ENG2167 – Linguistics and literature in English

Course content

Linguistics is the study of the structure of language and how language is used. Literature involves the use of language, sometimes in ways that push language to its limits.

This course explores ways that theoretical tools from linguistics can be applied to understand how literary texts are interpreted, and, conversely, ways in which literary texts provide interesting data and problems for theories of language and its use.

The course includes discussion of the following:

  • How literary texts and their interpretations compare with other kinds of language use
  • The open-ended nature of literary texts and the active role of the reader
  • Figurative speech, such as metaphor and irony

Learning outcome

After completing this course you will

• be familiar with the application of some linguistic theories to the analysis of literary texts

• have knowledge of some theoretical accounts of figurative speech and poetic effects

• have some insight into the contested notion of the meaning of a literary text

• have skills in scholarly writing that applies one or more linguistic theories to literary texts


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The course requires ENG1100 – English Grammar or similar knowledge.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with ENG4167 – Linguistics and literature in English


The course is taught for ten weeks of the semester, with a two hour seminar per week: 20 hours in all. Attendance is compulsory at 8 out of 10 seminars. Students must play an active role in the seminars in order to pass the course.

Students are required to hand in one paper of an acceptable standard by a set deadline during the semester to be allowed to submit the term paper.


Examination support material

The grade will be based on a term paper of 10 pages (4000 words)

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Spring 2019


Spring 2019

Teaching language