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University Language Centre

ULEN30011 - Text and Conversation Studies

  • Credits: 10 credits
  • Level: 3
  • Pre-requisite: IELTS 7.0 or equivalent or any level 2 course
  • Co-requisite: None.
  • Taught during: semester 1
  • Timetables: Timetable for the course


The course is for non-native students of the English language who wish to learn more about approaches to the study of written and spoken language beyond the discrete structural level, and also to understand how language operates in real-world contexts. An applied linguistics perspective will be emphasised so that analyses undertaken should provide useful insights to inform language use. The following areas will be covered in the lectures:

  • Types of discourse: written and spoken discourse
  • Linguistic and sociolinguistic perspectives
  • Speech act theory
  • Conversation analysis
  • Cohesion in discourse
  • Information structure
  • Corpora and computer tools for discourse analysis
  • Genre analysis Stylistics and prosody
  • Contrastive rhetorics

Students will read original and recent work in these areas. Lecture input will be followed by hands-on exercises in small group workshops. For coursework, students will be encouraged to collect, analyse and process their own data.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students will:

  • have an enhanced understanding of how the English language operates above the sentence level in real world contexts
  • be familiar with the main developments in discourse analysis
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the principal approaches to analysis of spoken and written discourse.

Transferable skills

At the end of the course unit students will have gained experience in:

  • applying theoretical knowledge
  • language analysis
  • independent research

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures (1 hour per week), workshops (1 hour every two weeks), individual project work


  • Assessed coursework 40%: discourse analysis exercise (week 6), 400 words. Discourse analysis study (week 12), 1,000 words.
  • Examination: 1 hour (60%)

Nature and Timing of Feedback

There will be language feedback on micro-tasks generated during the course, and also on student submissions to the elearning environment. Written and oral feedback will be given for both pieces of assessed coursework. This will be provided in the weeks immediately following the presentation and submission of the exercise (Week 6), and the study (Week13); feedback  will consist of itemised commentaries on the relation of the presentations to the stated assessment criteria, but also on the general kinds and levels of oral and written skills shown.


Ian Pople

Taught by

Ian Pople

Maximum entry

20 per group

Set texts

Paltridge, B, (2012) Discourse Analysis: an introduction London: Continuum. ISBN: 978-1441167620

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