English and drama

Investigating Language in Context

Module code: Q1076
Level 4
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

This module introduces the study of language beyond sentence and clause level, in real-life and fictional contexts. Following an introduction to the features of spoken language, the module focuses on conversation analysis, the approach to discourse as structured interaction, and on the discussion of some theoretical models for the investigation of contextualized exchanges, such as Grice's Cooperative Principle and Politeness theory. On this module you are presented with the methodological issues of language transcription and data collection. Aiming to introduce the notion of variation in discourse, you will be shown how in different contexts different conversational patterns are produced, and how such factors as gender, class or status can affect conversation.

The module also offers a reflection on the difference between authentic and fictional/represented conversation in both drama and film and from a conversation analysis perspective. You will be given insight into issues of characterisation and point of view through discourse representation. 

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand what verbal interaction as a social practice involves and demonstrate factual knowledge of the different social and linguistic contexts which affect the nature of language.
  • Identify core issues in the representation of interaction in fictional contexts.
  • Synthesise ideas from a number of sources and follow an argument.
  • Transcribe and analyse conversational data and formulate basic research hypotheses.