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By the end of the course the student will be able to:

  1. comprehend and analyse written and multimodal texts in English pertaining to policy-making, diplomacy and the media;

  2. identify strategies and features of international negotiations and integrate them, to some extent, in simulations of real-life political scenarios;

  3. present specific topics and issues in English clearly and effectively.

Knowledge and understanding

The English Activities module develops the students’ linguistic and metalinguistic competences in English and provides them with some discourse analysis tools meant to help them in their in-depth reading, analysis and interpretation of diplomatic, political, institutional and media discourses. The students will be sensitized to aspects of style, culture and ideology shaping language encoding in each and every communicative act, be it a political speech, a news report or a conference.

Applying knowledge and understanding

The students will develop their ability to analyse institutional, sociopolitical and academic texts related to international relations and diplomacy. Moreover, through practical activities and simulations, they will familiarize themselves with the style most appropriate to formal political and institutional settings, including negotiations.

Further expected learning outcomes:

  • Making judgements: Through practical activities, the students learn how to explore some crucial issues such as the role of diplomacy and soft power in international relations as well as the policymaker’s agenda.

  • Communication skills: the individual tasks and groupwork activities carried out in class will help students develop their ability to use the indirect language and negotiation techniques typical of diplomacy as well as their ability to argue their opinions and disagree politely. Based on the seminars, workshops and hands-on practice, students will enhance their language skills and argumentation techniques.

  • Learning skills: Throughout the module students will develop their linguistic and metalinguistic awareness in English with a view to analysing and interpreting the political and sociocultural dynamics evidenced in written and multimodal discourses.


Views of diplomacy –hard and soft power – diplomatic discourse – stages of a formal negotiation – team roles and rapport building – cross-cultural communication –questioning techniques – formal and informal language – persuasive discourse and pressure tactics – arguing one’s position– disagreeing politely – negotiating skills – political discourse – media discourse – International Relations lexis and collocations


Adrian Holliday, John Kullman, & Martin Hyde. 2017. Intercultural Communication. An advanced resource book for students. London, Routledge.

Michael McCarthy, Felicity O’ Dell, 2008, Academic Vocabulary in Use, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.


Learning results to be verified

The students’ achievement of the learning objectives is tested by a written and oral examination on a

30-point scale. The written test consists of 30 questions testing the students’ lexico-grammatical competence and their ability to turn informal sentences into formal ones and viceversa. The oral test is divided into two parts:

1) a discussion of contemporary issues

2) an exposition of three specific topics dealt with in class with reference to texts and background reading. In order to pass the examination, students will demonstrate they are capable of analysing complex institutional and media texts in English clearly and effectively.

Assessment method

Written and oral examination

Multiple choices

Open questions

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