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Language and Linguistics: Tools and Methods


Admission requirements

Only for students of the BA English Language and Culture.


The field of Linguistics covers many additional disciplines to the ones that are part of the regular teaching programme of the BA English at Leiden, such as historical linguistics, corpus linguistics, child language acquisition and forensic linguistics. In this course, you will learn about various different approaches to the study of language and that there are different tools with which we we are able to describe the language as well as language use.
The course comprises three blocks, each of which will be devoted to a single linguistic (sub)discipline, consisting of three weekly lectures with set reading to be discussed during the lectures. Each series of lectures will be followed by a writing week, in two of which, based on the lectures and the reading, you will be making summaries of the material dealt with. The summaries will have to be handed in, though they will not be marked as such. During the writing week of the third block you will be working on a digital tools assignment.
The course will deal with a topical theme, whether modern or historical. You will become acquainted with scientific/scholarly tools and methods drawn upon by scholars throughout the world in the fields of forensic linguistics, child language acquisition and historical linguistics. Using methods from corpus linguistics and drawing on digital programs like WordSmith Tools and LIWC (Language Inquiry and Word Count) you will be offered some insight into current approaches within linguistics. Being able to work with these programs will be of enormous benefit, not only within linguistics or language acquisition (cf. current research on “big data”), but also for research you might want to do within literature and philology.

Course objectives

After completing the course you will, on the basis of a careful reading of selected articles in the field of linguistics, have

  • become acquainted with a number of important (sub)disciplines within linguistics

  • learnt about a number of current research methods within linguistics

  • gained experience in making summaries of relevant background literature

  • learnt to work with a state-of-the-art digital research program

  • gained experience in jointly doing research for the purpose of writing a report together with a fellow student.


The timetable is available on the BA English website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Studying and reporting on background reading and other relevant course material

Course Load

The course load includes:

  • attending the weekly lectures (10 hours)

  • 7 hours weekly reading (70 hours)

  • writing summaries of the weekly reading (2 × 7.5 hours = 15 hours)

  • producing the assignment: 10 hours

  • preparing the final exam: 35 hours

Prior tot he exam there will be a scheduled question session.

Assessment method


Summaries, assignment and final exam


  • Summaries: 5%

  • Assignment: 25%

  • Final exam: 70%

In order to pass the course, the final grade has to be a 6.0. The marks for Assignment and Final Exam may not be be lower than 5.


For component marks lower than 5, students will have to do a resit. NB: There is no resit for the summaries (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.


Blackboard will be used:

  • to specify the weekly reading material

  • to submit the assignment

  • to provide additional course information.

Reading list

A reading list comprising weekly reading material (mostly articles and book chapters).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

NB: First year students will be enrolled by the coordinator of studies.

Students other than from the BA English language and culture cannot take this course.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.

The coordinator of studies is Else van Dijk


For the WordSmith Tools assignment, students will be expected to work in pairs. WordSmith Tools is available in the Lipsius computerlab.