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Language Acquisition 2: The Spoken Word



  1. Presentation and writing skills: Speaking in public is not a skill that comes naturally to most people. Language Acquisition 2 is a course that focuses on public speaking – it will teach you how to give effective presentations on topics in your own field. However, it is also a course about public speaking: the topics of the three short papers (in the form of e-mail, a memo and a report) you will be asked to write will be on various aspects of communicating with an audience. You will be asked to study academic literature on speaking in public, to summarize that literature, and to present your findings in an accessible manner. You will watch and listen to presentations by others and learn how to give constructive feedback. Finally, you will also watch recordings of your own presentation through your audience’s eyes. We hope that by the end of the course you will not only have learnt how to “survive”, but also enjoy speaking in public. Another aspect of this course is the acquisition of idioms and colloquial language. To this purpose you will compile a portfolio containing words and expressions that you have found in magazines, or which you have heard on television on the radio, which you have had to look up in the dictionary.
    1. Language laboratory. In this part of the course you will improve your pronunciation by practising in the language lab. The focus will be on suprasegmental aspects of pronunciation, in particular intonation.

Teaching method

Two hour seminar per week.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students:

  • are familiar with a number of theories on public speaking

  • are familiar with basic rhetorical principles

  • have improved their presentation skills

  • have improved their pronunciation

  • are familiar with strategies for writing non-academic texts

  • have practised writing non-academic text types

  • have enlarged their active vocabulary, including idioms and colloquial language

Required reading

  • Crystal, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

  • Gussenhoven, C. & A. Broeders. English Pronunciation for Student Teachers. Groningen: Wolters-Noordhoff: most recent edition

  • Lucas, Stephen E. The Art of Public Speaking. New York: McGraw Hill, 2009.

Test method

Presentations and contribution to class discussion 30%; writing assignments 20%; pronunciation assignments and test 50%.

Time table



English Department, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102c. Phone: 071 527 2144, or by mail.


For first year courses there is no registration necessary.


There will be a Blackboard site available.