Academic year
2021/2022 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LMH120 (AF:339471 AR:186869)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
The course is one of the interdisciplinary activities of the degree course in Language Sciences, of the course in Comparative International Relations (curriculum: Americas) and of the course in Environmental Humanities. It promotes theoretical knowledge and methodological competence that can be applied to the analysis of texts and textual corpora in different domains. In particular, the course aims to illustrate the principles and the instruments typical of discourse analysis, a multidisciplinary research approach which aims to investigate the tight relationship between discursive practices and societal structures and values.
Drawing on different disciplines, linguistics and rhetoric in the first place, discourse analysis helps to disclose the ideological features and the objectives of texts, emphasising the constitutive role of language in the social context.
Students will acquire the fundamentals of discourse analysis; they will be able to understand the nature of communication processes, focusing in particular on enunciation and persuasion. Rhetorical strategies will be analysed both in the argumentative and in the emotional dimension.
On the basis of the acquired theoretical and methodological competence, students will be able to analyse texts across domains and genres, with a main focus on political communication and green discourse in Europe.
The investigation of actual examples will promote a critical attitude, making it possible to single out discursive and persuasive features in different discourses. This, in its turn, will develop communicative competence to be exploited also in text production.
No specific previous knowledge is required.
The first part of the course will focus on the concepts of text and discourse, and on the fundamentals of rhetoric and pragmatics. Text types and genres will be defined, and the principles of enunciation and dialogism will be illustrated. The main tenets of pragmatics (speech acts, illocutionary forces, cooperative principle, performativity, deixis, implicit meaning) will be examined, together with the textual structures that represent them. Special attention will be devoted to argumentation and to the other components of persuasion (ethos, pathos).
All general concepts will be illustrated with numerous examples, mainly drawn from the domain of political communication, with a special focus on the environmental policies in Europe.

Rankema, J., and Schubert, C., Introduction to Discourse Studies, John Benjamins (a choice of chapters)
Further readings will be indicated during the lessons, and made available on the moodle web page of the course
Oral exam. The student will analyse a small corpus of texts using the theoretical and methodological tools acquired during the course, producing a short written report (to submit in advance). During the exam, the student will comment on the report to show comprehension of the nature of the texts and of their rhetoric and pragmatic features. Furthermore, the knowledge of the contents of the course will be tested with one or two oral questions.
Conventional lectures; analysis of examples. Students are encouraged to participate to class discussions.
In case of severe restrictions due to the Covid-19 emergency, part of the lessons may be held using an online learning platform
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 29/03/2021