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Sociolinguistics (BA Linguistics)


Admission requirements



Together, we will look at the ways in which language is used as a means to define and maintain social cohesion and diversity – by individuals, groups, and authorities alike. The main focus is the individual and their use of language as a means to structure their life. We will also learn how groups of people can be recognised linguistically through features like ethnicity, gender, age, sexual preference, social group, culture, and shared interests. In addition, we will study micro- and macro-variation in language, diglossia, and registers in language use. We will study topics like multilingualism, identity, education, language contact, folk linguistics, language perception and evaluation. Another topic is how authorities – both official and unofficial – use language as a means towards organising and structuring societies, including the public space (especially urban). A wide range of language varieties will be dealt with, to demonstrate how some sociolinguistics mechanism seem to be shared by many cultures while others are highly local.

Course objectives

  • Discover the correlations between linguistic variables on the one hand and social/situational/societal/cultural variables on the other.

  • Learning to view language as a tool towards satisfying personal goals.

  • Learning to view low-level daily informal language use as socially motivated, relatively conscious and systematic rather than fleeting, random, and meaningless

  • Discover the mechanisms in realistic and less realistic popular discourse (opinions) on language.

  • Learn to generate sociolinguistic data, find patterns, and connect these with sociolinguistic theory.

  • Write a report in academic English that combines data presentation, academic sources, other people’s opinions and findings, and your academically motivated analyses of all.

  • Learn about the most important sociolinguistic theories.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Weekly 90-minute seminar (‘hoorcollege’)

Assessment method

  • Mid-term Assignment (25%)

  • Final Assignment (25%)

  • Multiple-choice Exam (50%)

Those who wish to receive feedback on the Assignments need to turn in a paper version in the week after the deadline. Those who wish to review the Multiple-choice Exam may contact the teacher, who will then organise a group video chat or actual meeting.


You can resit each of the two Assignments through a a new data-collecting task. You can also resit the Multiple-choice Exam

Exam review

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.

Reading list

Smakman, Dick (2018) Discovering Sociolinguistics. From Theory to Practice. London: MacMillan


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 questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats
E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies