AJL22083 Stylistics: Language and the Media

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2020
Extent and Intensity
0/2/0. 6 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
doc. Mgr. Jan Chovanec, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
doc. PhDr. Jana Chamonikolasová, Ph.D.
Department of English and American Studies - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Tomáš Hanzálek
Supplier department: Department of English and American Studies - Faculty of Arts
Mon 16:00–17:40 G25
Students are expected to have mastered the basic linguistic terminology relating to various linguistic levels (phonological, semantic/lexical, syntactical) and be able to correctly use the concepts when analysing linguistic data.
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.

The capacity limit for the course is 10 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 8/10, only registered: 0/10
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 11 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
The aim of the course is to familiarize students with linguistic aspects of media communication, with a focus on the analysis of printed news texts. The individual seminars will describe diverse forms of printed media texts (news, interviews, sports reports) in both popular press and tabloids. Attention will be paid to structural features of articles (cohesion, coherence), micro-linguistic phenomena (labelling, syntactic structures), and authorial presence in media texts (modality, hedging, appraisal). We will discuss the role and linguistic manifestation of news values and bias, tracing how media texts can provide subjective representation of events. We will also see how the traditional news text has become transformed in the modern age: first how visual elements are deployed across the media in multimodal news, and then how modern social media have affected the news text structure. We will be interested in tracing how certain participatory formats of modern media enable user-media interaction (e.g. online discussion forums), concentrating on how meanings are constructed and contested through such interactions.
Learning outcomes
After passing the course, the students will be able:
- to see the role of language in constructing meanings in the media;
- to appreciate how alternative forms of expression are deployed in different types of media (broadsheets, tabloids, broadcast media);
- to see how bias can be discursively constructed by means of referential, predicational, proximization and framing strategies;
- to understand how point of view is linguistically manifested in media texts;
- to understand the role of figurative language (e.g. metaphor) in the media;
- to analyze modern media texts using the tools of (critically-oriented) discourse analysis and pragmatics;
- to reveal implicit ideologies through a systematic analysis of micro-level lingustic features;
- to apply their critical literacy skills;
- to carry out an analysis of micro-level linguistic phenomena in media texts by applying specific linguistic methodologies (term essay);
- to identify (pseudo-)dialogic features of various media texts.
  • The course will cover the following issues (not necessarily in this order). A week-by-week syllabus will be discussed at the first meeting.
  • 1. Language, media and communication - models, constraints; tools for analysis: media discourse analysis, critical approaches to analysis.
  • 2. The make-up of a story: structural, linguistic (lexis and syntax), conceptual.
  • 3. News values and their linguistic manifestation. Stereotypes.
  • 4. News as stories, news schemata. 5. The discursive gap - conversational style in newspaper reporting.
  • 6. Representation of social actors, labelling, lexical choices, semantic fields, overlexicalization.
  • 7. Lifestyle magazines, synthetic personalization; interaction, interactivity.
  • 8. Sports news - written live text commentary.
  • 9. The transformation of news/media discourses at the age of the social media.
  • 10. Reader comments; antagonistic reader-to-reader interaction.
  • 11. Multimodality, photojournalism, still and moving images in the news.
  • 12. Current research in media discourse analysis.
    required literature
  • BEDNAREK, Monika and Helen CAPLE. News discourse. London: Bloomsbury, 2012. xii, 267. ISBN 9781441147998. info
  • Durant, Alan and Marina Lambrou. Language and Media: A Resource Book for Students (Routledge English Language Introductions), 2009. ISBN 978-0521670395.
    recommended literature
  • DYNEL, Marta and Jan CHOVANEC. Participation in Public and Social Media Interactions. 1. vyd. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2015. 285 pp. Pragmatics and Beyond. New Series, 256. ISBN 978-90-272-5661-4. doi:10.1075/pbns.256. URL info
  • REISIGL, Martin and Ruth WODAK. Discourse and discrimination : rhetorics of racism and antisemitism. 1st pub. London: Routledge, 2001. xiv, 298 s. ISBN 0-415-23149-3. info
  • FOWLER, Roger. Language in the news : discourse and ideology in the press. London: Routledge, 1991. x, 254. ISBN 0415014182. info
  • BELL, Allan. The language of news media. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991. xv, 277 s. ISBN 0-631-16435-9. info
  • DIJK, Teun Adrianus van. News as discourse. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum associates, 1988. viii, 200. ISBN 0805808280. info
    not specified
  • CRYSTAL, David and Derek DAVY. Investigating English style. 1st pub. London: Longman, 1969. xii, 264. ISBN 0582522129. info
Teaching methods
Seminars. Class discussions. Students' presentations on selected studies. Analysis of current material from the media. Written essay.
Assessment methods
Active participation at seminars - reading must be done in advance. Mid-term test and/or written test at the end in which students prove their knowledge of assigned reading + an analytical essay on a topic of one's choice. A classroom presentation
Language of instruction
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught once in two years.

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