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:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Federico Faloppa


Type of module:

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, and we will for instance look at stylistic and rhetorical features, linguistic creativity and language “play”, techniques for revealing a text’s underlying ideological stance and bias, power relationships and their effect 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 XX-XXI 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. Students may also undertake an academic placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 12 10
Seminars 3
Project Supervision 5
Work-based learning 90 80
Total hours by term 105 95
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 40
Project output other than dissertation 45
Oral assessment and presentation 15

Summative assessment- Examinations:
2 hours

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Assessment will comprise a report/oral presentation/academic poster (worth 15%) in the Autumn Term, a 2500 word project (worth 45%; options alternative to the written project can be discussed with the lecturer) and a final 2-hour exam (worth 40%) 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.

One piece of assessment worth no more than 50% of the module mark can be replaced by a report produced after an academic placement. The placement must be agreed in advance by the module convenor; the length of the report is to be equivalent to standard departmental practice for coursework. 

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:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re- examination in August in the event of failure in this module and in the degree as a whole. Coursework bearing a confirmed mark of 40% or more can be carried forward; all other coursework to be resubmitted by 12 NOON on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed, by 12 NOON on the first working day thereafter.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 8 April 2019


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