English Language Modules

The Department offers an exciting and holistic range of modules that investigate linguistic phenomena in multicultural and international contexts. This includes linguistic patterning at the levels of word, sentence and text; how language is acquired and developed in children as well as in adults in bilingual environments or in situations of brain impairment; how language evolves and changes over time and space; how and why there are many varieties of language (for example, American, British and Singaporean English); how language is used in everyday and institutional contexts and interacts in complex ways with the situational environment, socio-cultural practices and ideology; and how the study of language interacts with other fields like literature, semiotics and popular culture. Bringing together theory, description, and application, the modules provide a firm foundation in these areas of inquiry at the introductory levels, and offer opportunities for in-Department and self-directed study at more advanced levels.

Unless otherwise stated, all level 1000–3000 modules carry 4 modular credits (MCs), while all level 4000 modules carry 5 MCs (except EL4401 which carries 15 MCs).

Modules offered in AY2019/2020 Semester 1

Nala LEE

This introductory overview of linguistics aims at equipping students with a solid foundation in the object, methods and goals of the science of spoken language, the prime tool of human communication. Through a principled analysis of patterns of sound, form and meaning at the levels of word, sentence and text, students will gain insight into what it means to say that language is a rule-governed system and an organic whole. The results of this exploration will be useful to those interested in the relationship between language and mind, society and culture.

Pre-requisite: Exempted from NUS Qualifying English Test, or passed NUS Qualifying English Test, or exempted from further CELC Remedial English modules.
Preclusion: GEK1011
Cross-listing: GEK1011
Leslie LEE

This module introduces students to articulatory phonetics, which is concerned with how speech sounds are produced, and phonology, which is concerned with the organization of speech sounds in a linguistic system. We will learn about the human speech apparatus in detail, and the mechanisms that are involved in speech production. Starting with examples from English, we will explore phonological patterns from a crosslinguistic perspective, and learn how to provide formal analyses for these patterns. The module teaches conceptual tools that will allow students to analyse the phonology of English and other languages.

Pre-requisite: EL1101E or GEK1011
Preclusion: EL2202
Rebecca STARR

This module considers how variation in language use relates to broader variation in the daily experiences of individuals and groups. Students examine how language constructs cultural abstractions such as social class, gender, and power relations and how these abstractions play out in language varieties and shape their defining characteristics. The module should appeal to students who wish to explore the interaction of language and society by drawing on linguistics, sociology, anthropology, and psychology, and to understand the practical implications of language variation for language policy and language education in multilingual societies such as Singapore.

Pre-requisite: EL1101E or GEK1011
Preclusion: EL2251
Lionel WEE

This module introduces students to the key concepts in semantics and pragmatics. In order to test the usefulness of these concepts, students will learn to apply them to the analysis of data. The major topics covered may include some or all of the following: sense; reference; mental representation; word meaning and lexical relations, event and participant types; conceptual structure; deixis; entailment and presupposition; the role of context in interpretation; conventional and conversational implicatures; direct and indirect speech acts; and politeness.

Pre-requisite: EL1101E or GEK1011
Justina ONG

This module explores the processes underlying language comprehension, language production, and language acquisition in children and adults. The topics include language and brain, the role of learners’ attention, short-term memory, and long-term memory in language production, lexical storage and access, discourse comprehension and memory, language acquisition, and production of speech and writing.

Pre-requisite: EL1101E or GEK1011
Vincent OOI

The vast worldwide computer network collectively known as the Internet (and its graphical interface, the World Wide Web) provides a new environment and technologies of communication (e.g., Internet Relay Chat, bulletin board systems etc.) that challenge current assumptions regarding the nature of speech, writing, community and society. Since English is the principal language of the Internet, this module aims to examine the ways in which the language is being (re)formulated on the Web, especially in multilingual settings. The module focuses on the study and management of electronic language evidence on the Web.

Pre-requisite: EL1101E or GEK1011
Ismail TALIB

This module will introduce students to some of the basic ideas in cinema analysis that have a relationship with some of the concepts of linguistics and discourse analysis. The students will be exposed to a critical assessment of some of the early associations of cinema with linguistics. They will then learn about the approach to cinema as discourse, and of its relationship to the analysis of linguistic discourse. It is hoped that eventually, students will not only attain a better understanding of cinematic discourse, but also, of the concept of discourse in general.

