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Language Acquisition 6: Public Speaking in Theory and Practice


Admission requirements

A pass for Language Acquisition 1 (or an equivalent introductory course on academic writing) and LA 3 (or an equivalent course on English grammar) is required.


Speaking in public is not a skill that comes naturally to most people. In this course you will learn how to give effective, persuasive presentations in English on topics related to your stuides. To this end, the course focusses on rhetoric and the art of public speaking. You are introduced to classical rhetoric (the discovery, structuring, presentation and assessment of arguments) as well as modern theories on argumentation and public speaking.
You put your knowledge into practice in two short oral presentations on topics of your choice that are related to your studies in English language, literature, and linguistics. You will also apply your knowledge of the art of rhetoric and persuasion by analyzing presentations by others and learning how to provide and receive constructive feedback.

Course objectives

  • Develop knowledge and understanding of classical and modern theories on rhetoric, persuasion, and public speaking, including how talks are structured to appeal to audience backgrounds and interests

  • Apply knowedge of rhetoric, persuasion, and public speaking to the analysis of oral presenations of others

  • Apply knowledge of rhetoric, persuasion, and public speaking by delivering short oral presentations for your classmates


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Lecture, seminar, research

Assessment method


  • Mid-term examination with closed questions and short-answer questions in the Reading Week

  • Participation in oral presentation sessions (e.g., audience participation, peer feedback)

  • Two short oral presentations


  • Mid-term examination: 30%

  • Participation: 20%

  • Oral presentations: 50%


Students can take a resit if the final grade is below 5.49.

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.

Reading list

Leith, S. (2019). You talkin’ to me? Rhetoric from Aristotle to Trump and beyond. London: Profile. To be acquired before the start of the course; Available in paperback on


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.

General information about MyStudyMap is available on the website

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal


All other information.