skip main navigation
 Ling 131: Language & Style
 
  Ling 131 - Welcome and Introduction > Course Aims & Outline
skip welcome navigation options
Welcome
Basic Web Skills
Technical Requirements
Meet Your Tutors
Course Aims & Outline
History of Stylistics
Course Contents
 
Useful Links
Readings

Course Aims & Outline

What type of course is Ling 131: Language and Style?
What aspects of language does Language and Style cover?
What are the aims of the course?
What prior knowledge of literature and language do I need to have?
What will I learn?
What's my role?
What is the course outline?
Is there a course book?
What will the sessions be like?
How much time should I devote to each session?
Am I expected to work on my own?
The Language and Style Chat Café
How will I be assessed?
What do I do next?

 

What type of course is Ling 131: Language and Style?

A stylistics course.

Stylistics is a systematic way of exploring (primarily literary) texts. It looks at the language of texts and tries to explain how that language creates meaning, style and effect.

Take a look at the brief history of its development.

Back to top


 

What aspects of language does Language and Style cover?

Language and Style covers all three major literary genres (poetry, prose and drama), and also other text-types e.g. advertisments (which, interestingly, share some of the characteristics of poetry!).

Back to top


 

What are the aims of the course?

The fundamental philosophy of the course is twofold:


(1) To teach you a set of analytical TOOLS from the "stylistician's toolkit" that you can use to examine texts (for example, their words, sounds, structures, or interactive aspects).

(2) To encourage you to use those tools on additional texts, both during and after the sessions, so that you learn by doing.

Back to top

 

What prior knowledge of literature and language do I need to have?

We will assume that you have no knowledge of language study or particular literary texts, so any you do have will be a bonus! We do expect you to be interested in literature and want to study the language of texts.

Back to top


 

What will I learn?

Throughout the course, you will learn different aspects of how to analyse the language of texts. You will learn about particular aspects of the structure of English (e.g. grammatical, sound and conversational structure), at points where it is of particular relevance to the texts you happen to be studying at the time.

Back to top


 

What's my role?

You're expected to be an active participant, preferably working alongside other students, especially when it comes to analysing text extracts. We also want you to experiment with the tools you learn each session, by practising on additional texts.

Back to top


 

What is the course outline?

The course consists of ten topics (sub-divided into sessions), which represent three distinct blocks of poetry, prose fiction and drama:

Topic Genre

1: Levels of language. Linguistic choice, style and meaning

Mainly Poetry

2: Being creative with words and phrases

3: Patterns, deviations, style and meaning

4: The grammar of simple sentences

5: Sound

Round Up & Self Assessment

6: Style and style variation

Mainly Prose

7: The grammar of complex sentences

8: Discourse structure and point of view

9: Speech presentation

10: Prose analysis

Round Up & Self Assessment

11: Conversational structure and character

Mainly Drama

12: Meaning between the lines

13: Shared knowledge and absurdist drama

Round Up & Self Assessment

 

Back to top


 

Is there a course book?

Yes. The course book is:

SHORT, Mick (1996) Exploring the Language of Poems, Plays and Prose, (Longman).
We will also make use of:

  1. LEECH, G.N. & SHORT, M.H. (1981) Style in Fiction, (Longman).

  2. FOWLER, R. (1996 [1986])) Linguistic Criticism, (OUP)

In addition, you will be directed to other readings as the term unfolds.

Back to top

 

What will the sessions be like?

Each session will have the same "menu" format - you should work your way down the topics in the Menu (situated on the left of your screen) in the order in which they are listed, the arrow at the end of each page will take you to the next page. Each session will start with a session overview and finish with a summary. As you work through the menu you also need to look at the sound and video clips you come across, and try the tasks and self-tests that we have set.

Printing pages from the site is not always accurate so for each topic we have provided some printer friendly notes. These can be accessed using either the link at the bottom of the session overview for each topic or the link from the main contents page.

There are some special symbols used throughout the site which we outlined in the basics section. If you skipped this section it would be a good idea to look familiarise yourself with these symbols before starting your first session.

If there is anything you don't understand, or if you get stuck or lost, please ask. Students at Lancaster will be able to ask the tutor supervising their sessions. Those outside Lancaster can ask their local tutors, or, if necessary send any queries they may have to the following email address: m.short@lancaster.ac.uk

Back to top


 

How much time should I devote to each session?

We are assuming that you will spend a total of 5-6 hours on each session, which includes work done at the screen-face, reading time and also time to complete tasks and reading. The recommended reading for each topic can be found by clicking on the 'READINGS' link, which can be found in the 'USEFUL LINKS' section of the menu (on the left-hand side of the screen) for each topic of the course.

There is a 'suggested' week by week course schedule for Lancaster students.

Back to top


 

Am I expected to work on my own?

We'd prefer you to work at the computer in groups of 2 or 3, so that you can discuss with fellow students the information given to you and the tasks set for you as you go along. We think you can learn a lot from others doing the course as well as from your tutors.

Back to top


 

The Language and Style Chat Café

We have provided you with a 'chat café' (an electronic discussion group) to use while you are doing the course. You can enter the chat café by clicking the button Chat Café button which appears in the top and bottom bar of each page, or by entering the URL into your web browser in the normal way.

You can use the café in workshops or when you are working on your own. The chat café is designed to help you ask questions, debate issues, discuss texts and analyses, and so on with all other students doing the course, and your tutors too. Your tutors will go to the chat café at least once a week to answer questions and join in any discussions. They will also pop along to the café during workshops, when they have a free moment, to help out on any electronic discussions taking place in class. Although it is best if everyone knows who everyone else is, it is possible for you to ask questions and leave messages anonymously, if you prefer. Just use the 'show/hide' option at the top of the page when you send a message.

We will post discussion topics, questions, advice and much, much more to help you during the course.

Back to top

 


 

How will I be assessed

To some degree, this will vary depending upon whether you're a student of Lancaster University or whether you're doing the course in some other educational institution.

Assessment for Lancaster students will be in two parts:

You will be expected (i) to submit a piece of written coursework at the end of the course, and (ii) to take an exam at the end of the year. However, as you will probably not have done stylistic analysis before, we have introduced a self-assessment facility in each session, so that you can try out the analytical skills you have just learnt on 3 texts (a poem, an extract from a novel and an extract from a play) as you go along. You can then compare your efforts on the 3 texts, for each session, with model answers. This will help you to build up your sense of how to do a full stylistic analysis of a text from each genre as you go through the course, and thus prepare yourself thoroughly for the actual assessment at the end of the course.

Back to top


 

What do I do next?

Now that you're familiar with the course structure, you're ready to begin the first session. Students at Lancaster will begin the session in Week 1.

You can take a look at a brief history of stylistics and how it all began or go straight to the Course Contents.

Back to top

 


to the top
  Next: A brief history of stylistics next

Home ¦ Outline ¦ Contents ¦ Chat-café ¦ Glossary