English SC (i) (2020/2021)

Course code
Paola Maria Caleffi
Teaching is organised as follows:
Unit Credits Academic sector Period Academic staff

Learning outcomes

The two-module course is aimed at increasing students’ metalinguistic awareness, which will allow them not only to analyse some of the distinctive features of the English language through the study of its origin and evolution, but also and foremost to acquire knowledge of, recognise and exploit the potential of language as a major means of communication. By the end of the course, students will have improved their ability to analyse language and the way in which it is and can be used in specific communicative contexts. I MODULE The module is aimed at providing an introduction to English linguistics, both in diachronic and in synchronic terms, in order to consolidate the students’ linguistic skills that are mostly relevant to the professional prospects related to a degree in Communication Studies. Diachronically, the module will outline the key stages of the history of the English language, with a focus on the evolution of the role of English as the language of global communication. From a synchronic perspective, the module will focus on aspects of the language at the phonological/phonetic and morphological levels. The peculiarities of the phonological/phonetic and morphological features related to the use of English as a lingua franca will be highlighted through a comparative analysis with major native varieties of English. II MODULE The aim of the module is to develop students’ ability to critically observe the use of language in specific communicative settings through an introduction to the discipline of discourse analysis. Adopting a critical discourse analysis approach, the main features and communication strategies of argumentative/persuasive texts will be investigated, with a special focus on linguistic choices. Specifically, the main rhetorical-discursive features of the language of politics, advertising, and journalism will be analysed. At the end of the module, students will be able to apply methods and contents typical of critical discourse analysis to examine and interpret with a higher degree of critical awareness linguistic and communication strategies adopted in the production of different texts belonging to different genres.


1. From Old English to Contemporary English:
- Main phases of the history of the English language
- Present-Day English:
- English as the language of global communication
2. Phonetics/Phonology
- The relationship between spelling and pronunciation in English
- The notion of 'accent'
- Accent models: RP and its evolution; General American
- The International Phonetic Alphabet and phonological transcription
- The phonological system of General British: vowel sounds; consonant sounds; the notion of “minimal pair”
- Syllables and word accent
- Main difference between British and American English
3. Morphology
- The morpheme: bound and free morphemes
- Monomorphemic words and complex words
- Function and content words
- Word classes
- Inflectional morphology
- Derivation with and without affixation

1. Discourse as 'language in use'
2. Semantics vs pragmatics: basic notions
3. Multimodal discourse
4. Rhetoric and persuasive discourse
5. Critical Discourse Analysis as a methodological approach to the study of communications strategies in persuasive discourse
6.Main features of political discourse (the political speech)
7. Main features of advertising discourse (the advertisement)
8. Main features of journalistic discourse (the editorial and the news report)

Assessment methods and criteria

Students must have obtained a B2-level certificate of proficiency in English to be allowed to sit the exam. The B2 certification must be filed in the student's 'libretto' (university booklet showing the student's academic record) prior to the date of the exam session.

The exam will be in English, it will be written, and will refer to BOTH modules. The exam paper will include open-ended and multiple choice questions, as well as practical exercises. It will be divided into two parts, one for the first module, and the other for the second. Before the end of the course, a mock exam will be uploaded on Moodle. The mock exam will also be carried out and corrected during the last class. The exam is designed to assess the knowledge and understanding of the theoretical contents of both modules, and the ability to apply the theoretical knowledge acquired to concrete situations of language in use.

The mark will be in thirtieths and will be calculated as the sum of the scores obtained for each of the questions/exercises in the exam paper.

The final exam is the same for both attendees and non-attendees.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Kelly-Holmes, H. Adverstising as Multilingual Communication Palgrave Macmillan 2008
Richardson, J.E. Analysing Newspapers. An Approach from Critical Discourse Analysis Palgrave Macmillan 2007
Charteris-Black, J. Analysing Political Speeches. Rhetoric, Discourse and Metaphor Palgrave Macmillan 2014
Facchinetti, R. English Phonetics and Morphology. A reader for first year university students (Edizione 3) QuiEdit 2016
Machin, D. and Mayr, A. How to do Critical Discourse Analysis SAGE 2012
Galloway, N. and Rose, H. Introducing Global English Routledge 2015 978-0-415-83531-2