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LING440: Critical Discourse Analysis

Tutor: Ruth Wodak, Linguistics and English Language

Course Aims, Objectives and Content

This course will focus upon several methods for ‘critical’ analysis of discourse (i.e. social use of language). The aim is to investigate links between linguistic features of texts, and the social and cultural structures, relations and processes they belong to. So, for instance, we look at texts in relation to power structures, ideology, and the construction of social and individual identities.

A particular concern of the course will be with the role of language in contemporary social and cultural change - for example, how do (changing) uses of language contribute to the ‘information society’, to the construction of regional, national, trans-national identities, or to effects of ‘globalisation’, as well as to functions and discursive manifestations of xenophobia, sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, and so forth?

You will be encouraged throughout the course to think about current social or political issues in terms of a critical approach to discourse (e.g. health care, political speeches, media events, questions of gender and sexuality), and your assessment for the course will arise from working on such issues in seminars.


  • Chilton, P. (2004) Analyzing Political Discourse. London: Routledge.
  • Reisigl, M. and Wodak, R. (2001) Discourse and Discrimination. London: Routledge.
  • Van Leeuwen, T. (2004) Analyzing Social Semiotics. London: Routledge.
  • Weiss, G. and Wodak, R. (eds) (2007) CDA. Theory and Interdisciplinarity. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • Wodak, (2011) The Discourse of Politics in Action: Politics as Usual. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • Wodak, R. and Krzyzanowski, M. (Eds.) (2008) Qualitative Discourse Analysis in the Social Sciences. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • Wodak, R. and Meyer, M. (Eds.) (2009) Methods of CDA. London: Sage.


A 5,000 word written assignment.

Please note : Anybody registering for (LING 440) Critical Discourse Analysis is expected to have completed either (LING442) Introduction to Discourse Studies, (LING 450) Stylistics or (LING 434) Pragmatics as a prerequisite in term 1. If this is not possible, please seek an appointment with Professor Ruth Wodak, to discuss what else might serve as a prerequisite.

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