30951 - English Language and Linguistics 1 (G-O)

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Foreign Languages and Literature (cod. 0979)

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be familiar with the meta-language of various aspects of a descriptive-analytical model of the English language, and should master all the communicative skills at B2 level as set by the parameters of the Council of Europe .

Course contents

The course of English Language and Linguistics 1 consists of the following components:

a) Lectures held by the course professor assigned to each group. The lectures are the same for all students, and in English. An online workshop will also be available for exam practice. This course offers an introduction to the Systemic Functional model of grammar, with special attention paid to textual meanings (i.e. structural and non structural cohesion).

b) Practical exercises (= Esercitazioni), in English, with native English speaking teachers (Dr. Sarah Stratford and Dr. Catherine Blundell). At the beginning of the academic year, a Placement Test (OOPT) is held to form groups, based on the students' skills, from intermediate to advanced. In order to study English, it is obligatory to take this Placement Test (see http://corsi.unibo.it/Laurea/LingueLetteratureStraniere/placement-test-e-certificazioni-di-lingua-inglese.htm) on the dates set by the Department at the beginning of each academic year, and to obtain a score of at least 55.

Students who have obtained one of the following certificates within the past 2 years are not obliged to take the Placement Test:

1) Cambridge ESOL: PET with Merit or with Distinction
2) IELTS: 5
3) TOEFL iBT: 65
4) TRINITY (solo ISE, o Integrated Skills Exam): ISE (II)

The same certificates are accepted if obtained with a higher score. The FCE (the only grades accepted are A, B or C), CAE and CPE are also accepted.

Please send a PDF/ JPEG copy of your certificate to sabrina.fusari2@unibo.it, with the subject line "Certificate", between 24 September 2021 and 9 November 2021.



Thompson, G. (2014). Introducing Functional Grammar. Third Edition. London: Routledge (chapters 1, 2, 6, 7, 8).

E-book available for UniBo users at the following URL: https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.unibo.it/lib/unibo/detail.action?docID=1319003.

Bloor, T. & Bloor, M. (2013). The Functional Analysis of English. London: Routledge, pp. 140-148; pp. 285-295 (available in pdf format on the course page, Virtuale platform).

In addition, students are asked to download and study the PPTs/ other course materials posted by their teacher on the Virtuale platform course page.

Practical exercises (= Esercitazioni)

English File Upper Intermediate 4th edition, published by Oxford University Press

or (*)

English File Advanced 4th edition, published by Oxford University Press.

Additional material will be made available online and in local photocopy shops.

(*) N.B.: Since the textbook used for the Esercitazioni depends on the group that each student is assigned to based on the results of the Placement Test (OOPT), students are advised to wait until the results of the OOPT are available before they purchase the book (see the 'Notices' section on the teacher's website). The Functional Grammar (= lectures) textbook is the same for all students.

Teaching methods

Lessons will take place in class, online or in a blended mode depending on the health situation in Italy when the course is taught: this will be indicated in the lectures schedule ("orario delle lezioni").

1) Lectures held by the professor assigned to each group based on the students' surnames initials (the lectures are the same for all students) during the first semester.

2) Language classes (= Esercitazioni) with mother tongue English teachers throughout the academic year. Students will be divided into groups from the placement test and will be trained in all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

3) Online workshop. This involves a set of exercises on the topics of the lectures, available online at the end of the lectures. It further illustrates the contents of the lectures, and offers students the opportunity to do practical exercises on theory as well as analysis of the text types which are covered during the course. It also serves the purpose of bridging the potential divide between the metalinguistic and practical language components of the course.

Assessment methods

The exam is divided into two parts, one on English linguistics (corresponding to Dr. Luporini's lectures) and one on English language (corresponding to Dr. Sarah Stratford's and Dr. Catherine Blundell's language classes).

The linguistics part of the exam is written, and the language part of the exam is both written and oral; the oral part is called SAT (Speaking Ability Test).

Until January 2022, the type of exam (stucture and time) will be the same modified version that has been established during the pandemic.

This consists of: a language written exam (writing task of up to 200 words, duration: 1 hour) on Esami Online (EOL) and Zoom; a cloze test on the contents of the theory lectures (17 multiple choice and fill-in-the-blanks questions, duration: 30 minutes) on Esami Online (EOL) and Zoom; an oral Speaking Ability Test (online on Microsoft Teams, duration: about 10 minutes).

