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Admission requirements

A relevant BA degree and basic knowledge of linguistic terminology.


The study of language variation has revealed how people use, evaluate and perceive language and speech, and it has contributed to theories on language change. Extensive language variation research started in the 19th century – in many places across the globe, amongst which Russia, Japan, and India – but Sociolinguistics as a separate and global field was not properly acknowledged until the 1960. Research so far has demonstrated that variation that seems random is in fact quite systematic, and predictable on the basis of speaker characteristics and social circumstances. Many investigations have since been performed, all of which have taken their own approach: evaluation, perception, description, and various others. Sex, social class,regional origin, and age have been the most important social variables studied, but less straightforward variables have also been investigated, such as social and geographical mobility, culture, social setting, urbanness, identity, authority, intention, persuasiveness, religious persuasion, and many others.

In this MA course, students will be discovering sociolinguistics by reading not only an introduction into sociolinguistics but journal articles on sociolinguistic experimental research as well. They will get hands-on experience in doing sociolinguistic research by collecting empirical data and analysing them. They will thus receive a broad theoretical and practical introduction into this field which relies heavily on real-life language data and perhaps a little less on social or linguistic theories

Course objectives

To learn to read and interpret sociolinguistic literature;
To understand the most relevant sociolinguistic theories;
To learn to collect and process sociolinguistic data;
To write critically on your own and other people’s sociolinguistic research.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment Method

Weekly Homework 20%
Presentation 20%
In-class Mini-Exams 30%
Course Paper 30%

The final grade consists of weighted average of the above components


If your weighted average for the course is lower than 5.5, then you can rewrite your Course Paper (new topic), rewrite your Weekly Homework assignments (same articles/questions), and do a 2-hour exam during the exam period, which replaces the weighted average of the In-class Mini-Exams (same chapters to be studied). You can only resit components whose grade was below 5.5.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Van Herk, Gerard (2018) What is Sociolinguistics? Second edition. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell Publishers


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory


For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar

For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies