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2012/13 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3274 The Power of Language, the Language of Power

20 creditsClass Size: 70

School of English

Module manager: Dr Alison Johnson

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2012/13

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 'Language, Text and Context', 'Foundations of Language Study', 'Language Methodologies and Research Methods', a Level 1 module in Linguistics and Phonetics, or similar modules in other departments in Modern Languages). Students who have an A in English language A-level who wish to do this module should consult the co-ordinator, as should any student who is uncertain whether they meet the pre-requisite requirements.

This module is available to Level 2 and 3 students.

Module replaces


This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

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 English language as a powerful tool in itself. We will investigate a range of discourse types and theoretical approaches including but not restricted to analysis of: literary and non-literary texts, advertising, journalistic and political texts, consideration of stylistic and rhetorical features, examination of linguistic creativity and language 'play', techniques for revealing a text's underlying ideological stance and bias, sociolinguistic examination of power relationships and the effect this has 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 of English and varieties of English;
- understand the power of language to move the emotions and to inspire an aesthetic response;
- gain an understanding of basic concepts of style and rhetoric;
- be able to explore critically and evaluatively issues of emotive manipulation, bias, ideology and power;
- analyse everyday conversational strategies.

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.


This module is concerned with two inter-related themes. (1) We shall examine a range of discourse types in order to understand the power of language to move the emotions and to inspire an aesthetic response. Basic concepts of style and rhetoric will be discussed, and issues of linguistic creativity and language 'play' in both literary and non-literary texts explored. (2) Such creativity, however, is also associated in history with those in power or with power. So we shall also be exploring issues of emotive manipulation, bias and ideology in such discourses as advertising, journalism and political oratory. A broader sociolinguistic perspective will underpin discussions of power relationships in social interactions.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours168.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Seminar preparation, reading, assignmnent writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contribution to seminars.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Assignment2,000 words40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)3 hr 60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

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: 06/02/2013


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