Pre-requisite: EL1101E or GEK1011
Preclusion: EL3880B
Mie HIRAMOTO

This course is about understanding language through the vehicle of humour. It is often the case that people assume the meanings of jokes, cartoons, and comedies based on their knowledge. This course will introduce students to understanding the various types of humour through sociolinguistics and cognitive science approaches. By looking at different examples, this course highlights the fact that ‘getting’ humour actually takes quite sophisticated yet tacit linguistic knowledge in speakers’ grammatical and communicative routines.

Pre-requisite: EL1101E or GEK1011, and EL2251 or EL2151
Michael ERLEWINE

The goal of this module is to develop a concrete, compositional mapping between the syntactic structure of linguistic expressions and their interpreted meanings, based primarily on the study of English data. Emphasis will be placed on precise, formal descriptions of meanings as truth conditions and their computation. The contribution of the conversational context will also be discussed. Basic knowledge of English syntactic structure will be assumed.

Pre-requisite:
Cohort 2012-2014: Completed 80 MCs, including 28 MCs in EL and EL3201, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the Honours track.
Cohort 2015 onwards: Completed 80 MCs, including (i) 28 MCs in EL or 28 MCs in PH, and (ii) EL3201, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the honours track. PH students who believe they have sufficient background knowledge for the module should consult the lecturer for permission to take it.
Peter TAN

This module focuses on how the phenomenon of discourse might be analysed and will consider how a number of frameworks can be used in a complementary fashion to give a fuller description of discourse. These include the frameworks of register and genre; speech-act theory; co-operation; face and politeness; exchange structure and conversation analysis. This module is appropriate for students reading or intending to read Honours in English Language.

Pre-requisite:
Completed 80 MCs, including 28 MCs in EL, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the Honours track.
Joseph PARK

Metapragmatics is the study of the reflexive character of language, or how language use that refers back to language use serves as a crucial foundation for the constitution of language. As an advanced introduction to the field of metapragmatics, this module offers students key tools for metapragmatic analysis and an understanding of the significance of language ideology for the investigation of linguistic phenomena. Through discussion of classical and current research on language ideology, it explores how metapragmatics shapes language structure and use and serves as the basis for the politics of language in everyday life.

Pre-requisite:
Completed 80 MCs, including 28 MCs in EL, and EL2151, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the Honours track.

Modular credits: 15      

The Honours Thesis is usually done in the final semester of a student’s pursuing an Honours degree. Students intending to read this module are expected to consult prospective supervisors the semester before they read this module and provide a research proposal. A wide range of topics is acceptable provided it highlights a language issue.

Pre-requisite:
Cohort 2012 and before: Completed 110 MCs, including 60 MCs of EL major requirements with a minimum CAP of 3.50.
Cohort 2013-2015: Completed 110 MCs including 60 MCs of EL major requirements with a minimum SJAP of 4.00 and CAP of 3.50, or with recommendation by the programme committee. Students may seek a waiver of the SJAP pre-requisite from the department if they have a minimum CAP of 4.25 after completing 110 MCs.
Cohort 2016 onwards: Completed 110 MCs including 44 MCs of EL major requirements with a minimum SJAP of 4.00 and CAP of 3.50, or with recommendation by the programme committee. Students may seek a waiver of the SJAP pre-requisite from the department if they have a minimum CAP of 4.25 after completing 110 MCs.
Preclusion: EL4660
Note: Please register EL4401 manually with the Department.
Documents containing important information on EL4401 should be downloaded from “Documents and Forms.
The Independent Study Module is designed to enable the student to explore in depth an approved topic within the discipline . The student should approach a lecturer to work out an agreed topic, readings, and assignments for the module. A formal, written agreement is to be drawn up, giving a clear account of the topic, programme of study, assignments, evaluation, and other pertinent details. The Head’s and/or Honours Coordinator’s approval of the written agreement is required. Regular meetings and reports are expected. Evaluation is based on 100% Continuous Assessment and must be worked out between the student and the lecturer prior to seeking departmental approval.

