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Linguistics: Exploring The Link Between Language & Power – The Power of Word Choice – University Tutorial With Dr Kim Ridealgh From University of East Anglia

22nd November 2021 @ 16:45 - 17:30



In this live interactive Linguistics tutorial, we will be joined by Dr Kim Ridealgh, a leading university academic from UEA, who will explore the link between language and power by discussing Divide or Unite? The Power of Word Choice.

The full context/introduction to this live and interactive discussion is provided by UEA in a Headliner recorded resource (see below) which offers insights into the key academic research and debate related to this fascinating topic. This recording can be watched as a class activity or independently in preparation for the discussion and develops the points below:

Power is a key sociolinguistic variable that permeates our day-to-day life. Power determines how we interact with others and controls the type of language we experience through daily communications, the media, even things like adverts! It’s so engrained into our daily lives, we often take it for granted. A good example is the effect Power has within the language used within your school for example. Your teachers hold the power in the teacher/student relationship and can use certain language to communicate with students that would be deemed inappropriate if used by the students themselves – i.e., more imperative commands, “don’t do that!, “sit down!” and so on. Why do you think teachers have the power in this relationship dynamic?

In this session we will look at the relationship between power and ideologies, and how individuals can be persuaded to change or enforce their ideologies — their view of the world — through linguistic devices found in political speeches and newspaper articles. How are we being persuaded to believe the same as those who are producing these discourses through word choice? By using Critical Discourse Analysis, we will work together to explore how we can identify this language and build up further knowledge about who produced it and what their goal is — is it to bring people together? Is it to divide? 

The session aims to deepen students’ understanding of the topic whilst enabling them to access and experience a live online university tutorial. This talk mirrors modules students can take at UEA in the final year of their degree in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies and will be of interest to students studying language and linguistics, but also politics and sociology.

The Headliner recording is below.


Lecturer Profile (Please Click): Dr Kim Ridealgh

Our events are designed so that a group of students can take part from a classroom, or students and teachers can take part as individuals, either from school or from home. This means that sessions will continue irrespective of possible school closures.

As a live, participative event, this session will not be recorded but access to the Headliner recording will continue to be accessible.


Suitable for: Key Stage 5 students studying or with an interest in studying Language and Linguistics and related subjects. It will also be relevant for students of Sociology and Politics. Teachers and members of school staff, as always, are welcome too and participants can join as individuals from school/college or home, or as a group from school/college.

Preparation/Pre-Reading: Students are asked to watch the Headliner recording and consider some of the key issues.

The IT Setup: The event will be run on Bluejeans and participants will be able to join using laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. If you are joining as a school group, we recommend connecting with one device and projecting on to a whiteboard. You will be able to interact with the university via a microphone and/or typed comments and questions. Full details will be sent to those who have registered (see below) prior to the event.

Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you would like to take part in this event, please register your interest using the link to the registration form below: