English - Elective Subject, topic 5: Topics in English Linguistics: Pragmatics, linguistic anthropology and multilingualism

Course content

This three-part module introduces students to three important branches of linguistics applied within the study of the English language - namely, pragmatics, linguistic anthropology, and multilingualism.


Pragmatics (Kim Ebensgaard Jensen)

Pragmatics is the study of language in use – more specifically, it is the study of contextualized meaning and examines how meaning is created in actual speech events. This course will cover topics such as speech act theory, presupposition, implicature, deixis, politeness, conversational structure, salience and the notion of context itself and how to deal with macropragmatic and micropragmatic issues. Students will also be introduced to different areas of application of pragmatics such as intercultural pragmatics (the study of how the language system is put to use in social encounters between people from different cultural and linguistic groups), sociopragmatics (the study of language use in relation to everyday social practices), cognitive pragmatics (the study of mental and psychological aspects of contextualized meaning and communication), pragmatic construction grammar (the study of the interplay between grammar and contextualized meaning), and literary pragmatics (the application of pragmatic theory in the study of literary fiction).


Linguistic Anthropology (Dorte Lønsmann)

Linguistic anthropology is the study of language as social action. Linguistic anthropology draws on principles and methods from linguistics, anthropology and ethnography in the study of cultural values and interactional practices within social groups. This part of the course will cover central concepts and fields of study including speech communities and communities of practice, language acquisition and language socialization, language ideologies, language and gender, language and ethnicity and language and power. In addition, this part of the course will introduce students to methods of data collection and data analysis used in linguistic anthropology.


Multilingualism (Kamilla Kraft)

From a social point of view, multilingualism is about the role of languages in our societies, specifically pertaining to language choice, regulation and valuation. This implies that studies of multilingualism explore macro and micro perspectives of what we do with and to languages and speakers in different societal institutions (e.g. family, education, work and legislation). Through themes such as ‘Globalisation, English and the other languages’, ‘Elite versus stigmatised multilingualism’, ‘Translanguaging’, ‘Multilingualism in and at work’, and ‘Multilingualism, education and race relations’, we will dive into classic and recent theories and studies of as well as debates on multilingualism, thereby gaining knowledge about how and with what consequences multilingualism is imagined, used and managed in different places throughout history. Studies of English in multilingual contexts will be paid special attention.

Class instruction

Teaching and learning methods:
Classes with particular emphasis on reading and discussing primary and secondary texts, applying acquired theory in analysis, and developing written and spoken proficiency in English. To meet this end, a number of voluntary written assignments and student presentations will be part of the module.


  • Pragmatics: Topics in Pragmatics (compendium)
  • Linguistic Anthropology:
  • Laura Ahearn. 2017. Living Language 2nd Edition. Wiley Blackwell.
  • Selected articles uploaded/linked to in Absalon.
  • Multilingualism: Compendium combined with selected articles linked to in Absalon
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assessment

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 84
  • Preparation
  • 325,5
  • English
  • 409,5