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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LING3220 Representation, Identity and Control

20 creditsClass Size: 16

Module manager: Dr Bethan Davies

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

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

LING2370Representation, 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.


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 are expected to:
(1) demonstrate a good understanding of a range of linguistic structures and their relevance to a language and power analysis
(2) show a complex understanding of the issues behind text production and consumption
(3) critically evaluate the range of linguistic choices available to authors when constructing a text and show how bias can be built into a text by using those techniques
(4) provide an in-depth analysis of a text from a critical discourse analytic standpoint, demonstrating a good understanding of the sophisticated linguistic devices and discourse management techniques relevant to the construction of that text


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

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 3 hours preparing for each lecture via flipped learning materials and also a further 3 hours consolidating their learning through recommended readings and other activities. (5 x 15 = 75 hrs).
Each seminar has assigned tasks – either data analysis or set readings – which should take approximately 2 hours per class (2 x 5 = 10 hrs)
The formative essay should take around 20 hours of independent work. This will include researching the concept, finding/inventing relevant examples and writing the draft work.
The formative group work should take around 15 hours of independent work for each student. This will involve choosing a text, developing your own analysis of the text and then working with the other group members to produce an agreed analysis. Further time will be spent on producing the presentation itself and practising its delivery. The process of organising and coordinating the group’s activities will also take time. Participation in the group work is an expected part of the module.
The final analysis task is a substantial piece of work and should take about 60 hours to complete. This will involve choosing your text, analysing that text and checking your understanding of the concepts you are using against module materials and the broader literature. The final stage is the planning and writing of the text.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress is monitored through seminar contributions and participation in whole class teaching. The formative 1750wd essay is an important opportunity for feedback on a student’s understanding of core concepts and their ability to explain how a particular linguistic choice is likely to affect addressee understanding. The group presentation provides an opportunity to gain feedback on how to construct an analysis using a range of concepts, rather than focusing on one – as in the first formative assignment. Feedback on both of these pieces of formative work will be provided before the end of term so that students can benefit from this when preparing their summative assessment.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportCritical Discourse Analysis 3,300 words100.00
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: 29/04/2022 15:25:36


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