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Admission requirements



Globalization has profoundly affected the world in many ways that were perhaps unimaginable even decades ago, but it has most directly affected the way we communicate with each other. Through co-present interactions, through the media and through digital communication, multicultural interactions are becoming the norm rather than an exception. Understanding communication in a globalized world is intrinsically related to an understanding of the ways in which language may be interpreted differently depending on the sender, the receiver and the context of the message. In this course we systematically examine the social, cultural and pragmatic factors of language in context. Having a grasp of how these factors interact in a given language and in intercultural communication is crucial to the development of mutual understanding in the global world. We will explore the concepts of language, ideology, power and identity on a micro-interactional (family, workplace, educational, legal settings) as well as macro-interactional level (language in the public sphere, in politics and the media).

Seeing that the course participants are global citizens themselves, their viewpoints, experiences and opinions are crucial to developing an understanding of communication in the globalized world. Aside from being introduced to theoretical concepts, ideas and state-of-the-art studies in the field, one of the main aims of this course is for its participants to be able to discuss and analyze language from a sociolinguistic perspective.

Course Objectives

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

  • analyze the intricate links between language and society;

  • grasp the concepts related to language change and variation, politeness and impoliteness across cultures, and language ideologies;

  • be able to debate issues concerning the sociolinguistics of globalization and intercultural communication;

  • formulate their own views on the role of language in various spheres of everyday life (politics, media, health and education, economy);

  • evaluate how cultural context affects the use and the (mis)interpretation of language;

  • describe communication strategies that come into play in intercultural interactions in today’s globalized world;

  • conduct their own preliminary analysis of linguistic landscapes in their surroundings and apply the concepts presented in class with understanding the complexity of everyday language use.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2020-2021 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

The course will be taught through weekly seminars and workshops. The seminars will include topics both inside and outside the readings. The workshops will consist of discussions, debates and presentations by the students on selected topics. There will be an excursion to the city of The Hague in order to explore its linguistic landscapes and for participants to observe language use and social interaction in public spaces in the city.

Assessment Method

In-class participation = 10%;

Weekly contributions to the Discussion Board = 20%;

Group assignments: Groups of two students present and lead class discussion on an article on a sociolinguistic topic = 15%;

One group assignment based on excursion to the City of The Hague in Week 4 = 15%;

Individual assignment; final essay (2000 words) = 40%

Reading list

  • Bowe, Heather, Kylie Martin & Howard Manns 2014. Communication across cultures. Mutual understanding in a global world. (Second edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

  • Deckert, Sharon K. and Caroline H. Vickers (2011). An introduction to Sociolinguistics: Society and Identity. London: Continuum.

Additional reading including journal articles and book chapters will be provided via Brightspace.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. F. K. (Felix) Ameka,