English language 2 (2017/2018)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Valeria Franceschi
Valeria Franceschi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Semester 2 dal Feb 26, 2018 al Jun 9, 2018.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

To sit the exam, students need to have already passed:
• English Language 1
• English C1 computer-based test
• English Literature 1

ERASMUS students are invited to contact the instructor

The aim of this course is providing students with the basic theoretical notions of pragmatics and an introduction to discourse analysis as well as the practical tools to analyze written and spoken texts from a pragmatics perspective. These approaches will then be applied to the analysis of political discourse.


The course will focus on the linguistic analysis of spoken and written texts, with specific attention to political texts (political speeches, debates, etc.). The main concepts of pragmatics, discourse analysis, and critical discourse analysis (CDA) will be illustrated.

The main topics covered will be:
- Definition of pragmatics and discourse analysis
- Text, context, and co-text: context inside and outside the text
- Cohesion and coherence: the elements that make a text grammatically and lexically cohesive
- Speech Act Theory: Austin’s definitions of locution, illocution, perlocution; constative and performative acts; felicity conditions; Searle’s classification of speech acts.
- Grice’s Cooperation principle and conversational maxims: definition of the Cooperative Principle and of the maxims of Quantity, Quality, Relation and Manner; violating, flouting, infringing and opting out of maxims; conversational implicatures
- Face and politeness strategies: definition of the notion of positive and negative face; Face Threatening Acts; politeness strategies
- Definition of political discourse
- From discourse analysis to Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA): ideology, language and power
- The Aristotelian proofs: ethos, pathos and logos. Appealing to credibility and goodwill, rationality, emotions in political speeches.
- Other rhetoric devices in political speeches: lexical choices, metaphors, rule of three, sound bites.
- Analysis of speech acts, conversational maxims and politeness strategies in political speeches.

The course will be delivered in interactive lectures; active involvement of the students is encouraged.

Students who cannot come to class are invited to contact the instructor to obtain the password of the Moodle platfom.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Jonathan Charteris-Black Analysis Political Speeches Palgrave Macmillan 2014 978-0-230-27439-6 Capitolo 1, pp. 93-100.
Brian Paltridge Discourse Analysis: An Introduction Continuum 2006 Chapters 1.1, 1.2, chapter 3
Musolff, A Metaphor, irony and sarcasm in public discourse. 2017 Journal of Pragmatics 109: 95-104
Siobhan Chapman Pragmatics Palgrave Macmillan 2011 0333693442 Pages 1-13; 19-23; chapter 4; 132-141
Joan Cutting Pragmatics: a resource book for students (Edizione 3) Routledge 2015 978-0-415-53437-6 eccetto sezioni 5 e 8 / NOT sections 5 and 8
Biria, R. Mohammadi, A The socio pragmatic functions of inaugural speech: A critical discourse analysis approach. 2012 Journal of Pragmatics 44(10): 1290-1302

Assessment methods and criteria

To sit the exam, students need to have already passed:
• English Language 1
• English C1 computer-based test
• English Literature 1

The final exam will be written and it will focus on the topics covered during the course, that is, lesson slides (downloadable on the Moodle platform) and the bibliographic references provided on this page.

The exam will constitute in a written test including a number of questions (usually 8-10), for a total of 30 points, focusing on the topics covered during the course. There may be three types of questions: multiple choice questions and open-ended questions on the theoretical notions, or textual analysis questions that ask student to apply their knowledge to linguistic data. In the latter case, students may for example be asked to identify speech acts, implicatures, lack of observation of maxims, or they may be asked to analyze a brief passage of a political speech, identifying the use of Artistotelian proofs, Face Threatening Acts, politeness strategies, etc.

A simulation of the exam will be uploaded on the Moodle platform before the end of the course.

The final grade of the exam will be the average of the grade of the written exam and the grade obtained in the CLA computer test. The latter will be converted into /30 according to the CLA conversion table. Students who have obtained external language certificates should obtain and equivalence certificate from the CLA before the date of the exam.