74775 - English Language (12 Cfu) (M-Q)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student has an improved knowledge of the English language.

In particular, the student is able to:

  • read, take notes, follow a discussion in English;
  • deal with specialized political and media language in English-speaking cultures.

Course contents

The course aims at improving the students' awareness of persuasion as a complex and pervasive phenomenon in strategic communication. Particular attention will be paid to political discourse as a case of primary evidence. Discourse analysis expertise will be fostered through the identification of linguistic/cognitive as well as pragmatic/contextual features in the text. In addition to developing the students' capability of reading special purposes texts in English, the course may also indirectly favour their persuasion and oral communication skills in English.

The exam consists of two parts:

  • a) Intermediate test of grammar and general language skills. The coursework ([30+] 30 hours) is aimed at improving the fluency and correctness of students' language production and their understanding of spoken and written English.
  • b) content (or monographic course, based on a set text and corresponding to 30 hours). The lessons, based on authentic texts, additionally to strengthening the student's linguistic competence, with particular attention to oral skills, request the student to acquire a critical attitude with respect to the political text.

The course starts from a brief recap of the concept of ‘persuasion' in communication (everyday vs. strategic) to introduce political discourse in a genre perspective. As a primary tool of analysis, the notion of conceptual metaphor will be presented, in such as related to persuasion (everyday and strategic communication). Particular attention will be paid to how crucial conceptual metaphor is for conveying emotion, as well as for constructing narratives in long-term discoursal strategies.

After this theoretical introduction, the course will offer an overview of relevant genres of political rhetoric and concentrate on the critical analysis of a chosen set of texts. This may also allow the students to reflect on their own position as political readers/listeners/actors within a given context. Particular attention will be paid to the language of leaders (i.e. contemporary American vs. British presidential speeches), focusing on genre features, rhetorical style, argumentative structure, evaluation, conceptual frames and dominant metaphors.


For course attenders, the study material will be communicated during the lessons.

Main theoretical references can be found in:

Federica Ferrari (2018). Metaphor and Persuasion in Strategic Communication: Sustainable Perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Other theoretical references:

Federica Ferrari (2013). Non solo metafore. (De)costruzione della strategia persuasiva di G. W. Bush Jr. Padova: Libreriauniversitaria.it.

Partington & Taylor (2017). The Language of Persuasion in Politics. New York: Routledge.

After January/February 2021 the written test for non-attenders will be based on: Federica Ferrari (2018). Metaphor and Persuasion in Strategic Communication: Sustainable Perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Teaching methods

The method is interactive and the course is taught only in English. The lectures will be interspersed with moments of collective brainstorming, written and oral exercises. The theoretical reflection and textual examples of persuasive speech will be systematically used in practical application.

The grammar part, taught by tutors (TBD), will be held in the first semester, while the monographic part, held by the professor (Prof. Mitzel), will be held in the second semester.

In accordance with Covid-19 restrictions, and with possible changes:

“As for the grammar part in the I semester, the course is organized with a choice of lectures taught in presence ([30 +] 30 houre) and another taught online on MS TEAMS ([30 +] 30 hours] according to the students’ possibilities. The monographic part in the II semester will be organized in presence/remotely/blended on the basis of the health-related conditions.”

As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students must attend the online Modules 1, 2 on Health and Safety [https://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/health-and-assistance/health-and-safety/online-course-on-health-and-safety-in-study-and-internship-areas].

Assessment methods

Both attenders and non attenders have to take the intermediate grammar test before the monographic/final part of the exam: to access the monographic having passed the grammar is compulsory.

As for the monographic part, for attenders it consists of a written examination (in presence or remotely, according with the required COVID conditions)  on course content and bibliographic materials. More information will be given during the course.

For non attenders, after January/February 2021, the written test will be based on: Federica Ferrari (2018). Metaphor and Persuasion in Strategic Communication: Sustainable Perspectives. New York: Routledge.

A sample of the grammar test and the monographic for non attenders (in their standard paper format) are available at the lecturer's website, ‘Useful resources/links' section.

For further information:


Teaching tools

Teaching tools

The content of the lectures of the second part of the course (Corso Monografico) (slides, notes, etc.) and the course workbook will be made available to students on-line at https://virtuale.unibo.it .

Students are requested to download the necessary material for each lesson and to check the platform closely for any updates and / or communications.

Office hours

See the website of Anthony Dion Mitzel [https://www.unibo.it/sitoweb/anthonydion.mitzel/en]

Office hours

See the website of Anthony Dion Mitzel