SLL10050 Languages, Nations, Cultures

Academic Year 2020/2021

This is an introductory module which looks at questions of national and cultural identity and the relationship of these concepts to language(s). It is a core module for students of International Modern Languages, encouraging them to critically evaluate the idea that individual nations are defined by a national language and culture and to understand modern languages as an academic discipline that operates across and between linguistic, national and cultural boundaries.

The module introduces students to the historical concepts of ‘nation’ and ‘state’ and it asks how these concepts are being used today. It looks at how some languages became associated with nation states and came to be understood as ‘standard’ and it explores languages as ‘social constructs’ that can and, typically, do co-exist within any one society. Finally, the module investigates what is meant by ‘culture’ and what this has to do with a sense of belonging. In this way, it aims to introduce students to the academic discipline of modern languages, in which the criticism of cultural production complements foreign language acquisition.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this module, students will:
Demonstrate a basic understanding of key concepts such as ‘nation’, ‘state’ ‘nation-state’ ‘culture’ and ‘cultural nationalism’.
Be able to identify and describe simple examples of cultural nationalism in a variety of contemporary media and critically evaluate them.
Demonstrate a critical awareness of language(s) and of belonging as social constructs.
Outline key historical processes which led only some languages to achieve the status of national standards
Demonstrate an ability to independently research cultural and linguistic examples relevant to the course material, in English and/or other languages in which they are proficient.
Demonstrate an ability to explain and evaluate examples in clear written and spoken English.

Indicative Module Content:

In this module students will reflect on the relationship between language and identity and explore some examples of standard and non-standard European languages. They will discuss key ideas relating to the concepts of nation, state and culture in selected writings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By conducting independent research using online and print sources students will explore the status and role of regional and national languages spoken in European countries. A variety of media sources will be critically evaluated in relation to concepts of nation and nationalism. Examples of cultural practice, such as museums, monuments, material culture or commemorations, will be discussed with regard to questions of belonging.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
For the academic year 20-21, this module will in a mixture of face-to-face classes on campus and online classes. Both face-to-face- and online classes be delivered mostly online are directed by the university timetable.
In the first 5 weeks, there will be one face-to-face session and one online session per week. After that, the teaching will be predominantly online.
There will be two classes per week. One of these classes will introduce theoretical, contextual and conceptual information will be introduced in a series of interactive lectures. These ideas will be explored further in small-group discussions of texts prepared at home, either in the live virtual, or through contributions to discussion boards. Students will co-operate in small groups to collate and present information and will complete independent reflective and critical writing assignments.
Students who are unable to attend physical classes on campus will be supported in their engagement with the material online and will not be penalised or disadvantaged. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: End of module written assignment. Week 12 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Regular journal entries Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Written reflective assignment ca. 800-1000 words submitted in week 5. Week 5 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

In the first weeks of the module students will complete an initial, formative piece of writing on which they will be given feedback. They will have the opportunity to build on this when submitting their reflective assignment in week 5. Individual and group feedback will be provided on assignment one. This will support students in developing their research and writing skills before completing the end of module assignment. Individual feedback will be given on journal entries over the course of the module. This will help students to prepare for the end of module assignment.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Paolo Acquaviva Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Siobhan Donovan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Stephan Ehrig Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Gillian Pye Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Sabine Strumper-Krobb Lecturer / Co-Lecturer