Language, Learning and Writing

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Linguistics

Module overview

This module is designed to equip first-year students of languages and linguistics with the tools they need to succeed in the acquisition and study of language, throughout the course of their time at SOAS, and beyond into their post-study careers.

The module begins by giving students a thorough grounding in the essential concepts and terminology used by linguists to describe the grammars of the world’s languages. With an understanding of these concepts and how they manifest themselves in the languages taught at SOAS, students have the preparation they need to acquire the grammar of the language that they are studying or have an interest in, as well as a sense of how it compares with some of the world’s other major languages.

In the same way, students are then introduced to essential concepts and terminology used by linguists to describe the different sounds used in the world’s languages and they are given an opportunity to master the pronunciation of the types of sounds that feature in some of the languages taught at SOAS, but which are absent from English and other major European languages.

In addition to this introduction to grammar and pronunciation, students are given further instruction in crucial language learning skills, such as how to go about learning vocabulary and wider self-study strategies.

The remainder of the module focuses on essential non-language-specific skills, including: essay researching, planning and writing, managing references and avoiding plagiarism, effective time management, and planning for a successful post-study career.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

Learning Outcomes

Students completing this module will be able to...

  • Show an understanding of grammatical and phonetic concepts and terminology
  • Understand how to pronounce important sounds absent from their native language
  • Plan, structure and revise a piece of academic writing
  • Plan for and effectively work towards their chosen career


The module is taught over 10 weeks with two hours contact time each week

Scope and syllabus

Topics covered in this module typically include:

  • Grammar for language learners
    • parts of speech and grammatical functions
    • tense, aspect, mood, case
  • Pronunciation for language learners
    • consonants and vowels, voiced and unvoiced consonants, syllables, tones
    • practical phonetics (pronunciation of sounds such as clicks, pharyngeals, voiceless nasals, etc.)
  • Language learning skills
  • Essay writing
    • structuring, editing, revising, re-reading, getting the right tone
    • referencing and plagiarism
  • Time management
  • Career planning
    • applying for jobs and internships
    • writing a CV

Method of assessment

  • 40% - Report, 750 words
  • 60% - Essay, 1,500 words
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules