English Language in the Media - LL536

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Autumn 5 15 (7.5) MS H Colthup checkmark-circle


In this module, students develop a range of skills which will enable them to undertake the narratological and linguistic analysis of media texts (the term 'text' is used broadly here, and will encompass both written and oral sources) taken from a number of sources, including newspapers, magazines and online discourses. Areas covered include: genre theory, register, narrative theory, multimodality, dialogism and discourse analysis. Also discussed are complex and challenging ideas around the notion of words, signs, and grammar in context. Students will develop the ability to approach the language of the media critically and to read the press perceptively so as to understand the importance of the media in a democratic society.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

Assignment 1 (1.000 words) – 40%
Assignment 2 (1.500 words) –60%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Aitchison, J. and Lewis, D, (eds) (2003) New Media Language London: Routledge.
Barthes, R, (1977), 'The photographic message', IMAGE-MUSIC-TEXT, London: Fontana Press
Bell, A and Garrett, P (eds), (1998), Approaches to Media Discourse, Oxford: Blackwell
Burke, L T Crowley and Girvin, A (eds), (2000) The Routledge Language and Cultural Reader. London: Routledge.
Durant, A and Lambrou, M, (2009), Language and Media. London: Routledge.
Fulton, H, with Huisman, R, Murphet, J and Dunn, A, (2005), Narrative and Media, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Toolan, M, (2001), Narrative: a critical linguistic introduction, London: Routledge

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of key narratological and linguistic theories (genre theory, de Saussure, Genette, Barthes) coming to a systematic understanding of key aspects of this field;
Assess the applicability of these theories to current media outputs; for example, in terms of advertising, broadsheets, tabloids and other genre;
Accurately carry out detailed analysis of a range of media discourse genres (including newspaper texts, interviews, stand-up comedy, speeches and multimodal discourse) demonstrating cogent application of the particular linguistic approach under discussion;
Use narrative and linguistic theory and related scholarly apparatus to make informed critical and evaluative judgments about a wide range of media, and be able to make use of this knowledge outside of the contexts in which it was first encountered;
Understand how theoretical approaches to the media impact on a wide range of themes and topics, for example: genre, narrative, and concepts of culture and community, gender, politics and ideology, identity;
Appreciate how their own knowledge and cultural background contributes to their understanding of media discourse.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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