Pre-requisite:
Cohort 2012-2015: Completed 100 MCs, including 60 MCs in EL, with a minimum CAP of 3.20.
Cohort 2016 onwards: Completed 100 MCs, including 44 MCs in EL, with a minimum CAP of 3.20.
Preclusion: EL4401 or XFA4404
Note: Please register EL4660 manually with the Department.
Documents containing important information on EL4660 should be downloaded from “Documents and Forms.”
Justina ONG

This module explores current research in second language writing and encompasses the investigation of both processes and products of writing. The module will draw on theories principally developed from first language research. The topics addressed will include theories in writing, composing processes (planning, transcribing, and revising), methodology of writing research (concurrent think-aloud and retrospection), written text features (textual and grammatical), assessment of writing (holistic and analytical rubrics), and characteristics of writers.

Pre-requisite:
Completed 80 MCs, including 28 MCs in EL, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the Honours track.
Preclusion: EL5880B, EL5880BR
Leslie LEE

Fundamental importance is assigned to speakers’ introspective judgments of sentence acceptability in syntactic research. However, such judgments can be gravely compromised by instability of different kinds, which calls into question the empirical reliability of such data. In this module, students will learn objective and practical methods by which they may collect and analyse acceptability judgments. We will discuss experimental design, data visualisation, statistical analysis, and the application of experimental methods to theoretical questions. This will be a hands-on course, and students will be expected to lead discussions on primary research.

Pre-requisite:
Completed 80 MCs, including (i) 28 MCs in EL, and (ii) EL3201 or with instructor's consent, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the Honours track.
Michael ERLEWINE

This module aims to ground graduate students in a solid conceptual, analytical, and empirical foundation for doing research in syntax and semantics. It examines a range of core empirical phenomena that have been important in the development of modern linguistic theory and that remain central to current linguistic frameworks (e.g. passive, infinitival constructions, relative clauses, wh-constructions, binding, etc.). Core theoretical notions to be covered include: phrase structure, grammatical relations, subcategorization, and lexical entries.
BAO Zhiming

The module covers the foundational knowledge of the sound pattern of human language. Major topics include how speech sounds are made and transmitted, and how they pattern, drawing data primarily from English and other familiar languages. Students will learn the conceptual tools and technical skills in the analysis of speech data.
Joseph PARK

This module surveys major approaches and current issues relevant to the study of language in society. It aims to familiarise students with a range of theoretical and conceptual frameworks they may refer to in addressing sociolinguistic questions across a variety of sites and to provide general principles that they may consider when engaged in the study of language in social context. For this purpose, it will critically discuss classical and contemporary research to explore the historical background, prevailing assumptions, methodological perspectives, and analytic strengths of different approaches to language in society, and consider recent developments in the field.

Preclusion: EL5250
Justina ONG

This module will explore approaches to analysing both written and spoken discourses. Students will learn the analytical tools used to describe features of both modes of discourses. They will be encouraged to explore current research in discourse analysis. There may be a specific focus on particular kinds of discourse (classroom, computer-mediated, media, legal, political, etc.), depending on the expertise and interest of the lecturer. Students will be encouraged to collect and analyse their own data for the assignment.
Independent research plays an important role in graduate education. The Independent Study Module is designed to enable the student to explore in depth an approved topic in English Language. The student should approach a lecturer to work out an agreed topic, readings, and assignments for the module. A formal, written agreement is to be drawn up, giving a clear account of the topic, programme of study, assignments, evaluation, and other pertinent details. The Head’s and/or Graduate Coordinator’s approval of the written agreement is required. Regular meetings and reports are expected. Evaluation is based on 100% Continuous Assessment and must be worked out between the student and the lecturer prior to seeking departmental approval.

Note:
(1) Word limit: 5,000 – 6,000 words. (2) Workload: Minimum 10 hours per week. The precise breakdown of contact hours, assignment and preparation is to be worked out between the lecturer and the student, subject to Departmental approval.
Independent research plays an important role in graduate education. The Independent Study Module is designed to enable the student to explore in depth an approved topic in Language Study. The student should approach a lecturer to work out an agreed topic, readings, and assignments for the module. The Head’s and/or Graduate Coordinator’s approval is required. Regular meetings and reports are expected. Evaluation is based on 100% Continuous Assessment and must be worked out between the student and the lecturer prior to seeking departmental approval.

Note:
(1) Word limit: 7,000 – 8,000 words. (2) Workload: Minimum 10 hours per week. The precise breakdown of contact hours, assignment and preparation is to be worked out between the lecturer and the student, subject to Departmental approval.

BAO Zhiming

This is a required module for all research Masters and Ph.D. students admitted from AY2004/05. The module provides a forum for students and faculty to share their research and to engage one another critically in discussion of their current research projects. The module will include presentations by faculty on research ethics and dissertation writing. Each student is required to present a formal research paper. Active participation in all research presentations is expected. The module may be spread over two semesters and will be graded “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory” on the basis of student presentation and participation.

Modules offered in AY2019/2020 Semester 2

Leslie LEE

This introductory overview of linguistics aims at equipping students with a solid foundation in the object, methods and goals of the science of spoken language, the prime tool of human communication. Through a principled analysis of patterns of sound, form and meaning at the levels of word, sentence and text, students will gain insight into what it means to say that language is a rule-governed system and an organic whole. The results of this exploration will be useful to those interested in the relationship between language and mind, society and culture.

Pre-requisite: Exempted from NUS Qualifying English Test, or passed NUS Qualifying English Test, or exempted from further CELC Remedial English modules.
Preclusion: GEK1011
Cross-listing: GEK1011
Leslie LEE

This module explores language structure, in particular, patterns of sentence structure (syntax) and of meaning (semantics) in English. Concepts to be discussed include: grammatical categories, grammatical functions, semantic relations, and their hierarchical composition in sentences; various other syntactic and semantic notions; and the relationship between grammar and meaning. A key feature of the module is its emphasis on the evidence and argumentation that bears upon the representation of structure and principles of grammar that we postulate. The module provides the foundation for the study of advanced modules in syntax and semantics.

Pre-requisite: EL1101E or GEK1011
Preclusion: EL2201
Peter TAN

The module aims to introduce how language change can take place orthographically, phonologically, grammatically and lexically. These changes do not take place at random but can be usefully accounted for by considering the socio-cultural contexts of use. The major topics covered include the history of English in Britain, English in North America and the New Englishes including Singaporean English. This module is suitable for students intending to read English Language as a major, as well as other interested students.

Pre-requisite: EL1101E or GEK1011
Preclusion: EL2211
Rebecca STARR

This module explores the cognitive underpinnings and social consequences of bilingualism and multilingualism. Students will become familiar with multiple approaches to the study of bilingualism and investigate major questions such as how children acquire multiple languages, how those languages are stored in the brain, and how bilinguals use language in socially meaningful ways. Topics covered include bilingual acquisition, cognitive consequences of bilingualism, language mixing, and bilingual education.

Pre-requisite: EL1101E or GEK1011
BAO Zhiming

It is generally assumed that language, culture, and our way of thinking are related. The relation, which is often called the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis or linguistic relativity, has been the subject of serious philosophical, anthropological and scientific inquiry. Taking advantage of the extensive bilingualism in Singapore, this module selects a few salient grammatical features and critically examines them within the broader cultural and/or cognitive contexts. Topics to be discussed include pluralisation, classifier, tense and aspect, kinship, polysemy, metaphor and bilingual acquisition. Issues related to translation will also be discussed.

Pre-requisite: EL1101E or GEK1011. Exposure to some linguistics is helpful but not essential.
Nala LEE

Language documentation is a rapidly growing subfield in linguistics. It is concerned with the creation of language records that can be used for multiple purposes, the preservation of such records, and the products that can be built from these records, such as dictionaries, corpora and grammars. This module is an introduction to the subfield. It explores the need for language documentation as a reaction to language endangerment, and presents the history, theory and methods of modern day language documentation.

