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Introduction to Communication

  • Module code: EN4002
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 4
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None


This module is a core requirement for students of English Language and Communication. It introduces students to language as a tool for human communication drawing on linguistics and its related disciplines. The main features of the module are (a) its focus on the analysis of language use and meaning in context and (b) its concern with key issues in intercultural communication.

Students will study language as communication in its social and cultural contexts and gain an insight into the formation of meaning and social relationships. The module will initiate students to the key concepts and frameworks for describing and analysing discourse, (i.e. language above the sentence), with specific reference to meaning in context, talk in interaction, narrative practices and discourse strategies in intercultural encounters.  

By the end of this module, students should have gained an insight into the nature of human communication and feel competent at discussing instances of everyday and institutional communication, demonstrating familiarity with the key frameworks in the study of communication in linguistics.  This module will also encourage the development of students' interactional and intercultural competencies.  


The main aims of the module are to:

  • introduce students to linguistic theories of communication, including intercultural communication;
  • provide students with an insight into the nature of human communication, with an emphasis on language as discourse and as situated practice;
  • equip students with the terms, concepts and tools required to describe and discuss real samples of language and communication within and across cultures at a basic level;
  • develop students' interactional and intercultural competencies.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate familiarity with linguistic theories of communication;
  • demonstrate awareness of how language works for/in communication based on descriptions and discussions of instances discourse and social interaction;
  • demonstrate an ability to discuss issues in intercultural communication;
  • demonstrate interactional and intercultural competence. 

Curriculum content

Topics students will engage with include:

  • Writing language

  • Communication vs language vs speech Writing language

  • Discourse in action

  • Schemas, scripts and frames

  • Misunderstandings in institutional talk

  • Advertising across countries

  • Competence in intercultural communication

Teaching and learning strategy

Teaching and learning will be based on a combination of one-hour tutor-led (keynote) lectures where students will be introduced to key concepts and theories and interactive lectures where students will actively explore concepts and theories via guided discussions and activities. Students will have the opportunity to consolidate their understanding of topics in seminars by following up on the lecture topics via tasks that prepare students for summative assessment where a formal grade is recorded. Such formative assessment include group discussions, guided debates and activities on weekly topics, oral presentations, online tests, peer assessment and participation (a selection of these formative tasks may be subject to bonus points that count towards the total mark for the module). Students will be encouraged to work in study groups on reading and discussion activities independently or assisted by a student mentor, when possible. Independent study will include further reading and guided research towards formative and summative assessment. Finally, in the context of the personal tutorial hour students will be assisted in their transition to Higher Education, encouraged to develop good academic habits and prepared to make the most of feedback on their tasks.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lectures Seminars 22 22
Guided independent study Directed reading, study and assignment preparation 244
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The assessment is a portfolio of work (100%) that encourages students' engagement with specific concepts and basic principles in the study of human communication, with an emphasis on language. The portfolio may include, for example, coursework in the form of a 2,000-word essay and the submission of a blog post or a group presentation commenting on everyday, institutional or intercultural communication in terms of communication aspects discussed in the classroom. In order to assess students' development of intercultural competence, students will be required to fulfil the requirements of an intercultural competence online test. 

Formative assessment:

Students will be assessed formatively through a range of tasks, both in-class and online that will support them in developing the skills required for the completion of their summative assessment. In addition to seminar activities focusing on communication skills, informal group presentations will further encourage students to develop their interactional and intercultural competence. The submission of short pieces of writing on selected aspects of the module throughout the year will provide students with feed-forward on their strengths and weakness. Finally assessment workshops and one-to-one tutorials will further support students in successfully completing the requirements for the module. 

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Demonstrate familiarity with linguistic theories of communication; Formatively via short pieces of writing throughout the year summatively via discussion essay;
Demonstrate awareness of how language works for/in communication based on descriptions and discussions of instances of discourse and social interaction; Formatively via language analysis sessions in interactive lectures and summatively via essay and blog post;
Demonstrate an ability to discuss issues in intercultural communication; Formatively via in-class seminar tasks, group presentations and online discussions and summatively via essay and blog post;
Demonstrate interactional and intercultural competence. Formatively via seminar activities, on-line questionnaires and group presentations and summatively via intercultural competence test.

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Portfolio 100
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS a requirement that the major category of assessment is passed in order to achieve an overall pass for the module.

Bibliography core texts

Jones, R. (2012) Discourse Analysis. A Resource Book for Students. Oxon: Routledge.

Piller, I. (2011) Intercultural Communication: A Critical Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Bibliography recommended reading

Holliday, A., Hyde, M. And Kullman, J. (2004) Intercultural Communication. An Advanced Resource Book. London and New York: Routledge.

Kothoff, H. and Spencer-Oatey, H. (2007) Handbook of Intercultural Communication. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter

Kress, G. (2010) Multimodality. A social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. Oxon: Routledge.

Scollon, R. and Scollon, S. W. (2001). Intercultural Communication. A discourse approach. 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell.

Piller, I. (2011) Intercultural Communication. A Critical Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Zhu, H. (2011) The Language and Intercultural Communication Reader. London and New York: Routledge.

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