ML3LP-Language and Power

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2015/6

Module Convenor: Dr Federico Faloppa


Summary module description:
This module aims to familiarise students with the linguistic means by which a whole range of persuasive texts can be analysed. We will also be considering the use of language (and of a language in general) as a powerful tool in itself. We will investigate a range of discourse types and theoretical approaches including but not restricted to analysis of: literary and non-literary texts, advertising, journalistic and political texts, consideration of stylistic and rhetorical features, examination of linguistic creativity and language “play”, techniques for revealing a text’s underlying ideological stance and bias, sociolinguistic examination of power relationships and the effect this has on language.

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

- analyse linguistically and stylistically a wide range of discourse types and literary genres from different periods and varieties, with a particular focus on XIX-XX century material;
- understand the power of language to move the emotions and to inspire an aesthetic response;
- gain an understanding of concepts of stylistic and rhetoric;
- be able to critically explore issues of manipulation, bias, ideology and power;
- analyse everyday conversational strategies;
- acquire a meta-linguistic awareness and vocabulary.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students will have developed:

- the ability to use written and oral communication effectively
- the capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse
- the ability to de-construct mainstream discoursive frameworks
- the ability to manage complex information in a structured and systematic way
- the capacity of independent thought and judgement
- critical reasoning
- research skills, including the retrieval of information, the organisation of material and the evaluation of its importance
- IT skills
- efficient time management and organisation skills

Additional outcomes:
The module also encourages students to:

- develop skills for effective communication, oral and written
- acquire the ability to analyse and critically examine diverse form of discourse
- develop the ability to acquire complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way
- develop the capacity for independent thought
- acquire meta-linguistic awareness (useful for learning and approaching languages in general)
- develop research and writing skills (useful in preparation for their dissertation)
- develop their oral presentation and discussion skills and their effectiveness in group situations
- improve their grasp of language, its structures, its varieties
- develop their IT skills by conducting OPAC and other web searches for material relevant to the module, and by being required to submit word-processed projects
- develop their problem-solving abilities (by doing specific exercises and class tests)
- make good use of appropriate reference materials (in preparation for their dissertation)

Outline content:
During the Autumn term, lessons will be devoted to examining a range of discourse types in order to understand the power of language to move the emotions and to inspire an aesthetic response. Concepts of style and rhetoric will be discussed, and issues of linguistic creativity and language play in both literary and non-literary texts explored; during the Spring term, we shall also be exploring issues of manipulation, bias, ideology in discourse and advertising, journalistic and political oratory. A broader sociolinguistic and discourse analysis perspective will underpin discussions of power relationship in social interactions.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will be taught through a combination of formal lectures (first term), seminars and presentations (second term), for which students will carry out preparatory reading. Seminars will be delivered in a structured group discussion.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 15 10
Project Supervision 5
Fieldwork 10
Work-based learning 85 65
Placement 10
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Project output other than dissertation 35
Oral assessment and presentation 15

Other information on summative assessment:
Assessment will comprise a group presentation (worth 15%) in the Autumn Term, and a 2000-2500 word project (worth 35%) and a final 2-hour exam (worth 50%) in the Spring Term. The overall assessment mark will be subject to scrutiny by a second internal examiner and by the external examiner where relevant.

Formative assessment methods:
All students will be asked to contribute to class discussion and the “Language and Power” Blog on wordpress.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    2 hours

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Reassessment in August, in the event of failure in this module and of failure in the degree as a whole. Coursework for reassessment must be resubmitted by 1PM on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed on the third Friday of August, at 1PM on the next working day thereafter.

    Last updated: 11 March 2015

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