EGH326 : Text-Worlds

Convener(s): Professor Joanna Gavins


General Information

This module introduces students to Text World Theory, a cognitive-linguistic framework which aims to understand how human beings create mental representations, or 'text-worlds', of discourse in their minds. The module provides an opportunity to explore the text-world approach to the analysis of language, as well as a range of related ideas and frameworks from the disciplines of linguistics, psychology, philosophy, narratology, and stylistics. We will examine, for example, the influence of context on the production and reception of language; how knowledge is deployed during the discourse process; the linguistic means through which text-worlds are built and developed; how text-worlds can become immersive and emotionally affecting; and the ways in which multiple text-worlds can be constructed and embedded across extended stretches of language. Students will be introduced to the core components of Text World Theory and will develop the skills necessary to apply this approach to a range of different text types in a practical and systematic manner. In both their class discussions and their assessments, students will have the freedom to use Text World Theory to explore both literary and non-literary discourse of their own choosing and to suit their own interests.


Students will have two separate learning hours each week. The first hour will take the form of an interactive lecture in which the whole cohort will discuss preparatory reading the students will have completed in advance of their class and the tutor will clarify and give examples of key theoretical concepts. Students will have the opportunity to refine their understanding of the ideas under consideration with their peers and with their tutor.

In the second learning hour, students will participate in a smaller seminar and will be encouraged to bring in their own analyses of discourse examples of their choice, making practical use of the ideas introduced in their reading and the lecture hour. They will have the opportunity to discuss and develop their analyses with their peers and with their seminar tutor.


For their first assessment, students will submit a learning diary on the module’s MOLE site. For weeks 2-5 of the module, students will log their weekly reading and provide accompanying short reflections on each of their seminar discussions. The word count for each diary entry is 300 words, giving a total of 1200 words for this assessment (30% of the total module grade).

For the second assessment, students will undertake an extended, practical application of the text-world approach to a discourse example of their choice. Students will be encouraged to pursue their own research interests and select a text for analysis in consultation with their module tutor. They will articulate their analysis of their chosen text through a 2500-word essay (70% of the total module grade).

Contact Details

0114 222 0195

Information last changed: Tuesday 21st of March 2017 :: 11:44:10 AM (GMT)

Please note: This module may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the course convener.


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK