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Sociolinguistics (BA Linguistics)


Admission requirements



In the lectures, we will look at the ways in which language is used as a means to define and maintain social cohesion and experience and manage diversity – by individuals, groups, and authorities alike. The main focus is the individual and their use of language as a means to structure their life. We will also learn how groups of people can be recognised linguistically through identities and orientations of all kinds as well as culture and shared interests. In addition, we will study micro- and macro-variation, diglossia, and register variation. We will study topics like multilingualism, education, folk linguistics, language perception and evaluation. Another topic is how authorities – both official and unofficial – use language as a means towards organising and structuring societies, including the public space. A wide range of language varieties will be dealt with, to demonstrate how some sociolinguistic mechanism seem to be shared by many cultures while others are highly local.

Course objectives

This course introduces students to recent and less recent sociolinguistic research and theories. The lectures delve into the details of such research. While familiarising themselves with such existing research, students are instructed in detail on the steps to perfom similar research themselves. After that, they start collecting data and write a research report on their data. They need to summarise and analyse them by comparing them to existing research data and drawing more general conclusions. Detailed instructions are given on the components of a research report written on the basis of empirical data. The data collected are done through group work, in which each student is responsible for part of the project but also for the project as a whole. The lectures as well the personal experience with data collecting and describing will stimulate students to think more critically about how language is reflective of social, situational and other situations. Their learn how to read language variation, so to speak, and are urged to develop a crital attitude of and approach to populist ideas about language, languages, and language use, and, as a critical individual, about how society and its people work.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Weekly 90-minute seminar (‘hoorcollege’)

Assessment method

  • Mid-term Assignment (25%)

  • Final Assignment (25%)

  • Multiple-choice Exam (50%)

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average. To pass the course, the weighted average of the partial grades must be 5.5 or higher.


You can only resit components whose grade is below 5.5. You can resit the Mid-term Assignment through an individual 1,500-word critical essay. The same goes for the Final Assignment. You can also resit the Multiple-choice Exam.

Inspection and feedback

Those who wish to receive feedback on the Assignments need to turn in a paper version in the week after the deadline. Those who wish to review the Multiple-choice Exam may contact the teacher, who will then organise a group video chat or actual meeting.

Reading list

Smakman, Dick (2018) Discovering Sociolinguistics. From Theory to Practice. London: MacMillan


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.

Aanmelden Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Informatie voor belangstellenden die deze cursus in het kader van Studeren à la carte willen volgen (zonder tentamen), oa. over kosten, inschrijving en voorwaarden.

Informatie voor belangstellenden die deze cursus in het kader van Contractonderwijs willen volgen (met tentamen), oa. over kosten, inschrijving en voorwaarden.


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.

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