Course content

Conceptions concerning what is true or false are constantly changing. The course offers a nuanced view of a growing cross-disciplinary research field, which investigates how language is used as action in a social context. It details concepts, methods, and approaches that have been developed in linguistics, philosophy, cognition studies, rhetoric, and discourse analysis to investigate language as action.

The course contains a unique assembly of research perspectives, including linguistic diversity, semiotics, and experimental methods, in order to account for what counts as lie, truth, and deception in different cultures and discourses. What does experimental psychology say about hearers’ sensitivity to fake news and bullshit?

The course critically discusses the concepts of truth, lies, and deception on the basis of how they are used in speech and writing. It offers analytical tools and applies these to argument analysis of e.g. propaganda and public discourse on contemporary political and normative issues.

The course aims to provide the students with an understanding of linguistic methods and approaches that are relevant to the analysis of truth, lies, and deception, and to contribute to the development of their ability to question fake news, propaganda and deceptive argumentation.

Learning outcomes

In order to pass the course, students are expected to be able to:

  • give an account of central theories concerning truth, lies, and deception as linguistic acts
  • demonstrate knowledge of inter-cultural similarities and differences with regard to said linguistic acts from a typological perspective
  • apply linguistic methods and tools with an aim to critically evaluate and analyze said linguistic acts
  • critically evaluate and identify truth, lies, and deception in public/political discourse from a synchronic and diachronic perspective

Practical information

Mandatory elements are: i) active participation in seminars, ii) active participation in lab exercises, iii) submission of essays, iv) oral presentation.

The course is examined through written assignments and an oral presentation.

Instruction is given in the form of lectures, lab exercises, and seminars, in which the doctorate students are expected to participate actively.

NB. The course is offered on campus.

Period: 2023-01-16 - 2023-03-20

Course dates: see schedule below

Language of instruction: English

Course directors: professor Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm and assistant professor Julia Uddén

Course title in Swedish: Språklig analys av sanning, lögn och vilseledande

The course is offered by the Department of Linguistics, in collaboration with the Department of Slavic and Baltic Studies, Finnish, Dutch and German and the Department of Philosophy.