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Elective: Languages of the World

Vak
2016-2017

Admission requirements

This course is only available for second year students in the BA International Studies.
The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

Language is one of the defining characteristics of what makes us human. Current estimates suggest that there are around 6,000 languages spoken (and signed) on the planet, some of which may be grouped together (in families) and others which are totally unrelated (language isolates). This course expands upon issues covered in the course ‘Communicating Power’ and looks in depth into language and the languages of the world.

Drawing upon key concepts and hot topics in linguistics, we will examine the similarities and differences between a wide variety of related and unrelated languages. We will look globally at what language is (language and the language faculty), how language is used (language and interaction), and the relation between language and culture (languages and communities). Among the issues we will discuss are: the distinction between languages and dialects; registers and idiolects; language and cognition; language shift and language death; language contact and language change (borrowing; pidgins and creoles); English as a World Language and World Englishes. Students will be encouraged to relate and apply the content of the course to their chosen foreign language (or family of languages) on the basis of weekly assignments and a term paper. In this way they will gain further insight not only into the nature of their chosen language but also into the relation between the language and the minds and culture of the speakers.

Additionally, the students will work through W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Course objectives

The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:
Oral presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.
Collaboration skills:
1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.
Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.
Written presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured written presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture, seminar style discussion and supervised research.

Course Load

Total course load for the course: 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours:

  • Hours spent on attending lectures: 12 lectures x 2 hours = 24 hours

  • Time for reading the literature: 12 lectures x 6 hours = 72 hours

  • Time for completing assignments: 12 lectures x 6 hours = 72 hours

  • Time to research/write term paper: 112 hours

Assessment method

The course will be assessed on the basis of: – weekly readings and assignments, presentation and discussion (50% of the final grade; must be 5.5 or above) – a term paper on the chosen foreign language (50% of the final grade; must be 5.5 or above).

Resit

In case of resubmission of the final essay (insufficient grade only) the final grade for the essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion. The deadline for resubmission is 10 days after receiving the grade for the final essay.

Blackboard

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

  • Booth, W.C., G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

  • Pereltsvaig, Asya, Languages of the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

  • Additional course readings will be announced on Blackboard .

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Remarks

The deadline for submission of the final essay is 9 June 2017.

Passing this course is an entry requirement for the thesis and thesis seminar, elective year 3, and Practising Internatonal Studies.