Speech Studies

Instructor:Varvara Danilina
Authors:Liudmila MinaevaVarvara Danilina
Updated:3 February, 2016

Course Summary

In this course, students will discuss theoretical issues connected with language and speech, inner and external speech, oral and written communication; they will analyze communicative behavior and individual styles of different speakers, and focus on speechwriting, from speaker and audience analysis to editing a speech and preparing it for delivery. The first half of the course helps students to broaden their knowledge in linguistics, whereas the second half equips them for practical work as PR professionals, who have to prepare talks and addresses for top managers on a day-to-day basis.

Course Format

Hours of lectureHours of discussionHours of independent studyTotal numbers of hours

Please note that the time spent on independent study exceeds hours of lecture and discussion.

Course Content

The course will cover the following topics:

  1. Speechology as a branch of linguistics (4 hours)
    • Language and speech
    • Inner speech and external speech
    • Speech as the primary manifestation of language
    • Stylistics. Pragmatics. Speech act theory. New rhetoric. Discourse analysis.
  2. The dialectic unity of spoken and written modes of communication (4 hours)
    • Relationship between speech and writing
    • Prosody and punctuation
    • Strategies of speech behavior and social variation in language use
    • Text analysis
  3. Speech Writing (12 hours)
    • Steps to successful speech writing
    • Stylization in speechwriting
    • Analyzing the speaker’s individual style
    • Analyzing the speech situation and adapting to the audience
    • Drafting and editing a speech
    • Rehearsing and preparing the speech for delivery

Reading List

Required reading:

  1. Crystal, D. (2007). How Language Works. Penguin Group.
  2. Aronson, M., Spetner, D. & Ames, C. (2007). The Public Relations Writer’s Handbook: The Digital Age. John Wiley & Sons, USA.
  3. Language and Communication. Elsevier. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/14751585/21

Recommended reading:

  1. John Lyons (2009). Language and Linguistics. Cambridge University Press.
  2. Alexandrova O.V., Komova T.A. (2007). Modern English Grammar. Morphology and Syntax. Moscow: Academia.
  3. Svyazi s obshchestvennost’u. Sostavlenie dokumentov: Teoriya i praktika. (2012). Ed. by L. Minaeva. 2nd edition. Moscow: Aspect Press (in Russian).

Online resources:

  1. Websites of public, private, and nonprofit organizations.

Homework Assignments

You will be expected to prepare a 5-minute talk on speechology, discourse analysis or another topic covered in the first part of the course. In the second part of the course, you will write a text analysis paper. In the third part of the course, you will prepare a “Speechwriter’s Portfolio” that will include your analysis of a speaker’s individual style, analysis of the speech situation, and the text of a speech you would write for this particular person in the outlined circumstances.


It is a pass/fail course. To get a pass, you should complete all the assignments.