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Language, Power and Identity


Deze informatie is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Disclaimer: due to the coronavirus pandemic, this course description might be subject to changes. For the latest updates regarding corona virus, please check this link.

Topics: Language, ethnicity, gender, religion.
Disciplines: Sociolinguistics.
Skills: Research, academic writing, fieldwork methods.

Admission requirements:

This course is an (extracurricular) Honours Class: an elective course within the Honours College programme. Third year students who don’t participate in the Honours College, have the opportunity to apply for a Bachelor Honours Class. Students will be selected based on i.a. their motivation and average grade.


What is the difference between a language and a dialect, and who decides? Should every nation have its own unique language? What are minority language “rights”? Why are some languages linked to certain religions?

Why do certain forms of language play a central role in the ways we think about ourselves and identify others? Language is an essential part of our identity, and connects us with other members of various groups in society: ethnic, national, religious, gender, class, etc. Language is not homogenous: “It’s not always what you say, but how you say it.”

This theme examines the complex relationship between speech and society, taking language as the point of departure. Through the use of sociolinguistic methodologies and concepts, students will explore the linkages between language, dialects, identity and society, with special reference to religion, ethnicity, and nationalism.

Course objectives:

At the end of this course, students will have had a broad introduction into some of the many aspects of Sociolinguistics. They will learn analytical skills of analysing the use of language, and studying the attitudes of people, and they will have learned how to put these to practice.

Programme and timetable:

This class will take place on Thursdays from 17.30 - 19.30.

Session 1: February 17, 2022
Session 2: Februray 24, 2022
Session 3: March 3, 2022 CANCELLED
Session 4: March 10, 2022
Session 5: March 17, 2022
Session 6: March 31, 2022
Session 7: April 7, 2022
Session 8: April 14, 2022
Session 9: April 21, 2022
Session 10: April 28, 2022 (Lipsius building 152)
Deadline final assignment: May 13, 2022

Lipsius building, room 237 and 152

Reading list:

Required readings will be provided every week through Brightspace.

Course load and teaching method:

This course load is 5 EC (140 hours):


Assessment methods:

The assessment method has three components:
1. Group oral presentation and class discussion facilitation: 30%
2. Attendance and in-class participation: 10%
3. Final paper (3000-5000 words) : 60%

Brightspace and uSis:

Brightspace will be used in this course. Upon admission students will be enrolled in Brightspace by the teaching administration.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Bachelor Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Registration process:

Submitting an application for this course is possible from Monday 1 November 2021 up to and including Thursday 11 November 2021 23:59 through the link on the Honours Academy student website.

Note: students don’t have to register for the Bachelor Honours Classes in uSis. The registration is done centrally before the start of the class.


Janet Connor: