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Accreditata MUR con D.M. 02/12/2005
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Comunicazione innovativa, multimediale e digitale, classe L-20

Verbal Communication and Media languages


Anno accademico: 2021/2022



Crediti: 6 ECT CFU

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Caterina Ferrini is a researcher in Glottology and Linguistics at the IUL Telematic University. She holds a PhD in Historical Linguistics, Educational Linguistics and Italianistics. Italian, other languages and cultures, XXX Cycle at the University for Foreigners of Siena. Her scientific activity concerns the areas of language sciences with particular attention to the linguistic component of Italian migrations in the world, the language of hate on social networks and the language of wine.

The course is divided into two modules. In the first module the basic terms and concepts of the discipline are presented: the subject studied, the history of the ideas of sign and the language. In the second module, the student is approached to precise objects of multimedia communication with particular reference to the compositional operations of the language of social networks and its aberrant manifestations such as Hate Speech and Fake News.


Module 1 – The sign

  • 1. The sign and communication.
  • 2. Brief history of the study of the sign.
  • 3. The structure of the linguistic sign.
  • 4. Langue and words.
  • 5. Synchrony and Diachrony.
  • 6. Sociolinguistic variation.
  • 7. The Linguistic Space.
  • 8. Language functions.
  • 9. The sign in the media: a linguistic evolution?


Module 2 – The Sign in the Media


  • 1. The language of television: the affirmation of Italian in orality.
  • 2. The language of radio.
  • 3. The language of comics.
  • 4. The language of social networks: the affirmation of Italian in reading and writing.
  • 4.1. Hate Speech and Fake News.
  • 5. Practice:
    • 5.1. Disseminating on social networks.
    • 2.5.2. Doing journalism and advertising on social networks.

Media linguistics is the linguistic study of language used in the media. It studies the functioning of language in the media sphere, or modern mass communication presented by print, audiovisual, digital, and networked media.


A. Knowledge and understanding: Documentary and communication skills on course topics.


B. Knowledge and understanding: to be able to observe and analyse the expressive and communicative phenomena of media languages using the fundamental terms and concepts of linguistics.


C. Autonomy of judgement: increasing the critical ability to reflect on public and multimedia communicative


D. Communication skills: The course aims, especially in its monographic parts, to develop writing and management skills in the field of divulgation, journalism and advertising on social networks; to develop the ability to recognise and deconstruct textual occurrences of Hate Speech and Fake News.


E. Learning outcomes: To lead to the analysis of media communication, through documentation actions and analysis of real contexts.

  • Ability to analyse multimedia communicative contexts and situations.


  • Ability to reflect, design and implement multimedia publishing products.



A. Use of advanced textbooks, knowledge of some cutting-edge topics within the subject studied.


B. Professional approach to the work and possession of appropriate skills to devise arguments, support them and to solve problems within the subject studied. Ability to collect and interpret data useful for making independent judgements.

C. Ability to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to specialists and non-specialists.


D. Ability to undertake further studies with a high degree of autonomy


  • 4 hours of recorded video lessons available on the platform (16 lessons);
  • 2 synchronous meetings on the platform (according to a schedule to be provided at the beginning of the semester);
  • Podcasts of all the above-mentioned video lessons.



  • 1 course orientation forum;
  • 2 thematic follow-up forums (1 per module);
  • Possibility to carry out work in groups;
  • 2 structured e-activities (as described in the Section in itinere assessment methods”).



Teaching materials are provided for each module: in-depth thematic studies, articles and slides by the lecturer, open-access readings, online resources, reference bibliography, etc.

Sign and Linguistic Space

  • De Mauro T., Guida all’uso delle parole, Rome, Editori Riuniti:


Writing in social media

  • Ferrini C., (2020), La scrittura social, Pisa, Pacini Editore. Available on the Toscana Open Research Portal:

  • Vedovelli M., (2020), Guida all’uso delle parole scientifiche – Leggere, capire, scrivere di scienza, Pisa, Pacini Editore. Available on the Toscana Open Research Portal:

Reflecting on Hate Speech

  • De Mauro T., (2016), Le parole per ferire, “Internazionale“:
  • Ferrini C., (2020), Muri architettonici e wall virtuali: tra linguaggi d’odio e segni di livore, in R. Petrilli, (ed.), L’odio nel discorso pubblico. Politics, media, society, Round Robin, Rome, pp. 83-97;
  • Turchetta B., (2020), Stranieri ed estranei, come le lingue measurano la diversità, in Raffaella Petrilli (ed.), Hate Speech l’odio nel discorso pubblico, Rome, Round Robin, pp. 89-97.

Access to the final examination is subject to the following 2 e-activities:

  • E-activity 1 – Tracking down a Hate Speech post and a Fake News post on Facebook and deconstructing it in the way learned during the course.
  • E-activity 2 – Writing a Dissemination post, an Advertising post and a Journalistic post according to the methods learned during the course.

The assessment of learning will take the form of an oral interview on the course contents and on the final report submitted, if any. The grade (min 18, max 30 with possible honours) is determined by the level of performance for each of the following dimensions of the oral interview: mastery of contents, appropriateness of definitions and theoretical references, clarity of argument, command of specialist language.