Pre-requisite: EL1101E or GEK1011
NG E-Ching

This module explores the sound systems of human language. We will study the distribution and alternation of speech sounds. Topics include distinctive features, syllable structure, stress, and tone/intonation. Coursework will emphasise problem-solving skills and critical understanding.

Pre-requisite: EL1101E and EL2102
Preclusion: EL3202
NG E-Ching

The field of phonetics includes the study of how speech sounds are produced, how they may be acoustically characterized, and how they are processed by listeners. This module will explore these three major areas of research, as well as introduce key areas in which phonetics intersects with other disciplines, e.g. phonology, language acquisition, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, and speech-language pathology. Students will become familiar with the major instruments, software tools and statistical methods used in modern phonetics research, and gain experience in carrying out independent data collection, transcription, and acoustic analysis.

Pre-requisite: EL2202 or EL2102
Preclusion: EL3202
Joseph PARK

This module explores the relationship between language and identity, focusing on how linguistic difference is not a reflection of one’s inner essence but a means of constructing who we are in social context. Based on current research in sociolinguistics, it will discuss why ideological and discursive processes of identity construction are central to our social life. It will also introduce conceptual tools for analysing identity work in everyday discourse, using them to explore several theoretical and real-world issues in which the question of identity figures prominently.

Pre-requisite: EL2151 or EL2251
Michelle LAZAR

The module aims to encourage a critical understanding of the significant role the media play in shaping our beliefs, values, and identities in contemporary social life. Topics covered: key social, cultural and political issues pertaining to texts and practices of specific types of media. These issues will be approached from an interdisciplinary perspective that brings together media, cultural, and discourse studies. Target students: those with a keen interest in the media, and who are open to interdisciplinary study.

Pre-requisite:
EL1101E or GEK1011
Vincent OOI

With special reference to English in multilingual and multicultural settings, this module introduces students to the study of words from both lexicological (theory) and lexicographical (practice) perspectives. It aims to equip participants with a critical awareness of the notion of the word and its attendant sources of evidence, the organisation of the mental lexicon, and the publication of words in the form of print, online and standalone electronic dictionaries.

Pre-requisite:
Completed 80 MCs, including 28 MCs in EL, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the Honours track.
Peter TAN

This module highlights one way in which the disciplines within the Department (theatre, literary studies and linguistics) can be brought together in the enterprise to come to terms with dramatic discourse. The module will focus on the analysis of dramatic discourse, so that evidenced interpretations of dramatic passages may be provided. Students will be introduced to a number of frameworks, especially those used to deal with discourse such as speech-act theory, the co-operative principle, face and politeness, cognitive and critical discourse approaches. Key topics in stylistics such as foregrounding and reader response will also receive coverage.

Pre-requisite:
Completed 80 MCs including 28 MCs in EL or 28 MCs in TS, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the Honours track.
Lionel WEE

This module provides an overview of key social theories that explore the nature of language and its social foundations. Through an examination of how language occupies a central position in contemporary social theory, it considers how such insight may be incorporated into the study of language in social context. In particular, it explores how different social theories may offer varying perspectives on the socially embedded nature of language, linguistic constitution of social relations, and language as power.

Pre-requisite: Completed 80 MCs, including 28 MCs in EL, and EL2251 or EL2151, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the Honours track.
Modular credits: 15      

The Honours Thesis is usually done in the final semester of a student’s pursuing an Honours degree. Students intending to read this module are expected to consult prospective supervisors the semester before they read this module and provide a research proposal. A wide range of topics is acceptable provided it highlights a language issue.

