Core Course
Semester 1
Course Code
Course Name
LANG 7110
Research Methodology

The course aims to prepare students to successfully engage in research in language studies, in particular to support dissertation writing later in the Programme and to lay the foundation for students’ research in their workplaces/future study programmes. The course deals with basic research skills such as identifying a researchable area of genuine interest, framing and understanding the purpose of research questions, accessing information, locating one's own work in the scholarly literature, collecting and analyzing language data, and producing written reports of research projects in acceptable formats. Students will be introduced to research in language studies and be encouraged to identify their own areas of interest. Attention will be drawn to current research methods and tools. Much of the teaching will be concerned with approaches to the collection, description, and analysis of data in the field of language studies.

Course Outline

LANG 7401
Introduction to the Study of Language: Part I

This two-semester course (LANG 7401-2) introduces students to five core components in linguistics: morphology, syntax, phonetics, phonology, and semantics. It will provide students with a solid grounding in fundamental concepts and methodologies of these five linguistic areas, which will enable them to tackle linguistic problems systematically and help them understand that despite superficial diversity, human languages share fundamental similarities in terms of the universal principles that govern their possible structures. This aim will be approached and achieved through exploring language data. Methods of formal analysis will be applied to data drawn from a variety of languages, with a focus on the analysis and comparison of English and Chinese. Systematic properties generalized from the analysis will be discussed in relation to their application to language teaching and other fields.

Course Outline

LANG 7510
Language in Society

This course aims to introduce learners to the way language is used in social interactions. It is also about defining a very broad field which includes recognizing how individuals use different language(s) in different situations, how language use varies in different towns or regions, how governments make decisions about what language is to be used in what particular situation and how language changes over time. We will look at what causes change in language. In particular, the course enables learners to identify and analyze questions of language use in Hong Kong in an up-to-date sociolinguistic framework. Learners will look to their own work contexts and living environments as starting points for their research.

Course Outline

Semester 2
Course Code
Course Name
LANG 7402
Introduction to the Study of Language: Part II

This two-semester course (LANG 7401-2) introduces students to five core components in linguistics: morphology, syntax, phonetics, phonology, and semantics. It will provide students with a solid grounding in fundamental concepts and methodologies of these five linguistic areas, which will enable them to tackle linguistic problems systematically and help them understand that despite superficial diversity, human languages share fundamental similarities in terms of the universal principles that govern their possible structures. This aim will be approached and achieved through exploring language data. Methods of formal analysis will be applied to data drawn from a variety of languages, with a focus on the analysis and comparison of English and Chinese. Systematic properties generalized from the analysis will be discussed in relation to their application to language teaching and other fields.

Course Outline

LANG 7610
Discourse Analysis

This course deals with language above sentence (text) and beyond sentence (meaning in context) as a social and interactive process. A range of techniques and approaches to the study of discourse will be introduced, including the essential concepts of pragmatics, genre analysis, text cohesion and generic structure, and functional analysis of clauses. The course will also examine applications of discourse analysis in cross-cultural (mainly Chinese and English) settings and in educational settings (i.e. teacher-student interaction in the classroom).

Course Outline

Elective Course
Course Code
Course Name
LANG 7390
Special Topic in Language Studies

Recent years have witnessed increasing momentum in the development of all fields in the study of language. This course intends to provide an open forum for the exchange of ideas and the exploration of other topics or fields which are relevant to the concerns of the MA in Language Studies Programme. It is reserved as a slot for new and welcome input which may not have been considered in the current syllabuses of the Programme and which, therefore, may go beyond the scope of materials already offered. Intended learning outcomes, Teaching and learning activities, methods of assessment, textbook/required readings are to be determined by the instructor, in consultation with the Programme Director.

LANG 7530
Language Curriculum

The major aims of this course are to help students understand the principles and practices in methods, course design and assessment in language teaching; to examine and critically analyze these principles and practices at different levels of language education with special reference to the curriculum and context of Hong Kong; and to enable students to develop suitable methods, syllabuses, materials and assessment techniques for the contexts that are of immediate concern to them.

Course Outline

LANG 7550
English as a World Language

The course aims at helping students to acquire a new perspective on the English language in its totality -- not as the language of a few traditional English-speaking countries but as a de facto world language, with several ‘old’ and ‘new’ varieties which exhibit their own linguistic features and functions, and to enable students to analyze the linguistic as well as social, political, cultural and educational issues arising from the emergence of English as a world language.

