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Module QXL-3343:
Language and Communication

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Thora Tenbrink

Overall aims and purpose

This module addresses how language is used for communication in various contexts and for various purposes. We will look at how speakers manage to get ideas across to others, what communication strategies they use, and what the challenges are in various everyday situations, professional and personal.

After discussing some theoretical models of linguistic communication lectures will deal with common sources of communication problems, consider empirical methods of discourse analysis, and discuss diverse modes of communication (written, spoken, mediated, dialogic, task-based, etc.). Then lectures will turn to specific types of context selected according to students' preferences, such as scientific, political, journalistic, advertising, media, internet, family, casual, classroom, or other discourse, and identify some of the features and strategies typical for these communicative situations.

The tutorials will provide opportunities for considering and discussing lecture content, and provide guided hands-on experience and training in how to identify communicative patterns and strategies by analysing natural language data taken from different resources. Results will be discussed and feed into the written assignments. The main assignment will be prepared step by step.

Course content

  1. Introduction: Communication and miscommunication in everyday life – and linguistic reasons for them
  2. Theories and models of communication
  3. Linguistic principles
  4. Methods of discourse analysis
  5. Modes of communication
  6. Contexts and areas of communication
  7. Public contexts (e.g., media, journalism, political, or scientific discourse)
  8. Communication in the internet
  9. Classroom discourse
  10. Casual contexts
  11. Intercultural communication

Assessment Criteria


Student has achieved the minimum acceptable standard of understanding and/or knowledge in all the learning outcomes. Student can demonstrate a minimum level of understanding of the basic concepts and be able to apply them to data with some degree of accuracy.


Student has achieved a better-than-average standard of understanding and/or knowledge in all learning outcomes, and has a clear and accurate understanding of concepts; ability to apply concepts to data critically and thoughtfully; evidence of wide reading and clear and accurate reference to source materials; free from misunderstanding and errors of content; free from irrelevant material.


Student has achieved a thorough standard of understanding and/or knowledge in all learning outcomes; or student has demonstrated an exceptional level of achievement in one or more learning outcomes together with a good overall standard: student has achieved a thorough understanding of the subject, both in terms of content and theory; student is able to apply concepts clearly and accurately; substantial evidence of critical and original thought and analysis; clear, logical argument; high level of communicative competence; free from irrelevant material and errors of spelling and punctuation; evidence of extensive reading beyond basic texts and clear and accurate references to source material.

Learning outcomes

  1. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of language used in different communication contexts.

  2. Students will be able to identify systematic features of everyday language.

  3. Students will be able to follow discourse analytic methodology procedures.

  4. Students will be able to confidently discuss analysis results.

  5. Students will be able to conduct a small-scale study analysing language samples.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
AURAL Short oral presentation

A 10 minute recording or presentation (online or in person) to the lecturer in which you orally reflect on the different communication modes, with their features, benefits and disadvantages, that are used in this module.

ESSAY Main Assignment

A 2000-word written assignment that shows some specialisation in one area discussed in this module, and includes analysis of relevant language data.

REPORT Analysis report

Report (1500words) of analysis results as discussed in the first three tutorials.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


2 lecture hours each week, which will include input from the lecturer, in-class discussion, presentations and data analysis (11 teaching weeks)


One 1-hour practical/seminar per fortnight (over 11 teaching weeks)

Private study

In their own time, students will be expected to do required readings for each class, do further research/reading on the topics and prepare assignments.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Writing & scholarly conventions - students will be able to present data, argumentation, findings and references in written form in keeping with the conventions current in language science and English language studies.
  • Analysis & interpretation skills - students will be able to analyse, interpret data accurately, and draw appropriate conclusions based on the application of appropriate analytic and theoretical frameworks available in linguistics and English language studies.
  • Research skills - students will be able undertake independent research, involving formulating a research question, identifying and deploying appropriate linguistic methodology (theoretical or empirical) and data collection techniques (theoretical, experimental or field-based), and the selection and application of appropriate theoretical frameworks in order to adequately address the research question.
  • Evaluation & reflection - students will be able to critically evaluate a particular position, viewpoint or argument in relation to a specific area of investigation. They will be able to reflect on the efficacy of a particular approach, practice or performance, and moderate these as a consequence in order to achieve specific goals.
  • Fluency, confidence and proficiency in the use of English -students will demonstrate their ability and proficiency to use and understand and instruct others in English in a range of academic and classroom contexts.
  • Effective communication - students will develop the ability to communicate effectively, appropriately and confidently, in a range of contexts, to different audience types, and making use of a range of supporting materials
  • Learning to learn - students will learn to reflect, modify and improve their learning strategies
  • Awareness of and appreciation for linguistic and cultural differences - students will develop an awareness of and an appreciation for the range and nature of linguistic and cultural diversity
  • Proficiency in the use of English in reading, writing, speaking and/or listening - students will demonstrate proficiency in their ability to use and understand English in a range of different contexts and via different media.
  • Understanding of the nature and organization of language - students will demonstrate familiarity with observations and findings relating to various aspects of linguistic phenomena and organization.
  • Knowledge of the nature of language origins, change and use - students will demonstrate familiarity with phenomena and findings relating to the nature of language origins, the way language changes, and factors involved in and affecting language use.


Resource implications for students


Talis Reading list

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: