom from the hegemonic view of the teacher and other authorities.

Intercultural Learning and Ethnography: Observing Culture at Leeds Metropolitan University

The following paper describes the module Observing Culture which is offered as part of the undergraduate language provision at Leeds Metropolitan University. The aim of the module is to prepare students for the year abroad and to enhance their cultural sensitivity by exploring shared cultural knowledge, values and beliefs. By observing and critically examining their own cultural practices, students are encouraged to become more aware of certain patterns under the surface of life, which should help them to gain a better understanding of their own and others' cultural worlds. The module incorporates an introduction to anthropological and sociolinguistic concepts, ethnographic research, reflective learning and ethnographic writing.


Foundation Degrees in Languages

This article looks at the recent development of "foundation degrees" in the UK. Official sources (QAA, Parliamentary reports) are cited in order to clarify what is required for foundation degrees and how they might be developed in the context of languages. Particular reference is made to the forthcoming Foundation Degree in Public Service Interpreting at City University London.

Languages and Foundation Degrees

The Subject Centre held an open meeting to discuss Foundation Degrees on 11 July 2003. Following the meeting, Professor Tim Connell (City University) wrote a report on Languages and Foundation degrees.

Subject Centre Report 2002-03

This document serves to provide a brief update on the key areas of activity for the Subject Centre in 2002-3. You may wish to forward this to Subject Associations, colleagues in your department or other parties interested in the work of the Subject Centre.

Learner difference in independent language learning contexts

This contribution briefly discusses learner difference with respect to those learning outside the classroom, for all or part of their learning, whether through open or distance modes or as an integral part of a taught programme (referred to throughout as independent learners). It addresses aspects of interrelationships between variables, and investigates the implications for course writers and teachers.

Academic and professional skills for language learning

This section of the web guide provides an overview of what Academic and Professional Skills (APS) are and why they should be integrated in degree courses involving languages. It illustrates the rationale behind the introduction of APS, the logic behind making them compulsory, the way in which their integration impacts on curriculum and assessment. It also highlights the issues to address to make the embedding of APS into the languages curriculum effective. It finally provides suggestions on how to integrate APS, using the European Language Portfolio and networked-based learning.

Teaching Economics in Area Studies Programmes

Economics has long been a component in interdisciplinary or combined programmes. At one-half or less of a degree the subject should be relatively non-mathematical, but for specialists it should retain its introductory and intermediate theory, its economic history and applied economic components. It lends itself well to applied study, such as German economy, French economic history, European economic integration. Foreign language sources and target language teaching, where appropriate, offer considerable gains of focus, directly relevant a wealth of web-based sources, but care must be taken with linguistic levels and register.

Asia-Pacific Studies in the UK

This article provides an introduction to Asia-Pacific studies, particularly with regard to study and research within the UK higher education institutions that have focused on it most clearly.

Library and bibliographic research skills in LLAS

A general view of the major issues faced by those teaching how to locate, retrieve and evaluate information in LLAS in the UK. The article gives examples of different kinds of practice, with a particular emphasis upon the use of online resources. The skills described are those required at both undergraduate and postgradute levels. A brief review is provided of training schemes and of the way techniques are changing in the area of bibliographic research.

Designing textbooks for modern languages: the ELT experience

This article looks at the steps involved in writing coursebooks from the point of view of authors and publishers. It also looks at the advantages of team-authoring in the context of recent national textbook projects in Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union states. Whilst the main focus is upon the design of ELT materials, the approach described can usefully be applied to the design of language teaching materials in general.

Russian language, literature and culture in the UK

Russian studies in the UK is experiencing contraction at present but the subject remains lively and pro-active in its degree and course provision. Departments teach the Russian language at all levels (from ab initio to final honours), and some may also offer the chance to study one of the other languages of Eastern Europe, while there is considerable diversity in the range of literature and culture options on offer.

German Studies

This overview of German Studies in UKHE reviews the changing nature of the subject, student recruitment patterns, the teaching of German language, culture and Area Studies, and the role of the year abroad.

Developing Computer Skills

Focusing on the IT skills required increasingly of staff in areas of administration, research and classroom practice, this article distinguishes generic core skills from those required in more specialist situations (such as applied language study and areas of linguistics). A number of key sources of information and training are given, together with a brief review of forms of certification. Best practice is seen as knowing how to define clearly the skills one needs to develop and, having aquired a new capability, being able to show that one can use it effectively.

Spanish,the language and culture

The article offers a statistical overview of the growth and current status of Spanish teaching in UK HEIs. It covers in detail current practice in the teaching both of Spanish for beginners and for Honours level students, paying particular attention to ways in which courses build on the customary "four skills" paradigm. It examines Spanish as the sole or major component in degrees and as part of joint and combination degrees, and indicates the ways in which the language is studied as relating to the cultures and identities of contemporary Spain and the language's wide global context.

Iberian studies in the UK

The article offers a brief history of the development of Spanish and Portuguese Studies in the UK and their inter-relatedness with Iberian, Hispanic, and Latin American Studies. It lays out current coverage of linguistics, film, gender, cultural, area, and literary studies relating to Spanish and Portuguese both at BA and MA level; it also covers the teaching of Portuguese language and, more briefly, Catalan and Galician languages and cultures.

Spoken language

This article first explains the lack of specific attention to speaking, and the reasons for its study. It then outlines the main aims of an applied linguistic course in the topic. These are the major defining features of speech; the pedagogical options for teaching speech; the impact of oral tasks; issues in the testing of speaking; and the nature of the oral language curriculum. The article identifies key aims and objectives, outlines relevant teaching procedures, and ways of obtaining formative and summative assessment.

Using parallel corpora in translation

Parallel corpora are large collections of texts in two languages. They can be used for teaching and research in translation, bilingual lexicography, and linguistics.