Course Outline

LANG 7570
Language and Education

This course aims to examine the varied relationships between language and education. It helps to explore the role that education plays in learning language, particularly in learning a second language. It develops an understanding of the characteristics of language learning in natural and educational settings and discusses issues relating to education in language classrooms.

Course Outline

LANG 7580
Language Development

This course aims to deal with both first and second language acquisition, with the emphasis being on the latter. Theories of first and second language acquisition are introduced with the aim of providing students with the tools to evaluate theories in light of research and their own experience. Specific problems and important patterns of first and second language acquisition processes are compared and discussed against the background of the introduced theories. Students will have practice analyzing real language data. Emphasis will also be placed on the impact of individual differences in second language acquisition.

Course Outline

LANG 7590
Advanced Topics in Discourse Studies

The course aims to introduce students to an in-depth study of a particular theoretical framework or issue in the area of discourse studies. The selected topic may vary from time to time, with a focus either on a theory/framework (for example, intercultural/ cross-linguistic/interlanguage pragmatics, conversation analysis, gender and discourse) or on an issue (for example, business discourse, classroom discourse, mediated discourse). Regardless of the approach or issue selected, students will be encouraged to compare and criticize the alternative approaches to the study of discourse, to collect and analyze authentic discourse data against different frameworks, and to apply the theory/framework to facilitate effective interpersonal or intercultural communication whenever possible.

Course Outline

LANG 7600
Comparative Studies of English and Chinese Grammar

In this course, students will be introduced to the descriptive differences between Chinese and English from a typological perspective. By using a contrastive approach, the course aims to heighten students’ sensitivity to the specific grammatical properties of these two languages.

Course Outline

LANG 7630
Pragmatics in Language Learning and Teaching

The aims of the course are to enable students to study and analyze how language users find socially appropriate language for the contexts they encounter and what the rules of language use are; to raise their pragmatic awareness; and to explore ways to learn and teach pragmatic competence in English language classrooms, with particular reference to the Hong Kong context.

Course Outline

LANG 7640
Grammar of Modern English

The course aims to help students acquire a systematic and up-to-date knowledge of the grammar of modern English from a corpus-based, objective and descriptive point of view, with an added focus on its practical and pedagogic applications.

Course Outline

LANG 7650
Advanced Seminar in Language and Gender

The course offers an introduction to some of the major differences in the language of men and women, boys and girls; discusses possible causes and consequences of these differences and develops students’ research skills in language and gender. A wide range of current issues in the academic field of language and gender will be presented, and different approaches to analyzing the impact of gender in both spoken and written texts will be discussed. Cultural variation will also be in focus. The emphasis will be on developing the students’ awareness and critical thinking of gender in their own experiences of language use and learning, as well as applying their knowledge to educational contexts. Besides working on assigned materials, students will be asked to collect and analyze their own data, using the theoretical frameworks from the course.

Course Outline

LANG 7660
Linguistics and Liberal Thinking

This course aims to provide students with a clear conception on the thinking processes behind theorizing in language studies in relation to a number of real-life situations as well as to other disciplines in both the humanities and the sciences. Students will thus gain broad awareness of the tools and strategies that are useful academically and practically, especially in the area of teaching liberal studies in the Hong Kong secondary school classroom. The course will develop in the students a critical awareness on how to evaluate knowledge and beliefs, thus making it a foundational course in fostering independent thinking in language studies. Through this course, students should be able to see in a more informed and profound way the relevance of language studies to everyday life.

Course Outline

LANG 7680
Language, Politics, and Identity

This course aims to provide students with an overview of how language functions politically, including the construction of social and individual identity. It will examine not only the political and identity-related use of language, but also how the structure of languages themselves has been moulded by these uses and functions. The linguistic issues in Hong Kong and Greater China Region, as well as cultural issues arising from class discussions, will be focused on. These issues will also be discussed in comparison with the language use and cultures of various communities. As an area of study which is by nature interdisciplinary, this course will draw ideas from the fields of linguistics and English studies, as well as adjacent disciplines such as cultural studies, sociology and political science. On this basis, this course serves as a good platform for students to develop a critical awareness on the different academic approaches employed by, not only linguistics, but also various fields of knowledge.

Course Outline

LANG 7690
The Pronunciation of English

The course has two primary goals: (i) To study the sound system and pronunciation features of English, both segmental and suprasegmental, based on internationally accepted models (such as Received Pronunciation); (ii) To discuss and evaluate theoretical and pedagogical approaches to the acquisition and teaching of English pronunciation in an ESL/EFL context (such as Hong Kong). A secondary goal is to raise the students’ awareness of their own pronunciation and the potential for improvement.

Course Outline