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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LING2370 Representation, Identity and Control

20 creditsClass Size: 18

Module manager: Dr Bethan Davies

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students are required to have completed one of the following modules, or equivalent:
- MODL1060 Language: Structure and Sound
- MODL1401 Discourse, Culture and Identity
- LING1100 Language: Meaning and Use
Students who have not completed MODL1060 Language: Structure and Sound or LING1100 Language: Meaning and Use should be prepared to do some additional reading to familiarise themselves with linguistic concepts built on in this module. Genetti’s How languages work: An introduction to language and linguistics (Cambridge University Press, 2014) is a good starting point.

This module is mutually exclusive with

LING3220Representation, Identity and Control

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The central theme of this module is the interactions between language choice and the power of the text and/or participants. This is investigated via three avenues: representation of events using language (media language, political language, advertising); control within talk (questions, interruptions); and ideologies of language and identity social class and ethnicity). The emphasis in this module is on the practical analysis of (English) texts, using the linguistic tools and terminology introduced in the lectures. Students are encouraged to participate in critical analyses in the classroom, and also start to see the connections between the linguistic tools, linguistic analyses and social analyses. Students are expected to have been introduced to linguistic analysis on a Level 1 module in linguistics, English or modern languages before enrolling on this module. For exchange students and non-native speakers, please be aware that this module will involve analyzing texts that implicitly draw on cultural knowledge specific to the UK. Because of the level of linguistic analysis required, non-native speakers should categorise themselves as at least level B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.


Throughout this module, the student will be encouraged in their critical awareness of language, and their ability to use the linguistic tools learnt to evaluate particular instances of language use in a variety of different data-types. The aim of this module is to equip students to be more critical consumers of the language that surrounds them, by familiarising them with:
(1) linguistic tools used to manipulate the representation of events, and the creation of a 'common sense' viewpoint
(2) the distinction between 'power in' and 'power behind' a text
(3) linguistic tools used to control other interactants' input to a conversation
(4) the way in which an individual's use (or perceived use) of language can be used to place them in the 'social order'

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
(1) provide a competent analysis of a text from a critical discourse analytic standpoint, demonstrating sound knowledge of the basic linguistic devices and discourse management techniques relevant to that text
(2) discuss a range of linguistic choices available to authors when constructing a text and show an awareness of the impact those choices can have
(3) show a sound understanding of the basic issues behind text production and consumption
(4) understand the way in which an individual's speaking rights may be affected by the social context that they are in and why this can be important from a language and power perspective
(5) understand the concept of language ideological debates and the kinds of contexts in which they are relevant


This module consists of a combination of lectures and practical classes/seminars. Its central theme is language and power and, in particular, how linguists can use their technical knowledge to unpack how these power relationships are constructed in different social contexts. These concepts will be used within a model of Critical Discourse Analysis using a predominantly qualitative approach to data. The first part of the module focuses on the linguistic tools required by the analyst, such as transitivity, modality, implicature, presupposition and naming strategies. Secondly, we look at the production and consumption of texts and the impact that can have on the ‘power behind the text’ as well as the ‘power in the text’. This focuses primarily on the genres of news, politics and advertising as these texts are subject to complex editorial processes, involving the foregrounding and backgrounding of particular information and particular voices in society. Thirdly, we consider the management of language and power within interactional institutional contexts. Who has speaking rights in courtrooms and classrooms? Who gets to choose the topics in an interview context. How does the right to ask questions or interrupt another speaker contribute to linguistic control? Finally, the focus shifts to ideologies of language use and language users, considering such issues as ethnicity, class and the standard language debate.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students can expect to spend about 5 hours preparing for and consolidating their learning from each lecture session. This will take the form of preparing data and suggested/independent reading. Each seminar will have a task for students to prepare in advance. The time needed will vary according to the particular task, but will take 1-3 hours.
The two assignments will require about 80 hours of independent work. This will include independent reading of the literature and the identification of appropriate texts for analysis alongside the time needed for planning and writing.
The compulsory presentation should involve 8-10 hours of preparation. You need to allow time for the selection and discussion of texts within your group, the preparation of your part of the presentation plus time to assemble the presentation and practise its delivery as a group.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress is monitored through seminar contributions and participation in whole class teaching. Feedback on the essay is provided prior to the submission of the critical discourse analysis. The group presentation is designed to enable students to practise and gain feedback on the format of the latter. The presentation is compulsory: students do not receive a numerical mark for it, but cannot pass the module without completing it.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1500-word essay30.00
Report2,500-word analysis report ('critical discourse analysis')70.00
Group Project15-minute presentation0.00
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: 10/08/2020 08:41:34


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