Portfolio assessments

Portfolios have been around for a long time, either as collections of artefacts in an artist's portfolio or as documentation of teaching practice and staff development in a teaching or professional portfolio. However portfolios are finding a wider application as a form of educational assessment, especially in the USA. Even though they may vary in format, educational portfolios distinguish themselves from other portfolios by including reflective elements. They are therefore not merely a collection of best practice or artefacts but are also intended to document the learning process and involve students in actively reflecting on their learning. This article begins with a brief introductory overview of portfolios, followed by a look at the portfolio model which emerged from the TransLang project. We conclude with a summary of some findings which were common to our individual case studies elsewhere in this volume.

Setting up and teaching a new module integrating print, film and web-based teaching materials

Setting up and teaching a new module integrating print, film and web-based teaching materials: the case of film culture and mass consumption.

Knowing What You're Doing: the skills agenda and the language degree

This article examines the proposition that one can use the discourse and concepts of the skills agenda to foster better learning of languages and related studies on degree courses at British universities. By skills agenda we mean the political and intellectual pressures which government agencies exert on universities to ensure that their students emerge equipped with skills useful to a knowledge-based economy. As we shall see below, skills agenda is a fuzzy term which can only be made meaningful by a teaching force as they review the curriculum. In so doing they will encourage more conscious, strategic behaviour by learners: knowing what you're doing. But our main proposition is that the skills agenda contains the seeds of something better than itself: social and intellectual exchanges by which everybody benefits. We begin by reviewing some social and economic as well as academic aspects of the study of languages and related subjects in Britain today; we go on to suggest pointers towards construing the skills agenda intelligently and humanely; and we conclude by suggesting that there is a tension between the fundamentally intercultural nature of the languages degree and our usual habits of organisation.

Portfolio of independent learning at the University of Central England (UCE)

A portfolio of independent learning has been introduced to post A-level students at various levels in the three languages of Spanish, French and German at UCE. The Translang Approach has been chosen as a framework for development of transferable skills.

Hidden merits of the translation class

This paper discusses a unit of a BA course at Birkbeck College, London in 'translation from and into French’. It considers what transferable skills and knowledge can be developed through such a course, as well as the many issues that translators have to deal with.

Excuse me, what is a republic? Introducing Italian area studies to first year undergraduates

This paper describes an area studies module of an Italian degree programme at the University of Central Lancashire. There is a particular emphasis on transferable skills.

Empty-headed linguists? French undergraduates and learning transfer

This study describes an attempt to encourage some advanced learners of French as a foreign language (A-level plus two years) at Anglia Polytechnic University (APU) to develop some strategies and skills applicable both to language learning and to other knowledge domains. We examine what happened during a three-week learning and teaching sequence; we re-examine the principles and assumptions on which the teaching was based; and we draw conclusions pertinent to attempts to achieve similar ends, at APU and perhaps elsewhere. Our title is a wry reference to the stereotype, common within British Higher Education, of foreign language proficiency as a mere skill requiring only low-level cognitive activity.


Interdisciplinarity in Humanities/Social Sciences teaching since the mid-1970s has come to be defined as a learning mode involving the exploration of issues, problems and knowledges through integration and synthesis of theoretical and/or methodological procedures which draw upon more than one discipline or challenge conventional disciplinary approaches. It has proved particularly relevant to Linguistics, which has developed strongly-defined interdisciplines (such as Psycholinguistics and Sociolinguistics) and to Area Studies (both within and without Modern European Language Departments), which characteristically draws upon several disciplines. In the latter case, developing interdisciplinarity learning approaches proves challenging in terms of syllabus design.

Justifying selected uses of the learners first language in the foreign language classroom within communicative language teaching

The main objectives of the paper are: to contribute to the current methodological debate about the use of the learners' first language in foreign language teaching; to base the discussion on the examination of teacher classroom practices; to advocate the introduction of a controlled use of L1 in the foreign language classroom, through a careful consideration of variables such as materials and linguistic targets.

Mono- and multilingual reading circles

This paper aims to: describe the research and findings; explore issues around this type of task in HE; describe a small-scale research project to encourage students to read and discuss extensively outside class time.

Critical incidents across cultures

The paper describes a critical incident development project that took place in an intercultural communications course in Hong Kong. In this experiential program, students developed two critical incidents. One focused on the perspective of a Hong Konger who had experienced a confusing or troubling encounter with an American/Canadian; the other one required them to interview a sojourner from the States/Canada to write about a cross-cultural incident that the interviewee found confusing in Hong Kong. The project heightened the students’ awareness of their own culture and the ways in which differing expectations, values, and behavior can affect communication across cultures.

Implementing videoconferencing and e-learning environments for widening participation in education: the languages for e-Business (Le-B) and ATLAS programmes

The Language and Culture for Business (LCB) Programme at the University of Luton (UoL), partially funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), has designed innovative business language programmes targeted at Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and focused on widening access to learning for learners from rural areas and time challenged business students. In this paper we will report on the success of the LCB programmes in relation to academic achievement and qualifications, and discuss issues on 'Best Practice' related to two programmes: LCB’s Videoconferencing delivery which is the teaching and learning of business language skills via an inter-active two-way video link between tutor and learners, replicating a classroom situation. LCB’s ATLAS which is an on-line distance learning programme providing opportunities for independent learning in a networked environment.

Spanish students in British universities: developing a support resource to improve their academic writing skills

A substantial number of Spanish students enter British universities each year. Those students, like other international students, have to adapt not only to a new academic environment, but also to a new culture and a new way of communicating in a language that is not their native one. This piece of PhD research has analysed the difficulties that Spanish students have to face when studying in higher education in Britain.

The virtual learning environment Blackboard: Uses and limitations in the teaching and learning of four languages

This paper aims to: demonstrate how a VLE has been exploited to include a variety of media and to provide a range of attractive learning materials to satisfy the needs of language learners; outline the practicalities & implications involved in setting up courses using a VLE; report on staff and student feedback on the project.

Good practice in teaching and learning vocabulary

The vocabulary of any language is huge and its acquisition takes time, even for a native speaker. Research has concentrated more on how words are learnt than on what should be taught, though everyone agrees that a threshold of around 2000-3000 words is a requirement for further progress. The research suggests that extensive reading leads to good vocabulary gains, though this knowledge needs to be activated, e.g. in productive exercises. The teacher can also help the learner to become autonomous by teaching strategies and ensuring the availability of appropriate, motivating materials.

Reading in a second language

Reading in a second language calls for fast, automatic word decoding and access to the mental lexicon (dictionary); this means working on building speed and fluency and on learning to recognise at least 10,000 words in the new language. Learners can build speed and fluency by learning vocabulary systematically and by doing lots of easy (‘extensive’) reading. Learners will also read better in their second language if they learn about text characteristics, and if they know how to handle a variety of strategies for getting meaning from texts. Background knowledge about the second-language culture will make comprehension easier as well.

Making independent language learning accessible

This handbook notifies institutions of the legal requirements to accommodate disabled persons. It provides details of issues of accessibility that self-access centres need to consider in terms of design and provision of resources as well as technological aids. The importance of these is illustrated by case studies. The handbook also contains a list of contact organisations and useful websites.

Supporting independent language learning: development for learners and teachers

This handbook emphasises the importance of learner training and staff development in the area of independent language learning. It contains materials, suggestions and case studies, which should be of use to teachers. It also provides a description of the role of the learning advisor in managing language learning.

Learner autonomy and second/foreign language learning

This article defines the autonomous learner; summarises arguments in favour of helping language learners to become autonomous; briefly considers the process of 'autonomisation' in language classrooms and self-access learning schemes; identifies some principal lines of research; and concludes by suggesting that the Council of Europe's European Language Portfolio may bring 'autonomisation' to much larger numbers of learners than hitherto and in doing so may provide an important focus for research.

Assessment and independent language learning

This handbook looks at assessment methods for independent language learning, particularly the use of the independent language learning portfolio. Items that may be included in the portfolio are listed and some problem areas in portfolio assessment are outlined. Included in the handbook are some case studies of current activity in this field.

Resources for independent language learning: design and use

This handbook discusses individual learning styles and how best to support them; the selection and design of self access independent language learning materials; the types of resources available along with their location and organisation; and also tandem learning; the role of the language assistant and language exchanges.

Managing independent language learning: management and policy considerations

This handbook discusses the management of independent language learning. It focusses on key issues in planning a self access centre; how best to manage change; and strategies to implement policy. Several relevant case studies are contained within the appendices.

Integrating independent learning with the curriculum

This handbook is one of six CIEL handbooks dealing with good practice in the area of independent language learning. It introduces key concepts in learner autonomy and learner independence and a discussion of the benefits and challenges associated with independent learning. The handbook gives an overview of six elements crucial to the success of independent learning, these are then covered in more detail in the other handbooks. The final section of this handbook presents a paper relevant to independent learning by Gill Sturtridge, an international figure in the area of learner autonomy and in the design and use of self-access centres.

Principles of assessment

This article contains a brief introduction to the main principles which should be followed by the constructors of tests and assessments. It briefly introduces the key concepts of test validity, reliability and washback, and provides guidelines for pre-testing. It gives the addresses of three other language testing web sites and has bibliographical pointers to more detailed discussion of language testing, in particular. A comprehensive glossary of testing terms is also provided.

Contrastive Linguistics

A definition of this linguistic subdiscipline, in its applied and its "theoretical" versions, indicating the scope of research in the field, ranging from Behaviourist interference error to neo-Whorfian cognitive approaches. The major rationales for including Contrastive Linguistics on a linguistics degree syllabus are presented together with some guidelines for organising this syllabus. A step-by-step procedure and methodology for teaching Contrastive Lingistics at tertiary level is presented, and the article contains a select set of key references.

Linguistics for applied linguists and lecturers in English language

A brief description is provided of the content of a master’s programme which focuses on preparing participants to teach English Language and/or Applied Linguistics at university level. An overview of the content shows the role of linguistic theory in the programme. A slightly more detailed account is given of the content of the phonology component to illustrate how linguistic theory relates to practical issues in language learning.

Second language acquisition

Since the original formulation of the 'Interlanguage Hypothesis' in the late '60s, the field of Second Language Acquisition has witnessed a remarkable expansion and diversification. It is now a research area that interfaces with several disciplines and encompasses a range of applied, theoretical and experimental approaches. As a consequence, Second Language Acquisition can be taught in different ways depending on the purpose of the course and the students' background and aims.

General introduction to modern languages in today's UK universities

Drawing on a wide range of official data, this survey provides a clear, comprehensive and reliable picture of student numbers in LLAS between 1994 and 2001. It reveals a significant downwards trend in some subject areas, particularly with respect to the uptake of certain single subject degrees, but shows that this is balanced by growth elsewhere and by an increasing variety in available subject combinations. The article explains how the figures are derived, and their limitations (especially for combined subjects). An appendix analyses key factors in student choice and highlights areas in which myth (e.g. exam difficulty) may prevail over an encouraging reality (employability).

Towards a framework for expansion and collaboration: A web-based multilingual grammar resource

The paper aims to discuss: the use of an authoring package designed to produce interactive web-based CALL materials that integrate text and the spoken word; provide hands-on experience in the use of the authoring package; the integration of interactive web-based language teaching material into daily practice.

LICS from CATS - a managed approach to the curriculum

This paper discusses how reviewing the curriculum can help in dealing with some of the pressures faced by language departments; considers how the needs of many kinds of students can be incorporated into, and satisfied by, a unified curriculum; considers how the Common European Framework can be used for Curriculum Review.

An integrated on-line/classroom-based language-learning environment

The University of Cambridge believes that languages should be available to all, and has decided that the best way to nurture the learning of languages is to integrate classroom teaching with on-line learning. This paper describes the language programme (CULP) that the University runs.

The gruppo 62 Italian project: undergraduate collaboration between the universities of Hull and Leeds

This paper reports quite briefly on a project in progress, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) through the Collaboration Programme in Modern Languages proposed by the University Council for Modern Languages (UCML) and directed by Professor David Robey.

On-line and face-to-face language learning compared: the student experience

This paper discusses the student experience of Lagelands, an on-line Dutch course for beginners. It will compare the experiences of students who took this course in combination with face-to-face teaching as part of their degree at the University of Hull, with that of students who took the course completely on-line. Before embarking upon the comparison itself, the Lagelands course and the two learning contexts in which it is offered will be briefly outlined.

Learner training: From strategy awareness to actual language improvement

The aims of this paper are to: present a strategy-training module taught at Newcastle University; evaluate it in the areas of writing and speaking skills; discuss the relationship between strategy awareness and language performance. It also aims to demonstrate how an observational approach to strategy research could be developed on the basis of student performance data. The data presented here was compiled at the end of the academic year (i.e. only a few weeks before this paper was given). Therefore it should be regarded as a preliminary communication rather than hard evidence of specific findings. Nevertheless, it was thought that an early glimpse into the nature of the information that can be obtained by this method could be of use to other researchers in the field, and might generate fruitful discussion at this initial stage.

Teaching social sciences in area studies programmes

Discusses the origins of different area studies programmes (e.g. of American studies, Russian studies, European studies). Defines the relationship of area studies to social sciences. Assesses the current situation of, and logistical challenges to, social science teaching in area studies. Gives pointers to future developments.

African Studies teaching at UK universities

African Studies courses are taught at undergraduate level, as single or joint honours degrees, in the following UK universities: the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, the Centre of West African Studies (CWAS), University of Birmingham, and the School of African and Asian Studies (SAAS), University of Sussex. Relevant degrees include African Languages and Cultures, African Studies, African Studies with Anthropology, and African Studies with Development. The first two universities, in addition to the Centre of African Studies (CAS), University of Edinburgh, also offer postgraduate (e.g., MA) courses with a taught component.



This contribution discusses the role of argumentation in the teaching of language and linguistics.

Evolution of a national strategy for foreign language learning

This paper discusses the potential advantage that bilinguals have over monolinguals and the attitudes of the English towards foreign language learning. It summarises the findings of the Nuffield Enquiry and the Government's response, and suggests that attitudes need to change along with a political commitment to promote plurilingualism.

A new approach to teaching German as a foreign language at Tertiary level

German Studies at Queen's University has developed a second degree pathway called 'Business Communication: German for European Industry', which we now teach in addition to the traditional pathway 'German Language and Literature'. This new pathway is a response to the changes in the job market in this country and internationally and includes an industrial placement with leading companies in Germany during the year abroad. In this paper, I would like to give a basic description of the new pathway and some background information about why we felt it was necessary to develop this alternative. I then want to give more detail about what is special about this modern language course, and what the benefits are for students. Finally, as evidence of the success of this approach to date, I would like to quote some of our students' feedback about the pathway and in particular about their industrial placement.

Taking account of affective learner differences in the planning and delivery of language courses for open, distance and independent learning

The affective side of language learning has been attracting more and more attention in recent years. Results from studies carried out with undergraduate language learners in the late 1990s into affect in language learning have indicated 'substantial links among affective measures and achievement' (Gardner, Tremblay and Masgoret, 1997: 344) and have highlighted the 'interdependent role that linguistics, cognition and affect play in FL and SL learning' (Yang, 1999: 246). However, most research on affective learner variables concentrates on classroom-based learners, and there is very little on those learning in other contexts. This paper therefore: reviews the literature on affective variables and its relevance for independent language learning contexts; examines some of the interrelationships between affective variables, and their links with cognitive styles and strategies; explores briefly the issues raised with regard to pedagogic intervention in independent learning contexts and the development of learner autonomy.

Linguistics and the Arts and Humanities Data Service

The explosion of access to electronic texts and information about languages and cultures on the Internet offers wonderful new resources for linguists. However, the texts available often present themselves to the researcher as a bewildering choice of unfiltered data. The Oxford Text Archive (OTA) is centrally funded as the centre of expertise in the creation and use of electronic texts for languages, literature and linguistics in the UK academic community, as part of the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS). This paper describes the ways in which the OTA (http://www.ota.ahds.ac.uk ) is currently working in particular to improve the service which it provides specifically for people working in the subject field of linguistics in the UK Higher and Further Education communities. The AHDS is a UK national service funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB). Organised via an Executive at King's College London, and five service providers from various Higher Education institutions, the AHDS aids the discovery, creation and preservation of digital collections in the arts and humanities.

Text Modification in Foreign Language Teaching

The key points to the paper: introduction: research in progress; the importance of reading comprehension; authentic vs. modified: previous studies; criteria for modifications; preparations for the first experiment; conclusions so far.

Intercultural communication: a teaching and learning framework

The objectives of this paper are to; present a teaching and learning framework which provides the foundation for the effective acquisition and mediation of intercultural communication skills in the modern language classroom; balance the theory with practical examples of teaching methodology, materials and activities. The framework presented here merges theories of learning from the fields of intercultural education, intercultural communication studies and educational psychology.

It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it: Managing diversity of learning strategies in the language classroom

This paper aims to examine the management of a diversity of learning strategies in the language classroom and looks at how past learning experiences influence current teaching practice.

