HENK00032U CANCELED English, 2017 curriculum - Free topic 2: Cognitive Poetics: The Human Mind and the Language of Literature + English as a Lingua Franca

Volume 2017/2018



Cognitive Poetics: The Human Mind and the Language of Literature

Cognitive Poetics (or cognitive stylistics) is a branch of stylistics – that is, the study of the language of literature – which draws on Cognitive Linguistics (i.e. the study of language and the human mind) and, more broadly, cognitive science. The main focus of stylistics at large is the literary effect of linguistic choices made (or linguistic strategies used) in texts. One of the main foci of Cognitive Poetics is the reader's interaction with, and decoding and construal of, the literary text (which in Cognitive Poetics is understood very broadly as including, not only the literary canon, but also textual products such as lyrics in popular music as well as stage and screen drama). Ultimately, Cognitive Poetics is a brand of stylistics that seeks to relate literature to the human experience in its analysis of literary language and its literary effects, relating its findings to what is known about human cognition. In this course, students will be introduced to theoretical concepts in Cognitive Poetics and the practical application thereof in the analysis of literary and non-literary texts of various types. Students will also become familiar with principles from literary stylistics, cognitive linguistics and cognitive science as such. The overarching goal of the course is to provide students with tools for the analysis of language in literature which may be applied within and beyond the realm of literary texts.


English as a lingua franca

When English is used as a means of interaction between speakers with different first languages we say that English is used as a lingua franca. Arguably, this may be the most common way for English to be used worldwide today, and it therefore makes perfect sense that ‘English as a lingua franca’ (or ‘ELF’ for short) in recent years – despite much controversy – has been established as an object of study in its own right. Through a mix of teacher-led discussions, data sessions and student presentations this course will treat some of the central questions addressed within the area of ELF research: What is English as a lingua franca – and why should we study it? Is ELF a new variety of English? What characterizes the interaction we find in ELF encounters? Is it different from the interaction we find in situations where English is used as a shared first language? Is ELF merely a tool for communication, or is it also a medium that speakers can use to express or establish identity? Does ELF represent a challenge to standard language ideology? And what are the implications of ELF research for language teaching? Since ELF is currently being examined from several different perspectives, the course will introduce students to a range of disciplines and methodologies within the general area of linguistics, including sociolinguistics, conversation analysis and corpus linguistics. Students who are interested in pursuing ELF research further will have ample opportunity to generate ideas for future research projects as part of the course. 

Cognitive Poetics: The Human Mind and the Language of Literature


  • Stockwell, Peter (2002). Cognitive Poetics: An Introduction. London: Routledge.
  • Compendium: Selected Readings in Cognitive Poetics. [contains excerpts from textbooks and research monographs as well as research articles]


English as a lingua franca

Preliminary list of readings

Classes, with particular emphasis on reading primary and secondary texts, oral discussion and developing proficiency in English.
This course only leads to exams Free Topic 1, Free Topic 2 and Free Topic 3.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 353,5
  • Total
  • 409,5
Type of assessment
Portfolio, A joint portfolio for both courses uploaded in digital exam: Deadline June 12th 2018
Cognitive Poetics: The Human Mind and the Language of Literature
Two portfolio assignments:
Assignment 1: deadline: March (5-7 standard pages; weighted 25%)
Assignment 2: deadline: May (5-7 standard pages; weighted 25%)

English as a lingua franca
Evaluation format
Portfolio content: Home assignment (11-15 pages) to be submitted at the end of the course as part of the student’s individual portfolio. Students will be given the opportunity to submit draft elements of the assignment for feedback in course weeks 6 and 10.
Exam registration requirements

This course only leads to exams Free Topic 1, Free Topic 2 and Free Topic 3.

Criteria for exam assesment