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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

EDUC5934M Analysing Language

15 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Dr Richard Badger

Taught: 01 Oct to 30 Nov View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is mutually exclusive with

EDUC5902MInvestigating Language for TESOL

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

The module will cover the analysis of spoken and written texts at the levels of discourse, syntax, lexis and phonology, as relevant to the teaching of English as an additional or foreign language. We will analyse spoken and written texts through the frameworks provided by register and genre analysis, discourse analysis, speech act and politeness theories. We will consider how these notions relate to second language learning and materials design; it should be noted that the module is analytical in focus and does not extend to teaching methodology.


By the end of the module students will be able to:

- Discuss the relevance of language description and analysis to TESOL;
- Describe features of naturally-occurring English, and appreciate the differences that can be found between this and invented texts;
- Carry out basic analyses of samples of naturally-occurring spoken and written English for discourse, syntax, lexis, and phonology (spoken texts);
- Describe key concepts from pragmatics, discourse analysis, and genre and register, as relevant to TESOL;
- Apply their analytical skills to a range of text types including ELT materials and naturally-occurring texts, and texts from within and outside the language classroom;

Learning outcomes
By the end of the module, students will have a working knowledge of the following:

- Key aspects of speech act theory (e.g. locutionary/ illocutionary/ perlocutionary acts)
- Key aspects of politeness theory
- Clause relations in written discourse
- Macro patterns in written discourse
- Key characteristics of spoken English
- Pattern grammar
- Lexical relations
- The idiom principle and collocation
- Swales' genre theory
- Halliday's view of register
- Sounds, stress and intonation

Skills outcomes
Language analysis


Indicative content

Overview of the four levels of language; phonology
This session will introduce the four level structure of language as phonology, lexis, grammar and discourse. We will discuss interaction between these levels, which levels are problematic for learners, and which have received focus in the language classroom. This session then overviews the phonological characteristics of English, using the traditional division into sounds, stress and intonation.

We discuss paradigmatic lexical relations, and their realisations in text and the mental lexicon. We look at collocation and idiom in text.

We analyse sentences using a basic Quirk model of grammar; we then discuss pattern grammar. We consider the simplified versions of grammar presented in TESOL materials, and the advantages and disadvantages of each for various purposes.

We consider the social purposes of language, and seeing language as semantics or pragmatics. We analyse texts using relevant aspects of speech act theory and politeness theory.

We look at how spoken discourse varies from written text, and at structural aspects of spoken discourse such as Labov's narrative structure, and units of conversation analysis. We consider written discourse in terms of macro level text structure and clause relations.

Genre and register
Students are introduced to the Swales notion of genre, and the Hallidayan version of register. We draw on the models presented during the previous five sessions to produce genre and register descriptions of various texts.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours50.00
Private study hours89.50
Total Contact hours10.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Independent online learning:
- Pre-seminar viewing of recorded lectures: 5 hours
- Study group tasks and pre-reading: 9 hours per week x 5: 45 hours

Private study
Reading and preparation for assignment: 89.5 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

In-class: monitoring of performance on session tasks, concept questioning, learner-led session summaries
Out-of-class: performance on structured post-session reading tasks checked at beginning of following session

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentThe assignment will consist of four language analysis tasks (from a choice of six), covering different aspects of language covered on the module (3000 words or equivalent)100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The whole group lecture will introduce the core knowledge for each topic, and will include short tasks to be carried out in pairs and checked as a whole class. After week 1, students will be asked to read follow-up materials relating to each lecture topic, to consolidate and situate within the relevant body of theory the models discussed in class. This will also help the students to prepare for the assignment tasks. There will be 10-15 students in the follow-up seminars. These will consist of analytical tasks in which students will apply the models discussed in the lectures, in groups of 2-3 students, and in discussion with the tutor.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 13/07/2022


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