In this course, students are taught to look beyond the surface text to the underlying meaning of the text, and they learn about the context in which the text functions. This context includes the author, target audience, publication medium and communicative purposes. What message is the author exactly trying to communicate to their target audience, and what rhetoric strategies do they use to do this as efficiently as possible? We look at different ways in which the author can subtly influence the reader in order to have a desired effect, and the students learn to recognize these.
The class pays particular attention to genre and genre conventions concerning context, content, linguistic characteristics, typical lay-out and possible deviations from conventions. We treat different textual structures and paragraph types, as well as the different parts of a text and how they function within the whole. We discuss metaphors and other figures of speech and their purpose in the text. The course also contains a linguistic component, which treats, among other things, connotations, subjectivity and register of both individual words and the entire text.
The course is taught as a seminar. We use a practical approach: any theory is immediately applied to several exercise texts. Students will treat a wide range of texts throughout the year, getting acquainted with different text types, genres, registers and structures. The ultimate purpose will be for students to be able to analyze different types of texts on different levels: context, structure, content, language. At the end of the course, students should be able to read and work with texts with increased awareness and insight.
Several classes will be dedicated to media literacy, where students will be encouraged to engage critically with the media that surround them, and to improve their reading and listening comprehension skills.