Teaching Unit 1: "From words to clauses: an introduction to syntax".
From words to phrases: formal and functional categories. The principle of embedding. Analysis and description of clause constituents. Clause types. Verbs and verb complementation. Word order. Aspects of contrastive syntax. Practical applications (language consolidation, sample translations).
Teaching Unit 2: "Discourse practices in intercultural professional communication".
This teaching unit will be devoted to introducing the concept of LSP with a special focus on socially-mediated discursive practices in professional settings and intercultural interaction. Cross- and inter-cultural aspects of professional communication will then be applied to the discourse of business negotiation. Students will develop linguistic and theoretical competences suited to communicating effectively in multicultural business settings.
Teaching Unit 3: "An intercultural approach to identity construction/display in business discourse".
This teaching unit will introduce the concepts of identity applied to various forms of corporate communication in transcultural settings. Teaching will be based on text analysis and will focus on the investigation and assessment of the communicative coordinates of the texts under consideration both in the source and in the target culture, with a view to identifying the discursive, textual and linguistic strategies used in their (re)formulation, especially from an intercultural perspective. The range of materials analyzed will include both written and multimodal texts.
Non-attending students have the same programme as those who are able to attend classes.
Prerequisites for admission
Students must complete the first year English language course in order to be admitted to this course.
The language of instruction is English. A working knowledge of Italian is required to perform simple translation tasks.
The course is lecture-based and divided into three teaching units.
Language practice sessions ("esercitazioni") are scheduled in addition to the teaching units (see official timetable). Students are strongly advised to attend them.
Language practice sessions aim to improve students' general language skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking) as well as develop specific skills in the area of business, with a special focus on business writing and interaction (business negotiation). Sight translation practice sessions are also scheduled (second term only). Speaking practice sessions will also be organized in the second term.
Students who attend classes regularly may have their competences assessed through ongoing assessment. Further information will be provided during the practice sessions.
Teaching Unit 1
Ballard, Kim 2013. Frameworks of English. Introducing Language Structures, London, Palgrave. ISBN:9780230392427 (third edition) Chapters 2, 5, 6 and 7.
Teaching Unit 2
Schnurr, Stephanie and Zayst, Olga 2017. Language and Culture at Work, Abingdon and New York, Routledge.
Teaching Unit 3
Chiaro, Delia 2007. "A question of taste: Translating the flavour of Italy". In Garzone, G. / Ilie, C. (eds) The Use of English in Institutional and Business Settings. Bern: Peter Lang, 57-77.
Degano, Chiara 2009. "Marketing identities on Nestlé's website" In Garzone, G. / Catenaccio, P. (eds) Identities across Media and Modes: Discursive Perspectives. Bern: Peter Lang, 189-213.
Goldsmith, Daena J. 2006. "Brown and Levinson's Politeness Theory". In Whaley B.B. / Samter W. (eds) Explaining Communication. Mahwah / New Jersey / London: Lauwrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 243- 262.
Leonard, Karen Moustafa, Van Scotter, James R. and Pakdil, Fatma 2009. "Culture and Communication Cultural Variations and Media Effectiveness". Administration & Society 41(7), 850-877.
Riboni, Giorgia 2017. "Languages for Specific Purposes on YouTube: A Cross-cultural and Cross-linguistic Analysis of English and Italian Makeup Tutorials". ESP across Cultures 2017(14), 231- 249. Available at
Vicentini, Alessandra / Grego, Kim 2009. "Building South African Web Identity: Health Care Information for Citizens vs Foreigners". In Garzone, G. / Catenaccio, P. (eds) Identities across Media and Modes: Discursive perspectives. Bern: Peter Lang, 137-162.
Würtz, Elizabeth 2005. "Intercultural Communication on Web Sites: A Cross‐cultural Analysis of Web Sites from High‐context Cultures and Low‐context Cultures". Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication 11(1), 274-299.
During lectures additional materials will be provided for classroom use and personal study for the three teaching units. All additional materials will be made available on the course website.
In the language practice sessions the following books will be used:
Brook-Hart, Guy Business Benchmark Upper Intermediate Student's Book 2nd Edition, CUP, 2013 ISBN 9781107680982
Emmerson, Paul. Business Grammar Builder 2nd Edition. Macmillan, 2010 ISBN 9780230732544
Assessment methods and Criteria
Assessment is exam-based. Prior to sitting the final examination, students will have to successfully complete a written and an oral language test. It is necessary to pass the written language test to be able to sit the oral language test. Both tests must be completed before you sit the oral exam with the course subject professor. Written language testing typically takes place at the beginning of each exam period (May, September, January). The procedure is as follows:
1. sit and pass the language skills written test;
2. sign up for the oral exam; before you can sit it, you must show your language competence in the language skills oral test. Remember that you must sit the preliminary language skills oral test and the exam on the same day (you cannot split the two). Please note that you may already have obtained marks for the language skills oral test test and/or part of the final exam in the course of the academic year. If this is the case, you only need to complete the parts you have not yet obtained marks for.
Language skills written test
This written test is composed of two parts:
a. use of English (no dictionary allowed): gapfill exercises (for a total of 30 gaps) testing grammar and vocabulary (general & business English) at B2+ level. Gapfill tasks may be cloze tests, multiple choice, sentence completion, vocabulary extension etc. Examples will be provided and posted on the course website. This part of the exam may be administered in electronic format. (30 minutes)
b. business translation (monolingual dictionary only): translation from Italian into English of a short business text (100-120 words) (e-mail, memo, short factual report, formal correspondence) (45 minutes)
Students who speak Italian as a second language may use a bilingual dictionary between their first language and Italian.
Language skills oral test
Students will participate in a simulated oral interaction task on a business-related topic. Assessment will be based on command of the language and will evaluate correctness of structure and vocabulary, general intelligibility (adequacy of pronunciation and intonation patterns), fluency and authenticity/idiomaticity (B2 plus level). Students may obtain a mark for this part of the assessment during language practice sessions (interim assessment). Students who have not been assessed during language practice sessions will have to take the language skills oral test on the same day as they sit the oral exam with the course subject professor.
Only students who have successfully passed both the written and the oral language skills tests will be able to sit the final exam.
The final exam will consist in an oral exam with the course subject professors, who will award the final mark. Students will have to prove that they have mastered the concepts covered during the course and can talk about them in an academically appropriate manner. They must be prepared to discuss theoretical principles with reference to case studies discussed in class (which will be made available online for students unable to attend classes regularly). Students will also be tested on the technique of sight translation (oral translation from English into Italian of a few lines from a business-related text which has NOT been made available to students prior to the examination).
Part of the syllabus may be assessed through computer-based testing or in written form (closed questions). Interim tests may take place at the end of each unit. Marks obtained in the interim tests will go towards the formulation of the final mark.