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122220 SE Linguistics Seminar / BA Paper (2020W)

11.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 18 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

This course takes place online only.

Monday 05.10. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 12.10. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 19.10. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 09.11. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 16.11. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 23.11. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 30.11. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 07.12. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 14.12. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 11.01. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 18.01. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital
Monday 25.01. 14:15 - 15:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

In this BA seminar, we will investigate various aspects of political communication from a discourse-analytical perspective, covering genres such as speeches, advertisements, televised debates, press releases, interviews and social media postings. These types of data will be approached through theoretical concepts such as populism, legitimation, interdiscursivity, mediatization or securitization; and they will be empirically analysed in terms of linguistic/semiotic dimensions such as discursive strategies, argumentation (topoi), metaphor, nomination, attribution, multimodality, collocation, frequency and keyness. Note that other concepts and linguistic levels of realization may be included as they become relevant in the data.

Students will write an empirical BA paper based on their findings in a small-scale study designed and conducted by themselves. Students will empirically analyse one aspect, e.g.: The linguistic features of populist discourse in Donald Trump’s speeches… The metaphors employed in election or referendum campaign ads… The discursive strategies used in commemorative speeches… The arguments or topoi used in policy-related press releases… The collocational patterns found in British media reporting on specific policy issues such as migration or COVID-19… etc.

To analyse and understand such aspects of political communication in an anglophone country, the contextualist view of the Discourse-Historical Approach will be used. This approach regards discourses as mutually constitutive with social reality, i.e. discourses construct social reality but are at the same time situated in specific contexts. Context is seen as a field of social forces both enabling and restraining discourses, i.e. exerting influence on what can be said, by who, to who, how, and in what social setting. Discourses are conceptualized as social practices of meaning-making that are predominantly linguistic but also include many other semiotic resources, e.g. gesture, images, video and music. Analysis in the Discourse-Historical Approach is always attentive to the historical and social context of the data studied, attentive to the importance of non-linguistic meanings, and provides the basis for informed critique, e.g. of biased media reporting or fallacious argumentation in political debates.

Assessment and permitted materials

Course evaluation is based on:
60% seminar paper
20% paper proposal
20% short presentation

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The minimum requirements for passing the course are:
• regular attendance (max. 2 absences)
• handing in the proposal
• giving the oral presentation (on set date)
• handing in the seminar paper (on time)
The pass rate is > 60%. To pass the course successfully, the final seminar paper has to be positive; if it is not, the whole course is an automatic fail. Final grades & points (%) achieved: Sehr gut: 90-100; Gut: 80-89; Befriedigend: 70-79; Genügend: 60-69; Nicht Genügend: 0-59

Examination topics

- will learn about discourse analysis in the form of the Discourse-Historical Approach
- will engage with political communication as discourse (in anglopohone countries)
- will learn how to plan a small-scale empirical study
- will learn to select, compile and prepare empirical data for analysis
- will learn how to contextualise discourses
- will learn how to apply theoretical concepts
- will learn how to analyse different levels of linguistic realization
- will learn how to write an empirical paper

Reading list

will be announced on Moodle and in the course itself

Association in the course directory

Studium: UF 344, BA 612
Code/Modul: UF 4.2.3-222, BA06.2
Lehrinhalt: 12-2222

Last modified: Mo 05.10.2020 10:09