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2019/2020  KAN-CIBCV1513U  Naming & Framing: Bag om ordets magt

English Title
Naming & Framing: Bag om ordets magt

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Min. participants 15
Max. participants 40
Study board
Study Board for Master of Arts (MA) in International Business Communication in English
Course coordinator
  • Viktor Smith - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation
  • Communication
  • Language
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 21-02-2019

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • a clear understanding of the basic theoretical and methodological concepts and principles presented during the course
  • ability to formulate and systematically pursue a set of clear research questions relative to the self-chosen exam case in accordance with established academic norms in either Danish or English
  • hands-on skills in evaluating and performing creative wordmaking for commercial and/or organizational purposes as practiced in case-based excercises in class
Course prerequisites
The course welcomes graduate students from all CBS programs and guest students from other universities in Denmark and abroad (if their profile and level is approved by the Study Board). It will contribute new insights and tools relevant to students specializing in such fields as marketing communication and branding, innovative product development, corporate communication, PR, cross-cultural communication, political communication, health communication, journalism, area studies, and language management. Basic knowledge of cognitive and communicational theories will be an advantage, but profound knowledge is NOT expected. It is however essential that the students take a general interest in human communication and cognition, and the role of language as a tool of innovative thinking. Although the teaching language is English, the course will, to the extent possible, also draw upon and involve other languages, including the native languages and cultural backgrounds of participating exchange students.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved: 2
Compulsory home assignments
1. Multiple choice tests. 2. Pre-exam paper.)

Oral presentations etc.
Active participation in oral group presentations and group exercises.
Naming & Framing: Understanding the power of words:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Group exam
Please note the rules in the Programme Regulations about identification of individual contributions.
Number of people in the group 2-4
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
The contributions of each individual group member must be clearly indicated.
Assignment type Report
Duration 2 weeks to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
The re-exam is individual. The exam paper must not exceed 10 standard pages. Otherwise, the exam corresponds in content and form to the ordinary exam.
Description of the exam procedure

During the course, each study group will identify a real-life case involving a naming & framing challenge of your own interest which will be used for the course paper project.  In relation to this you will use course literature relevant to the chosen topic. A written presentation and motivation of the topic must be approved by the teacher in advance.


The exam paper should reflect the students’ ability to:

  • Formulate a set of clear research questions relative to a self-identified real-life naming & framing challenge.
  • Apply key concepts and methods presented during the course to analyzing the communicative, cognitive, and societal/commercial  specifics of the case at hand
  • Suggest and motivate naming & framing solutions.

Deadline for hand-in: See final exam schedule.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach


What were smartphones, Apps, and Alzheimer's disease (and drugs against it) before they became known as... exactly that? “Having a name for it” is not just a matter of putting labels on objects and phenomena in the infinite variety of reality. It is a matter of categorizing such objects and phenomena, (re)identifying them at each new encounter, making sense of them, and encompassing them into our minds by relating them to our reasoning, values, and personal goals. In all but a trivial sense, this is tantamount to creating them as objects of human thought and action. When planted in the minds of other people, they will be remembered and affect the way they see things, possibly overshadowing competing names and other ways of seeing the “same” things. In turn, any act of naming involves framing in two distinct, but closely related respects. First, the origin, composition, and sometimes even sound of a new name will often frame whatever it denotes in a certain way, adding particular shades of meanings and positive or negative value to it, e.g., Whopper, green taxeshumanitarian bombings, or lame duck. Yet since a name cannot “say” everything in itself, the final outcome will also strongly depend on how the name itself is framed by other words and sentences and by pictures, films, oral explanations, first-hand sensory experiences, packaging and homepage design, and other multimodal cues. This is what has turned McDonalds into more than just some family name and what makes many people understand global warming as a threat to humanity rather than an opportunity to develop seaside resort tourism in Northern countries.


State of the art

The importance of naming and framing decisions is highly appreciated in a number of practice-oriented fields spanning from product development, marketing, branding, and advertising to corporate communication, PR, lobbyism, politics, journalism, didactics and the development of professional terminologies. However, with a few exceptions, the issue is dealt with on a “strategic” level while the linguistic and socio-cognitive mechanisms determining the success or failure of concrete naming & framing solutions are mostly approached in anecdotic common-sense terms. Nevertheless, essential analytical tools and empirical insights may be drawn upon from more basic language, cognition, and communication research targeting e.g. people’s spontaneous interpretation and acceptance or rejection of new names and the role of surrounding verbal and visual cues in these processes, and how the cultural and structural specifics may both promote and obscure the successful implementation of naming and framing decisions across cultures.


Aims and content

The course aims at presenting some of the abovementioned insights in a concise and comprehensive form and relate them to the real-life naming and framing challenges encountered in the practice-oriented fields mentioned initially.

The course will supply the participants with analytical skills and operational tools that will enable them to contribute constructively and suggest new ideas for the planning, implementation and evaluation of naming and framing decisions for a variety of purposes in private enterprises, public organizations, and NGOs.

Description of the teaching methods
The course combines theoretical lectures with hands-on exercises that will reinforce the participant’s analytical and creative communication and language management skills. This includes oral group presentation of self-identified cases illustrating essential naming and framing challenges for peer discussion and feedback. The casework in class will serve also as a basis for singling out the case material for the final group exam. Thus, the choice of communicative domain for the final exam paper may reflect the interests and academic competences of the members of each group in view of their lines of study and general interests. 

The teaching will be performed by a main teacher and 2-3 guest lecturers.
Feedback during the teaching period
Continuous feedback will be given in the shape of oral or written comments on group presentations and the pre-exam paper, feedback on oral class exercises, and a multiple-choice test.
Student workload
Work in class , exercises, preparation of group presentations 200 hours
Report writing and exam 200 hours
Expected literature

Aitchison, J. (2012). Words in the mind. An introduction to the mental lexicon. Edition. Oxford: Blackwell.


Benches, R. (2006). Creative compounding in English. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.


Gill, T. & El Gamal, M. (2014), "Does exposure to dogs (cows) increase the preference for Puma (the color white)? Not always,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 31, 125-126.


Gill, T. & Dubé, L. (2007). “What is a leather iron or a bird phone? Using conceptual combinations to generate and understand new product concepts”. Journal of Consumer Psychology 17(3), 202-217.


Riezebos, R. (2003). Brand Management: A Theoretical and Practical Approach. London:Prentice Hall. 


Smith, V.; Zlatev, J.; & Barratt, D. (2014). "Unpacking noun-noun compounds: Interpreting novel and conventional food names in isolation and on food labels." Cognitive Linguistics 25 (1), 99-147. 

Last updated on 21-02-2019