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Applied Discourse Studies

Our research and work in the area of applied discourse studies focus on how texts and discourse can be designed to suit their linguistic and communicative purpose and how they can be optimised to meet the demands of a specific domain.

Texts and discourse should be created in a style suited to the demands of the domain and/or media they are designed for. We examine linguistic utterances, patterns and practices to determine how they achieve specific functions in the communicative context of the respective discourse. Based on our analysis, we develop proposals for optimisation.

In addressing practice-related (research) issues in professional/organisational situations and interdisciplinary contexts, we apply approaches specific to text and discourse linguistics to design and optimise texts and discourse. Developments in the media have led to a rapid change in text norms, and this, in turn, has resulted in a demand for new, different and innovative discourse competences.


Here is an overview of our research projects in the field of applied discourse studies.


In our teaching, we focus on optimising the linguistic design, orthography, syntax, semantics, phraseology, pragmatics and style of texts and discourse we encounter every day, and on issues related to linguistic correctness and appropriateness, form, function and channel. We consider how things are done today, how they used to be done and many other pertinent aspects. In the BA programme in Applied Languages and the MA programme in Applied Linguistics, we offer various courses in the field of text and discourse linguistics and critical discourse analysis, focusing on issues relevant to professional life and society today. We also supervise BA and MA theses in these two degree programmes.

Continuing education

In the field of continuing education, we offer courses and workshops on text optimisation. Our goal is to allow participants to gain confidence in their own text productions in their respective professional field and/or specialist domain and to broaden the range of their existing competences. We focus on texts covering the areas of health, medicine, politics and law, and we also deal with a large number of written productions which are typical of everyday professional life and may be transmitted via different channels and produced in different ways (emails, post, brochures, letters, information leaflets/flyers, complaints, Internet sites, collaborative writing, several authors working on a text together, etc.).


We publish our research findings in scientific publications and presentations. You will find details of these in our publications list.


Prof. Dr. Ulla Kleinberger

Professor of Applied Discourse Studies
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+41 (0) 58 934 62 07