Challenging cultural stereotypes through contemporary Italian films

This paper aims to demonstrate how cinema, as a visual aid, provides insights into contemporary Italian culture and society and at the same time how it can bring students into direct contact with an authentic use of Italian language and idioms.

Using the Virtual Campus for language learning: A case study in pedagogical and practical approach to using ICT

This paper considers the ways in which a learning platform can be used for language classes within the higher education context. The platform, the Virtual Campus, incorporates a number of features and facilities including the use of the multimedia platform for final year French materials, and the discussion lists for second-year students of English as a Foreign Language. In an attempt to explore possible ways in which information and communications technology (ICT) could be used in an innovative manner in the final level French classes, a research project was piloted at the University of Lincoln (formerly the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside) in 2000-2001.

Writing Strategies: Differences In L1 And L2 Writing

This paper aims to: explore writing strategies in bilingual writers; compare first and second language writing strategies; discuss the results of the study and its implications in teaching second language writing.

Developing intercultural competence for the knowledge society: The Open University A buen puerto website

This paper aims to provide evidence of how ICT can contribute to the development of inter-cultural competence and develop the sense of belonging to a learning community in the context of distance education.

The role of the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) in the development of a varied set of strategies to integrate ICT into language learning (a case study)

This objectives of this paper are to: present a case study of what an international organisation like the ECML can do to address current needs in language teaching and learning; outline the major issues involved in such an initiative.

Student voices on residence abroad

This paper focuses on the learning outcomes of residence abroad. It analyses for the first time qualitative data from the Residence Abroad Project (RAP) within the context of earlier quantitative findings from both RAP and the earlier European Language Proficiency Survey (ELPS).

State of the Subjects: Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies in the UK today

What is covered by the three subject areas of languages, linguistics and area studies? What kind of programmes are available? And how many students are currently studying them? This overview looks at some of the things which are changing in these subject areas, including student numbers, the increased importance of career implications, shifting disciplinary identities, globalisation, and the impact of government policy shifts. It refers to the report of the Nuffield Inquiry in shaping current thinking about languages in particular.

Training the trainer: language teaching assistants

Quality requirements mean universities must ensure suitable training for all language teaching staff. Courses for language assistants are most effective when divided into two parts, with a combination of initial intensive input and subsequent reflection on practical experience in the classroom. Foreign language assistants, part-time tutors and postgraduate teaching assistants have differing developmental needs which can be met through modular elements. All assistants can qualify for membership of the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education via one of two routes.

Sociolinguistic variation

This article outlines the main methodological and theoretical issues within research on sociolinguistic variation. It covers the origins of the subject, data collection, quantification and the linguistic variable, correlations of social and linguistic variation and language change. It ends by considering recent social constructionist approaches to variation and change. A bibliography is included.

Semantics and pragmatics

This contribution sets out how the study of linguistic meaning and interpretation (Semantics) and the study of language use and communication (Pragmatics) are inter-dependent. Three areas are covered: (i) Methodology (ii) Context and Content and (iii) Content and Inference. As well as sketching key ideas, the contribution also points to ongoing debates. Classic texts and recent contributions are mentioned in relation to both.


This article introduces dialectology - the study of accents and dialects. It includes discussions of what it is, how it has evolved and how it is done, as well as considering recent developments in the field. The article argues that being a competent fieldworker and data collector is an essential skill in dialectology. A bibliography and list of dialectology web sites is included.

Language and gender

The relationship between Language and Gender is an intrinsically attractive way in to a number of linguistic issues. Men's and Women's Talk have arguably been demonstrated to show differences at the phonetic, syntactic, lexical and discourse levels. Both the personal and political aspects of the topic ensure lively discussion in seminars.

Training the trainer: staff development for language teaching

Support for the professional development of full-time staff teaching languages in higher education is poor, particularly because universities' initial training programmes tend to be exclusively generic. Furthermore, most academics' expertise is in non-language areas and there is no real culture of language pedagogy. The DELPHI programme offers a completely free online distance-learning programme in language teacher development, suitable for all university teaching contexts.


Politeness theory is currently attracting a great interest amongst scholars and is developing at breakneck speed. Notions of politeness are perhaps best taught using a pincer movement combining intellectual understanding (through linguistics lectures) and practical exercises (in language classes).

Language and design

Linguistic approaches to the fusion of language and visual design in document design.


Multilingualism is the norm in the world, monolingualism is an exception. Language and nationalism, language dominance, language loss and shift are characteristics of multilingual nations, in particular those with a colonial history.

Corpus Linguistics

This paper discusses the matching of corpora to answer research questions. Programmes for annotating a corpus are examined as well as the use of corpora in teaching. Some useful links are provided for those interested in using corpora.

Post-graduate certificate of education: modern foreign languages

This entry gives detail of the Post-graduate Certificate of Education in Modern Foreign Languages in Britain.The number and names of leading institutions is listed. The context for the PGCE is given in relation to the main organisation and quality assurance of teacher training courses. The content of the PGCE is described together with a rationale in terms of the National Currciculum for MFLs in Britain. Reference is made to the Standards against which trainees are trained and assessed. Recent trends are set out along with possible future developments. The entry ends with a list of salient documents and publications. Web based sites are listed and details of research into MFLs teacher education.

Phonological change

This article provides an overview of the issues involved in teaching sound change at undergraduate and graduate level.

Methodology of historical linguistics

The article addresses issues of good practice in teaching the methodology of historical linguistics (including reconstruction, classification, variation and change and corpus-based work) at undergraduate and graduate level.

Translation from and into the foreign language

Beginning with a brief look at some of the issues highlighted by translation studies in recent years, the article covers the following practical matters: the place of translation in the FL course; discussion of some excercises involving translation (parallel texts, retranslation, summary translation); sample demonstration and teaching sequences (on parallel texts and translation from L1 to L2); assessing translation. Finally there are glossary items and a short bibliography.