As soon as the health situation allows, the exam will go back to its traditional structure. This consists of:

(1) A linguistics written, based on the contents of the lectures held by the teacher of the course. This tests the students' knowledge of the fundamental theoretical aspects of Cohesion, Mood and Transitivity, as well as their capacity to apply the descriptive-analytic model of Systemic Functional Linguistics to the English language. The aim is to analyze real English utterances from the grammatical and semantic points of view, with special attention paid to textual meanings, also taking into account the role of context. This exam component is a 31-items multiple-choice/ fill-in-the-blanks test; the time allowed is 40 minutes.

(2) A language written, based on the contents of the language classes held by native English speaking teachers. This tests the students' capacity to analyze, understand and use the English language at level B2 of the Common European Framework for Languages. This exam component is divided into separate sections on (a) Use of English (40 minutes), (b) Reading (30 minutes) and (c) Writing (60 minutes). The final mark is the mean of the scores obtained in the three sections. Passing the Use of English exam paper is an essential condition to pass the language exam. The text types used for this component of the exam are general interest texts (e.g. newspaper articles, reviews, interviews).

(3) A SAT (Speaking Ability Test), which tests the students' listening and speaking skills, and their capacity to communicate spontaneously, understand and make themselves understood in English, with a good command of grammar and a fairly wide vocabulary, on a variety of general, non specialized topics. This component of the exam lasts 8-10 minutes.

Regardless of which semester the theoretical (linguistics) lectures are held in, students may take the practical (Esercitazioni) component of the exam only at the end of the academic year (May 2022), because the corresponding course lasts for the whole academic year. Students, instead, may take the linguistics component of the exam in January 2022, as the corresponding lessons are held in the first semester.

Exceptions may apply to Erasmus students spending only one semester in Bologna. These students are asked to contact their Functional Grammar teacher as soon as possible at the beginning of their Erasmus stay.

The specific skills and knowledge tested in each part of the exam are detailed in Virtuale, in a folder named "Facsimili d'esame" (Sample exams). The material includes exam facsimiles with keys.

Marking criteria and levels

Each part of the exam is evaluated separately. The final mark is calculated as follows: the score obtained in the language written is multiplied by 2, and added to the score obtained in the SAT. This figure is divided by 3, added to the score obtained in the Linguistics written, and finally divided by 2. Students who pass the written exam components with a score of at least 18/30 may not reject their mark and take written exams again. The final mark may be refused, but in that event all the partial exams (Esercitazioni written + lectures written + SAT) must be repeated. Marks obtained in written exams remain valid for 4 exam sessions.

The written language exam (based on the content of the language classes) must be passed before the SAT: only after passing the written language exam can students take the oral.

Students who have chosen English as their third language are not obliged to take the SAT, but may do so if they wish.

Written exams take place once for each exam session; SATs are held twice for each exam session, once before and once after the writtens. It is not obligatory to pass the three components of the exam in the same exam term, but it is not possible to register the final mark for this course until all three exam components have been passed.

Students who show a solid (Independent User-Upper Intermediate) command of the English language and an equally good awareness of its metalinguistic aspects receive an excellent mark. Students with a lesser degree of linguistic competence and metalinguistic awareness receive a lower mark. Students applying their grammatical knowledge mechanically, without an adequate awareness of the connections between grammar, meaning and context, and/ or showing hesitations in their written and spoken skills may still pass the exam but with a low mark. Students with significant gaps in their metalinguistic knowledge and/ or whose language skills are below B2 do not pass the exam.

Additional information

The exam is the same for all students, that is:

(1) attenders and non-attenders;

(2) students enrolled according to the old (509) and new (270) ordinamento;

(3) students who attended the course before academic year 2019-2020.

Students who have chosen English as their third language are not obliged to take the SAT, but may do so if they wish.

Students of the old ordinamento “quadriennale”, for whom the exam is called “Lingua e letteratura inglese”, take only the language written and SAT (no linguistics). The final mark for these students is the mean of the score obtained in their language exam and the one obtained in their literature exam.

Teaching tools

PowerPoint presentations, Microsoft Teams, language classes, online workshop with exercises uploaded to Virtuale.

Office hours

See the website of Antonella Luporini


Quality education Reduced inequalities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.