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. Traveling between University buildings from Leiden to The Hague takes about 45 minutes.
In this course we explore how language is used in social interaction and how speakers use language to construct social identities. We study how variation in speech relates to social factors like social class, age, gender, and ethnicity. 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.
At the end of the course, students will be able to:
explain key concepts used in the field of sociolinguistics;
describe the complexity of linguistic diversity and everyday language use from a sociolinguistic and cultural perspective;
identify factors that can enhance or impede intercultural 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
Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.
Tutorials are held once every two weeks, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform your tutor 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).
Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:
Attending lectures: 24 hours
Attending tutorials: 12 hours
Assessment hours (midterm and final exam): 4 hours
Study of compulsory literature: (approximately 7 pages per hour): 45 hours
Preparation tutorials (including tutorial debate and written assignment): 35 hours
Preparation exam: 20 hours
Midterm exam: Written examination with open questions.
Final exam: Written examination with 50% open questions and 50% closed questions (i.e. multiple choice).
To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:
The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of tutorial, midterm exam and final exam.
The weighted average of the midterm exam and final exam needs to be 5.5 or higher.
If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), or the weighted average of midterm- and final exams is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier midterm and final exam grades. No resit for the tutorial is possible.
Please note that if the resit exam grade is lower than 5.5, you will not pass the course, regardless of the tutorial grade.
Retaking a passing grade
Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2017 – 2018.
How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.
- 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 can be found here.
The student administration will register all first year students for the first semester courses in uSis, the registration system of Leiden University.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number and tutorial group number.