Computers and the internet in Area Studies teaching

The essay explores the application of Internet technology in the teaching of Area Studies. It is a descriptive commentary on recent good practice in this area. Special attention is given to the role played by 'virtual seminars' in teaching and learning.

Central and East European Studies in the UK

A review of the development in the subject area since the Second World War. Central and Eastern Europe is viewed as covering a geographic space from Poland to the Western Border of Russia, and from North to South towards the Balkans. While dedicated degree programmes are relatively few, modularisation has ensured that many Central and East European course units exist in UK universities.

Second language acquisition (SLA) research: its significance for learning and teaching issues

The purpose of this general overview article is to outline how research into second language acquisition (SLA) over the last few decades has fed into our understanding of learning and teaching in foreign language classrooms. After a very brief overview of SLA research findings concerning both route and rate of L2 development, theoretical models attempting to explain these findings are presented, ranging from purely linguistic to cognitive models and social/interactionist models. The relationship between SLA research and second language pedagogy is then explored. Finally, recent developments investigating specifically the relationship between instruction and L2 development are outlined.

Technology-mediated learning

Introduction to the use of educational technology in higher education in the UK and beyond. This article provides an overview of the available tools and their effective use. It also mediates three major beliefs about the reasons for employing technology-mediated learning - appropriacy for flexible, distance and open learning, widening participation and cost-effectiveness.

History of linguistics

The history of linguistics is already being studied by a significant number of language and linguistics students, often unwittingly. Such students can enhance their understanding by calling on the full range of available materials. These include general overviews of the whole history of linguistics, as well as studies of particular periods, languages, subdisciplines, or geographical regions. Teaching will typically involve a lecture element, but is more likely to revolve around the study of texts, the choice of which depends on the background of the students. Internet resources are as yet sparse.

American Studies

A general overview of the nature and variety of American Studies degree courses in United Kingdom universities, including notes on the differing structures and content of degree courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, opportunities for study abroad and the wide range of resources available for students and lecturers in American Studies.

Task-based learning

Tasks have a major role within language pedagogy, for educational as well as linguistic reasons. Courses studying task-based learning tend to explore the topic in terms of five major themes - the basis for using tasks; empirical research into tasks; in terms of socio-cultural and cognitive approaches; tasks and interpersonal engagements; tasks and tests; and task complexity. The entry summarises the range of teaching procedures that can be used to study the topic.

Evaluating tandem interactions

This article provides an overview of the principles of tandem learning. It then focuses on the types of assessment (self assessment, formal assessment, holistic approach) which can be used to provide a rounded evaluation of tandem interaction.

Design of a pedagogic grammar

The main elements which influence the design of a pedagogic grammar are the audience (first language background, level of existing knowledge, knowledge of terminology), linguistic theory and learning theory.

Resource-based learning

The entry covers what Resource-Based learning - or RBL - refers to, the history of RBL and the issues raised by RBL in relation to conceptions of the transmission of knowledge in Higher Education.

Phonetics in pronunciation teaching for modern foreign languages

Set against the history of the relationship between phonetics and pronunciation teaching, this paper outlines the needs of both the teacher and the learner in terms of phonetic knowledge in today's multilingual classrooms. It suggests sources of information for consultation by teachers and refers to established research demonstrating the value of phonetics in pronunciation teaching and learning. It concludes by recommending an ideal case scenario and offers a number of useful web addresses with brief annotations for the benefit of teachers and learners.

Teaching linguistics via the web

This section lists different resources widely available on the web and can contribute to the teaching of linguistics. It also refers to customised web resources specifically developed to teach or test linguistics on-line, often with restricted access. Some urls are provided as examples. Different models of integration are considered as are issues related to quality control and assurance.

Syntax: generative grammar

Teaching syntax using a generative approach

Clinical Linguistics for students of linguistics

This article addresses issues in teaching and learning of Clinical Linguistics for students on degrees in general linguistics and language

Formal models in linguistics: semantics

Teaching formal semantics: an outline of the core issues and some possible approaches

Why theory is essential: the relationship between theory, analysis and data

Issues relating to why theories of linguistics have such an important place in the academic discipline

Clinical Linguistics for speech and therapy education

This article addresses issues in the teaching and learning of clinical linguistics for speech and language therapy (speech and language pathology) students.

Pronunciation in EFL

Phonetics provides a scientific basis for pronunciation teaching in EFL (English as a Foreign Language). It is essential to the preparation of reference and teaching materials and highly desirable as an aspect of EFL teacher training.

Individual differences in second and foreign language learning

The contribution surveys work on individual differences in second and foreign language learning. It covers the areas of foreign language aptitude, motivation, learning strategies and learning style. Research in each area is covered, and the current state of play in each sub-field is assessed. Further bibliographic guidance is provided.

Teaching formal semantics

Short description of matters to be considered when teaching Formal Semantics to undergraduates and postgraduates, containing an indication of current topics and necessary formal techniques, plus a select annotated bibliography.

Russian studies in UK universities

An account of offerings and trends in Russian Studies in the UK at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including a brief history of the field, details of selected modules within key programmes, and of the main centres for study of Russia and the former Soviet Union

French studies in UK higher education

A survey of French area studies teaching in the UK, covering curriculum content, design and delivery.


Interpreting can be taught both as a language exercise and with professional training in mind. This article reviews the modes and types of interpreting, as well as of the institutions and organisations providing interpreting courses.

Psychology and linguistics: what do we need to teach each other?

In this section of the Web Guide the relationship between psychology, and linguistics is considered with respect to learning and teaching. The main questions adressed are: what linguistics does a psychologist need to know and why? What psychology does a linguist need to know and why? A brief historical background to the relationship between linguistics and psychology is provided. An overview is given of how this has fed in to the curriculum of undergraduate courses in psycholinguistics in UK psychology and linguistics departments. Samples of web resources for psycholinguistics are provided.

Linguistics within a humanities modular programme

This article addresses how Linguistics can be taught as part of a humanities modular programme in such a way that there is flexibility and choice whilst coherent routes through the different years is provided and progression is ensured.


Dictionaries are of many types and useful to students not only of languages but of all subjects. Their design has undergone major changes in recent years, making them much more soundly based, and user friendly. Alongside this there is increasing research into the dictionary strategies of the user: clearly there is a limit to what the dictionary can do to help the user and good dictionary skills need to be trained, though such training has often been neglected.

Institution wide language programmes

Institution Wide Language Programmes emerged in the 1980s to 'service' growing demand for tuition from non-specialist language learners. Today they operate in various guises in the majority of UK universities. Many report buoyant numbers, but they are financially exposed for organisational and funding reasons. The best examples of IWLPs succeed in offsetting a natural tendency to uniformity through clever design of modules and by making available a wide range of resources, often through a Language Centre, to meet individual needs.

WWW-based stylistics teaching

This paper describes the development of an interactive, learning should be fun, WWW-based introductory undergraduate course in stylistics and a pedagogical experiment to be undertaken involving the course. The WWW-based course is itself derived from a more traditional lecture-seminar course and the aim is to compare student reactions to, and performance on, the two different versions of the course. The pedagogical principles underlying the two versions of the course are discussed, as well as the design of the experiment. Stylistics teachers in other HE institutions are invited to take part in the pedagogical experiment.

Scandinavian studies teaching in the UK

A survey of Scandinavian studies teaching in UK universities from interdisciplinary and single discipline perspectives, including history, literature, and the culture of Scandinavia and the Nordic Countries.

English morphology

English morphology is the branch of grammar that investigates the internal structure of English words.

Bilingualism / multilingualism

The approach to the topic will depend on the target audience. Students of Linguistics do not necessarily have an indepth knowledge of a foreign language, which can make it more difficult for them to understand what it means to be bilingual/multilingual. They may benefit from an approach which stresses the similarities between being bidialectal and bilingual. Students of Modern Languages are often better able to understand what it means to use two or more languages in daily life. With these students it is possible and preferable to study concrete examples of bilingual speech.

Construction grammar

Construction grammar is a theory of syntax in which constructions are the central unit of grammatical representation. There is no textbook currently available for construction grammar, but there are many good case studies. Basic principles of construction grammar are outlined in the guide and references therein. The best learning technique is for a student to use one of the many freely available text corpora in various languages to select and analyze a single construction or family of constructions.

Pragmatics for undergraduates

Some thoughts on teaching pragmatics to undergraduate linguistics students. Suggesting a model based initially on interpretation processes.

Sentence meaning

Thoughts on the teaching of sentence meaning within a linguistics programme.

Grammatical categories, or grammar and semantics

The set of grammatical categories includes, among others, tense, aspect, mood, case. These are neglected in current Linguistics courses in the UK but are central in the grammars of natural languages. They connect grammar and semantics and play an essential role in the syntactic analysis of clauses and the semantic analysis of clauses and propositions. Their study leads to general issues such as the source of grammatical categories, the evolution of language, language and cognition, metaphor and first language acquisition.

Discourse analysis

In its broadest sense discourse analysis provides a framework of general communicative behaviour within which syntax, semantics and pragmatics can be situated. In its narrower sense it takes in the organisation of text and information: ordering old and new information, focusing on or making salient particular pieces of information and the constituents that carry them, shifts of event or scene, changes of text-type. These topics relate directly to matters such as the function of syntactic structures, choice of different types of referring expression and function of intonation patterns.

Latin American studies in the UK

An outline of the development and current provision of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching of Latin American Studies in UK universities. While concentrating on single honours and joint degrees, it also gives an indication of how Latin American themes are incorporated into other degree programmes.

Chinese Studies in the United Kingdom: 2002 overview

This article reviews what has happened to teaching Chinese Studies since 1999, when HEFCE funding WAS injected into 10 UK high educational institutions with proven track records, whilst no government funding has gone to those without track records. Information on teaching programmes in Chinese Studies in most British universities in 2002 is also included.

Philosophy of language

Some thoughts on teaching Philosophy of Language within a Linguistics programme.

Some issues on which linguists can agree

A list of 83 points on which linguists seem to agree and which are important for education. The list was compiled in 1980 but is currently (2002) being revised.

Australian Studies teaching in the UK

A survey of Australian Studies teaching in UK universities, from interdisciplinary and single discipline perspectives, including history, literature, and the culture of indigenous Australians.

Articulatory Phonetics

Most Articulatory Phonetics courses involve learning to produce and transcribe the sounds represented in a phonetic alphabet. The advantage is that phoneticians have a very widely-understood system of representation. The drawback is that alphabetic systems do not lend themselves to the description of all phonetic phenomena.

Systemic functional linguistics in language education

Through its emphasis on the functional basis of language structure and the view of language as meaning potential, systemic functional linguistics (SFL) provides a useful tool for those who wish to analyse texts. It is predominantly a socially oriented theory of language the task of which is to explain how meanings are made and exchanged through the resource of grammar and lexis.

Single honours linguistics courses with a formal orientation

This article outlines a formal approach to the teaching of introductory syntax. The crucial elements are the distinction between knowledge and use of language, the idea that our knowledge is rule-governed and that the rules can be made explicit in terms of a theory that makes universal claims. All such claims must be testable, and students made aware of the importance of evidence. Elementary illustrations of all these points are provided from English and the Nigerian language Nupe.

Language and education

This paper outlines an approach towards teaching and learning about language and education which is underpinned by sociocultural theory. It argues for an exploration of the connections between language and learning through analysis of educational discourses, including classroom talk, academic writing, and academic computer mediated communication.

