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 Ling 131: Language & Style
  Ling 131 - Welcome and Introduction
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Who Language and Style is for & how it came into being
Copyright Declaration

Who Language and Style is for and how it came into being

Mick ShortA message from Mick Short, the creator of the course, July 2005

This is an introductory course in what I, and many others call Stylistic Analysis (no-one has found an entirely satisfactory name for this area of study, and it is sometimes called Literary Linguistics, Critical Linguistics, Linguistic Poetics or other similar names by other scholars). Stylistic Analysis focuses on how people understand texts when they read them, in particular (but not exclusively) literary texts. The aim of the course is to help people begin to be able to do Stylistic Analysis well, and to want to continue to study it. It is offered, free, to any student interested in learning how to do Stylistic Analysis or any teacher who wants to use it to teach students Stylistic Analysis. In particular, it is offered as a birthday present to the members of the Poetics and Linguistics Association on the occasion of its annual conference (this year in Huddersfield University) in its 25th year.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HAPPY BIRTHDAY PALA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Birthday cake

For teachers who may want to make use of the site we are currently working on a website which will provide advice and useful materials. We hope to have this available by the end of September 2005. If you need to use the course before then and want advice etc, please email

If you are student who is trying to learn from the course, I hope that you find it helpful and enjoyable. We have certainly worked hard to make it fun, or as much fun as a serious academic course can be! I also hope that it helps you to read texts with more precision, and so appreciate them better.

Please note that you may need to install some specialist software to run some of the materials on this site. The software is free, and you will be given prompts to download it on to your computer as and when when you need it.

This web-based version of Language and Style grew out of a traditional course of the same name, offered to first year English Language students at Lancaster University, UK. The course is still provided within Part I English Language as part of the offerings of the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University.

Please note that the link to the Chat Café on the contents page and all of the other pages of this web course only applies to Lancaster University students in the year they are studying on Ling 131, Language and Style. Teachers using this course might find it helpful to create their own local discussion site for their students. Our site, besides providing a place for staff and students to discuss matters related to the course, also gives other useful things for our students to use (e.g. links to articles, examples of good essays, previous examination papers and the course handbook).

The funding to create this web-based version of Language and Style came mainly from a UK National Teaching Fellowship prize that I won in 2000. As this was a personal prize coming out of the public purse (provided through the Institute for Learning and Teaching by the Higher Education Funding Council) I felt, and continue to feel, that it should be made freely available to all, to encourage work in Stylistic Analysis.

I decided to create a web-based version of the course in order to compare student reactions to, and performance in, web-based and traditional versions of the course. The investigation, which took place in Lancaster and in other higher education institutions in the UK and elsewhere, has recently been completed. Articles about the investigation and a special issue of the journal Language and Literature devoted to the course, to be published in 2006, are currently in print or being prepared. Below I give a brief bibliography of articles about the course that have already been produced.


Breen, M.P and M. Short (1988) 'Alternative Approaches in Teaching Stylistics to Beginners' Parlance 1, 2, 29-48.
Short, M (1993) 'Stylistics Upside Down: Using Stylistics in the Teaching of Language and Literature', Textus VI, 3-30 (reprinted in R. Carter and J. McRae (1996) Language, Literature and the Learner, Longman, 41-64).
McIntyre, D. (2003) 'Foregrounding foregrounding: reflections on foregrounding theory as a teaching methodology in a lecture course on stylistics', Style 37, 1: 1-13.
Short, M. and D. Archer (2002) 'Investigating the Effectiveness of WWW-based Stylistics Teaching', CUE Newsletter.
Short, M. and D. Archer (2003) 'Designing a Worldwide Web-Based Stylistics Course and Investigating its Effectiveness' Style 37, 1: 27-46.
Short, M. and MP Breen (1988) 'Innovations in the Teaching of Literature (1): Putting Stylistics in its Place', Critical Quarterly 30, 2, 1, 1-8.
Short, M. (forthcoming 2006) ‘Designing and piloting a world-wide-web-based stylistics course’ in ‘Andrea Gerbig and Anja Müller-Wood (eds.) Rethinking English: Reconciling Literature, Linguistics and Cultural Studies (Lampeter: Edwin Mellen)


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