Course Unit Page


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

Quality education

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The student knows the basic features (terms, concepts, methods and techniques) of corpus-assisted discourse studies; s/he is able to understand, analyze and evaluate complex written texts and oral speeches belonging to various specialized text types and genres; s/he is able to use the competences acquired through the corpus-assisted empirical analysis of discourse, to make and evaluate translation, revision and drafting choices.

Course contents

The module introduces students to the basics of corpus linguistics and allows them to practice its methods through extensive corpus-assisted discourse analysis work. The acquisition of the competences and capacities outlined in the learning outcomes is favoured by the provision of hands-on activities in which theoretical notions and methods are applied to different registers and text types, such as blogs, political speeches, press conferences, newspaper articles, etc.

The module, which aims to increase the students' awareness of their own expressive means and to improve their discourse analytical skills, has two parts. Part A, taught by Anna Marchi, covers the theoretical and methodological bases of corpus linguistics. Part B, taught by Cinzia Bevitori, deepens and extends the competences acquired in part A, applying them to corpus-assisted discourse analysis of selected text types.

Lastly, academic writing competences are specifically focused upon in a 20-hour seminar ("lettorato"), devoted to them.


Baker, P. 2006. Using Corpora and Discourse Analysis, London: Continuum

McEnery, T. and A. Hardie 2012. Corpus linguistics. Method, theory and practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (selected chapters)

Partington, A., Duguid A. & Taylor. 2013. Patterns and meanings in discourse. Theory and practice in Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. C. (eds)

Other readings will be chosen jointly by the lecturers and the students, based on the areas of application of corpus linguistics focused upon. Students will be encouraged to actively search for relevant literature, and to share it with the class.

Teaching methods

The module is structured around a) a series of lectures covering the main theoretical and methodological aspects of corpus linguistics, and b) extensive hands-on, workshop-like lessons in which students apply the knowledge gained in the lectures by building and using their own corpora and by consulting existing ones available in the public domain.

Hands-on activities are based on case-studies, examined autonomously or in small groups. Peer support and the lecturers' scaffolding create a learner-centred environment conducive to the development of relational and problem-solving skills.

Assessment methods

Success in learning is assessed through observation and interaction in class and through unassessed coursework such as oral presentations and short writing exercises, along the lines of the final exam.

The end of course exam consists in the preparation of a short paper of a research project involving the use of corpus-assisted methodologies and techniques.

The paper should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words, with a list of references (not included in the word count). It should provide a clear outline of the aim of the paper, including clearly articulated research question(s), details about the research approach and method(s), and preliminary results.

The paper will be submitted by mail to the course teachers who will make a preliminary assessment to be followed by a brief interview with the candidate about the work, resulting in a final assessment grade.

The paper is assessed jointly by the lecturers. A maximum of 15 points out of 30 is assigned on the basis of formal/linguistic aspects: written and oral academic English language skills (lexis and grammar, structure, register and genre). The remaining 15 points are assigned on the basis of content (competences and skills related to the subject matter of the module): understanding of theoretical notions, command of techniques for searching, analysing and reporting corpus data, capacity for original thought and argumentation.

Formal/linguistic aspects (language skills)

  • 15 points: excellent language skills
  • 10-12 points: good/very good language skills
  • 9 points: sufficient language skills
  • 0-8 points: inadequate/seriously deficient language skills

Content-related aspects (competences and skills related to the subject matter of the module)

  • 15 points: excellent subject-related competences and capacities
  • 10-12 points: good/very good subject-related competences and capacities
  • 9 points: sufficient subject-related competences and capacities
  • 0-8 points: inadequate/seriously deficient subject-related competences and capacities

Selection of Book chapters/Articles for the Oral exam
(1 of your own choice )

Bednarek, M. 2012. Construing ‘nerdiness’: characterisation in The Big Bang Theory. Multilingua 31: 199-229.

Bevitori, C. and Marchi A. 2022. Representations of citizens/hip in 230 years of American history. A diachronic corpus-assisted approach, «USABROAD» Vol. 5, pp. 1 - 15

Duguid, A., Partington, A., Absence. You don't know what you're missing. Or do you?, in: Corpus Approaches to Discourse, London & New York, Routledge, 2018, pp. 38 - 58

Egbert, J. & Schnur, E. 2018. The role of the text in corpus and discourse analysis: missing the trees for the forest. In C. Taylor & A. Marchi (eds.) Corpus Approaches to Discourse: a Critical Review. London and New York: Routledge, pp.159-173.

Gabrielatos, C. and Baker, P. (2008). Fleeing, Sneaking, Flooding: A Corpus Analysis of Discursive Constructions of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK Press, 1996-2005. Journal of English Linguistics 36(1): 5–38

Jaworska, S. and Krishnamurty, R. 2012. On the F-word: a corpus-based analysis of the media representation of Feminism in British and German press discourse, 1990–2009. Discourse and Society 23(4): 401–431.

Hunt, S. 2015. Representations of gender and agency in the Harry Potter series.in T. McEnery & P. Baker. Corpora and Discourse Studies: Integrating Discourse and Corpora. 266-284

Hunston, S. 2010. How can a corpus be used to explore patterns?

Krishnamurthy, R. (1996). Ethnic, racial and tribal: the language of racism? In C. R. Cadlas-Coulthard and M. Coulthard (eds.) Texts and Practices: Readings in Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Routledge, pp: 129–49.

Marchi, A. (2010). ‘The moral in the story’: a diachronic investigation of lexicalised morality in the UK press. Corpora 5(2): 161–190.

Morley, J. and Partington, A. (2009). A few Frequently Asked Questions about semantic – or evaluative – prosody. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 14(2): 139–58.

Partington, A. (2009). Evaluating evaluation and some concluding thoughts on CADS. 332 In J. Morley and P. Bayley (eds.), pp. 261–303

Taylor, C. (2010). Science in the news: a diachronic perspective. Corpora 5(2): 221– 50.

Taylor, C. (2013). Searching for similarity using corpus-assisted discourse studies. Corpora 8(1): 81–113.

Wilkinson M. 2019. ‘Bisexual oysters’: A diachronic corpus-based critical discourse analysis of bisexual representation in The Times between 1957 and 2017 Discourse and Communication Volume 13, Issue 2


Teaching tools

Both lecture-like and workshop-like sessions take place in a computer lab equipped with PCs and a data projector, so as to be able to switch back and forth between the two teaching methods.

Slides are used for lectures and subsequently made available to the students via the Virtual platform, in pdf format.

During workshop sessions, students have individual hands-on access to software for constructing and analysing corpora

As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students must attend the [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] [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].

Office hours

See the website of Cinzia Bevitori

See the website of Anna Marchi