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Communicating Power


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


In this course we explore how language is used in social interaction at the individual, institutional, societal and cultural levels. We examine, for example, what is polite or impolite in different cultures and how this is reflected in language; how language is gendered; the diverse understandings of speech and language ideologies and how these are sites for potential and purposeful miscommunication and misunderstanding. We address the role of language in various spheres of everyday life: governance, economy, politics, health and education, and we examine how language policies and language planning in various nation states lead to the exclusion of the majority of agents in these domains. We will also debate issues concerning the sociolinguistics of globalization, such as the discourses about migration and how globalization influences linguistic vitality and diversity.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • describe the complexity of linguistic diversity and everyday language use from a sociolinguistic, cultural, and communicative perspective;

  • identify factors that can enhance or impede transcultural communication;

  • evaluate language ideologies that motivate language planning and language policies;

  • recognize the importance of rhetoric in communication and society.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

One two-hour lecture per week; bi-weekly tutorials. Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover both issues discussed in the readings, and issues outside of the readings.

Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform the tutor of the course in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:
Atending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks: 24 hours
Atending tutorials: 2 hours per two weeks: 12 hours
Assessment hours (midterm and final exam): 4 hours
Reading: 30 pages per week (approximately 7 pages per hour): 42 hours
Studying for exams and preparing for tutorial debate: 26 hours
Paper (1000 words including time for reading and research): =32 hours

Assessment method


Midterm exam:

  • Written examination with short open questions
    Final exam:

  • Written examination with closed questions (eg multiple choice)


  • Tutorials 30%

  • Midterm Exam 30%

  • Final Exam 40%
    To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.
    To pass the course, the average of mid- and end term exams (70%) has to be 5.5 at least.


If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.
The resit exam will be a

  • Written examination with closed questions (eg multiple choice)


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Wardhaugh, Ronald and Janet M. Fuller. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. 7th ed. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2015.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


For tutorials
Dr. S. Moody