Intercultural issues in foreign language learning and ethnographic approaches to study abroad

The article outlines current emphases on interculturality, ideas of the 'intercultural speaker' and revised approaches to language-and-culture learning. Related research activity in the UK is described. The content and method of ethnographic courses for language learners are outlined and there is detailed consideration of the implications for learners and teachers of ethnographic preparation for periods of residence abroad.

Introductory course in English grammar

About a one-term introductory course on English Grammar which teaches BA students to analyse most of the syntactic structure of any sentence in any text; it uses Word Grammar analyses.

How to be the centre of the universe

Language is central to everything we do; it is what makes us human. This article situates language at the centre of the intellectual universe, showing its relations with maths and medicine, with logic and literature. Whether your interest is in the use of language to determine a suspect's guilt or innocence, the problem of how babies can acquire language and stroke victims lose it, or just how many languages there are in the world, linguistics will give you guidance.

Linguistics in first year single honours courses

This document suggests ways of building up the first year of a single honours course in linguistics. It suggests that the year should consist of certain core courses introducing basic concepts relevant to the field, most importantly phonetics, grammar and semantics. In addition, there should be a set of optional courses on aspects of the field which interact with other subject areas (e.g. sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics). The document provides some ideas for text books to be used and also gives some other sources, in particular web-based facilities. The document also contains a brief discussion of assessment.

English language and linguistics: undergraduate study

This article explores the balance between structural and functional approaches to the study of English language and linguistics in undergraduate courses. Undergraduate courses should provide students with the ability to describe the language accurately and systematically as well as provide the capacity to discuss its functions and uses, both in particular societies and in the wider world.

European studies programmes in the UK

European Studies is a type of interdisciplinary programme, widely established in the UK since the 1970s, which combines modern languages with disciplinary studies in the social sciences or humanities. Programmes fall predominantly into two groups: those based on progressive study of two or more disciplines applied to Europe, typically history, politics and economics, and those in which language is studied in the context of European cultures and societies. The study of the EU is a core part of most programmes. Degrees are usually of four years with one year spent at university or in a placement in continental Europe.

Language advising

There is a well developed educational argument (examined elsewhere in the Good Practice Guide) which considers independent learning a desirable goal of Higher Education.The shift in language learning from a teacher-led to a more learner-centred approach and the increased use of a variety of media and technologies has required a repositioning of the teacher and a reappraisal of the teachers skills. Within this context a new professional role, distinct from the teacher, has emerged. Terms such as facilitator, mentor, counsellor, adviser, helper, learner support officer and consultant have been used to characterise such role and identify differences in skills and functions with the teaching profession.This article focuses on the skills and practices of language advising.

Linguistics and the social sciences

This note is intended for teachers of courses with titles like 'Language in Society'. It outlines some key themes of current social theory that are relevant to linguistics, and suggests some areas of linguistics that may be of interest to social scientists. It includes some suggested web sites and further readings.

Education and linguistics

This article considers the relationship between linguistics and education. It outlines the key differences between the two disciplines, briefly summarises the history of linguistics within Education teaching in HE, and lists the ways in which linguistics informs both general educational practice, and the methodology of teaching languages.


Typology is the study of language universals by the empirical method of induction from a sample of diverse languages. Textbooks are available (Croft 2002, Comrie 1989). the most effective learning tool is for each student to "adopt" a reference grammar of an unfamiliar language; the languages used in a class should be genetically and geographically diverse. Descriptive exercises are based on the adopted grammars, and analytical exercises on data sets available on the Web.


Phonology is the study of contrastive sound units in language. It can be taught as 'principles of phonology' which looks at universal properties of sound systems or as 'the phonology of a language' which talks about standard and variant pronunciations in a particular system. Phonology is a crucial part of many areas of linguistics, such as first- and second-language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and historical linguistics.

Principles of programme design: joint honours - linguistics + a modern foreign language

A joint-honours programme combining linguistics and a modern foreign language needs to stand up as a respectable diet in linguistics, that is, introduce basic notions of both pure and applied linguistics early on and allow students to go on to develop either depth or breadth of knowledge / understanding within the discipline. Structural constraints permitting, it should also fully capitalise upon the dual interests of the students, that is, exploit their competence in modern foreign languages to support and inform their work in linguistics and, conversely, make sure that their familiarity with notions from linguistics consolidates their acquisition of modern-foreign-language competence.

Listening: theory and practice in modern foreign language competence

Second language (L2) listening comprehension is a complex process, crucial in the development of second language competence. Listeners use both bottom-up processers (linguistic knowledge) and top-down processes (prior knowledge) to comprehend. Knowing the context of a listening text and the purpose for listening greatly reduces the burden of comprehension. Teachers can help students develop sound strategies for comprehension through a process approach to teaching L2 listening. This will help students learn how to listen and develop the metacognitive knowledge and strategies crucial to success in listening comprehension.

Student essays - an academic literacies perspective

Students writing in the university - an academic literacies perspective - intergrating the process of writing about academic knowledge with the teaching of academic knowledge - writing as a social and disciplinary practice in contrast to writing as a technical skill.

CALL (computer assisted language learning)

An introduction to Computer Assisted Language Learning, including a brief history and mention of more recent trends (CD-ROMS, DVDs, the Web) and professional associations dedicated to CALL.


Morphology is the branch of grammar that investigates the internal structure of words.

Excusez-moi, êtes-vous un terroriste?

Languages are key to global citizenship. The Times Higher Education Supplement has published an article by the Subject Centre Directory, Prof Mike Kelly, on the government's recent proposals to make foreign languages an optional subject for pupils in England after the age of 14. The article appeared in the THES edition of March 29th, 2002, pages 22-23.