Pre-requisite:
Cohort 2012 and before: Completed 110 MCs, including 60 MCs of EL major requirements with a minimum CAP of 3.50.
Cohort 2013-2015: Completed 110 MCs including 60 MCs of EL major requirements with a minimum SJAP of 4.00 and CAP of 3.50, or with recommendation by the programme committee. Students may seek a waiver of the SJAP pre-requisite from the department if they have a minimum CAP of 4.25 after completing 110 MCs.
Cohort 2016 onwards: Completed 110 MCs including 44 MCs of EL major requirements with a minimum SJAP of 4.00 and CAP of 3.50, or with recommendation by the programme committee. Students may seek a waiver of the SJAP pre-requisite from the department if they have a minimum CAP of 4.25 after completing 110 MCs.
Preclusion: EL4660
Note: Please register EL4401 manually with the Department.
Documents containing important information on EL4401 should be downloaded from “Documents and Forms.
The Independent Study Module is designed to enable the student to explore in depth an approved topic within the discipline . The student should approach a lecturer to work out an agreed topic, readings, and assignments for the module. A formal, written agreement is to be drawn up, giving a clear account of the topic, programme of study, assignments, evaluation, and other pertinent details. The Head’s and/or Honours Coordinator’s approval of the written agreement is required. Regular meetings and reports are expected. Evaluation is based on 100% Continuous Assessment and must be worked out between the student and the lecturer prior to seeking departmental approval.

Pre-requisite:
Cohort 2012-2015: Completed 100 MCs, including 60 MCs in EL, with a minimum CAP of 3.20.
Cohort 2016 onwards: Completed 100 MCs, including 44 MCs in EL, with a minimum CAP of 3.20.
Preclusion: EL4401 or XFA4404
Note: Please register EL4660 manually with the Department.
Documents containing important information on EL4660 should be downloaded from “Documents and Forms.”
BAO Zhiming

This module introduces students to the systematic analysis of the grammar of modern Standard English. We will examine common topics in the phonology, morphology and syntax of the English language. The effect of language contact on English will also be discussed. The module is descriptive in nature. Through examining the grammar of English, students will be exposed to important analytical concepts in corpus and theoretical linguistics.
Rebecca STARR

This module will familiarize students with the tools and methodologies of phonetic analysis and how these may be employed in the investigation of the relationship of language and society. The module will focus on acoustic analysis with additional units on articulatory and auditory phonetics, and cover both segmental features (vowels, consonants) and suprasegmental features (intonation, rhythm, voice quality). Students will collaborate on a group research project related to speech in Singapore.
Nala LEE

Typology and universals are concerned with how the pieces of languages are put together, what they contain, and how and why they interact and function as they do. Students acquire a broad overview of the grammatical make-up of languages and an understanding of an important approach in contemporary linguistics. Typology contributes to and draws on core areas of linguistics that students have studied.
Vincent OOI

This module takes an empirical approach to linguistic investigation: it bases claims largely on computer-aided analyses of electronic datasets that are either manually built with linguistic purposes in mind or those that are readily found on the Web. With special reference to English, relevant topics will be introduced to suit particular needs; the corpus‐linguistic methodology blends well with various linguistic levels, including grammar, lexis and discourse. This module does not assume any expert computing knowledge; while no computer programming will be introduced, participants will receive hands‐on training in the use of standard corpus‐linguistic programs.
Independent research plays an important role in graduate education. The Independent Study Module is designed to enable the student to explore in depth an approved topic in English Language. The student should approach a lecturer to work out an agreed topic, readings, and assignments for the module. A formal, written agreement is to be drawn up, giving a clear account of the topic, programme of study, assignments, evaluation, and other pertinent details. The Head’s and/or Graduate Coordinator’s approval of the written agreement is required. Regular meetings and reports are expected. Evaluation is based on 100% Continuous Assessment and must be worked out between the student and the lecturer prior to seeking departmental approval.

Note:
(1) Word limit: 5,000 – 6,000 words. (2) Workload: Minimum 10 hours per week. The precise breakdown of contact hours, assignment and preparation is to be worked out between the lecturer and the student, subject to Departmental approval.
Independent research plays an important role in graduate education. The Independent Study Module is designed to enable the student to explore in depth an approved topic in Language Study. The student should approach a lecturer to work out an agreed topic, readings, and assignments for the module. The Head’s and/or Graduate Coordinator’s approval is required. Regular meetings and reports are expected. Evaluation is based on 100% Continuous Assessment and must be worked out between the student and the lecturer prior to seeking departmental approval.

Note:
(1) Word limit: 7,000 – 8,000 words. (2) Workload: Minimum 10 hours per week. The precise breakdown of contact hours, assignment and preparation is to be worked out between the lecturer and the student, subject to Departmental approval.