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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3233 Forensic Approaches to Language

20 creditsClass Size: 40

For full module descriptions of our level 2 and 3 undergraduate modules (including details of preparatory reading, texts for purchase and required unassessed work) please see the Undergraduate Module Handbook in the English Organisation on the VLE.

Visiting and Exchange Students must read this information before selecting modules.

Module manager: Dr Alison Johnson
Email: a.j.johnson@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students wishing to take this module must have passed an introduction to language study in the School of English or another department (such modules include ‘English Structure and Style’, ‘Analysing English’, ‘English: Context, Culture & Style’, a Level 1 module in Linguistics and Phonetics, or similar modules in other departments in Modern Languages.) If you do not meet this requirement, but do have a Grade A in English Language A-level, and you wish to take this module, you must consult the module tutor, as should any student who is uncertain whether they meet the pre-requisite requirements.

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module introduces students to a new and emerging field of language study: forensic linguistics. This is an applied and multidisciplinary field focusing on language use in legal settings: courtrooms, police interview rooms, and legal documents. Talk and writing are key modes of communication and record in this specialised institutional setting; thus the study of language in these contexts involves the examination of a variety of linguistic processes and practices. The interaction between language and the law has received growing scholarly and public interest in the last two decades. The module looks at the way legal systems use language and both construct and are constructed by individuals within the institution. It explores ways in which institutional and lay participants use, respond to and are constrained by language, and looks at the ways that scholars of language have approached the legal analysis of texts and talk as investigators, critics, experts and observers.

Objectives

By the end of the module students will be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of a range of aspects of institutional language use in a selected area of the legal process and understand the role of language as an investigative tool in the study of written and spoken language in legal contexts.

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 manage quantities of complex information in a structured and systematic way;
- the capacity for 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;
- the ability to learn independently.

Skills outcomes
- Skills for effective communication, oral and written.
- Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
- Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way.
- Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
- Critical reasoning.
- Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
- IT skills.
- Time management and organisational skills.
- Independent learning.


Syllabus

This module introduces students to a new and emerging field of language study: forensic linguistics. This is an applied and multidisciplinary field focusing on language use in legal settings: courtrooms, police interview rooms, and legal documents. Talk and writing are key modes of communication and record in this specialised institutional setting; thus the study of language in these contexts involves the examination of a variety of linguistic processes and practices. The interaction between language and the law has received growing scholarly and public interest in the last two decades. The module looks at the way legal systems use language and both construct and are constructed by individuals within the institution. It explores ways in which institutional and lay participants use, respond to and are constrained by language, and looks at the ways that scholars of language have approached the legal analysis of texts and talk as investigators, critics, experts and observers.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Lectures51.005.00
Seminar101.0010.00
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Seminar preparation, reading, assignment writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Contribution to seminars
- Feedback on 1700 word assignment

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Assignment1,700 words (including quotations but not data)).33.30
Assignment2,750 words (including quotations but not data). This essay is a piece of independent research on a forensic linguistic topic negotiated with the module tutor.66.70
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019

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