Module code: CMCM052

Module Overview

In this course, we will learn how to apply concepts from linguistics, in particular pragmatics, and semiotics to the analysis of advertisements. We will examine how advertisement designers exploit linguistic and visual means in order to communicate messages, and to persuade and manipulate their recipients. We will look at how this is accomplished by means of different linguistic and rhetorical figures, and how information is conveyed indirectly, e.g. through the use of presupposition and implicature, and through non-verbal signs, such as images or colours. We will consider advertisements in various media, including newspapers/journals, radio, TV and the internet and we will examine the effect of culture on the production and perception of advertisements.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

DIPPOLD Doris (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: N561

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Pragmatic concepts used in analyzing advertisements

  • Semiotic concepts used in analyzing advertisements

  • Role of different media in advertising

  • Role of culture in advertising

  • Data capture and analysis

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation PROJECT GROUP ORAL PRESENTATION 20

Alternative Assessment

Individual presentation (not necessarily in front of the whole seminar) 40%

Assessment Strategy

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

  • the development in their speaking and writing skills

  • their understanding of the context of their work in historical and cultural terms

  • their development of research and writing skills

  • productive and informed critical reflection on both the creative process itself and the finished work that has resulted from it

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Mid-Semester project group oral presentations (20%)

Individual written summary of analysis presented in the presentation (500 words) (20%)

End of Semester Extended writing piece 1500 words (60%)

Formative assessment and feedback.

Verbal feedback in class plus written and/or oral feedback on project work.

Module aims

  • To introduce basic concept of pragmatics, semiotics that can be applied to the study of advertisements
  • To identify and analyze linguistic and non-linguistic means used by advertisement designers
  • To examine the significance of cultural factors in advertising
  • To collect and analyze empirical data

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate knowledge of the main concepts from semiotics, pragmatics and general linguistics relevant for the analysis of advertisements K
002 Show an ability to identify these concepts in advertisements C
003 Show an ability to interpret the use of these concepts, the messages they help to convey and the effect they produce on their recipient C
004 Display awareness of the impact of cultural factors on advertising C
005 Demonstrate an ability to carry out a critical analysis of advertisements by applying the above skills CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Seminar Hours: 22

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


  • Develop students’ understanding of scholarship in the role of language in advertising

  • Equip students with some of the research and analytic skills they will need to evaluate the (lack of) effectiveness of advertising across cultural contexts with a view to suggesting solutions.


The learning and teaching methods include:


2 hour seminar x 11 weeks. In each session notions will be presented, discussed and applied. These will be evaluated week by week as new notions are introduced. At least one session towards the end of the module will be devoted to discussing the written assignment according to students’ essay plans.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.