Language, Power and Persuasion

Module code: EN3206
Module coordinator: 

In this module you will explore theories of power and linguistic communication. We will study genres and text-types commonly considered in studies of language and power and consider the potential personal, social and political implications of such language use.

You will gain experience in applying linguistic frameworks that help us to understand how language can be used to construct power and to persuade, such as classical rhetoric, (critical) discourse analysis and conversation analysis. The texts you analyse will range from contemporary political speeches to historical proclamations and adult/child interaction. They will include political discourse, daily conversation, fictional interactions and newspaper language. Some texts will be provided by your tutor; others will be examples that you find yourself.

Reflecting critically on the findings of these analyses, we will consider how power and persuasive strategies of language use in private and public domains can impact on society, shaping how we perceive the world and understand our place within it.


  • 20 hours of seminars
  • 180 hours of guided independent study


  • Essay, 1,000 words (40%)
  • Essay, 2,000 words (60%)
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