nl en

Language Acquisition 2: The Spoken Word


Admission Requirements



1. Oral presentation in theory and practice. Speaking in public is not a skill that comes naturally to most people. Language Acquisition 2: The Spoken Word focuses on public speaking – it will teach you how to give effective, i.e. persuasive presentations on topics in their field. To this end, students are introduced to classical rhetoric (the discovery, structuring, presentation and assessment of arguments) as well as modern theories on argumentation and public speaking. They practise their presentation skills in role plays, debates and short talks. Furthermore, they analyze presentations by others (including their fellow students) and learn how to give constructive feedback. Finally, they will learn to assess recordings of their own presentation through their audience’s eyes.
2. Language laboratory. In this part of the course students improve their pronunciation in the language lab. The emphasis in this course is on suprasegmental features.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, students:

  • Have hands-on experience of giving a short oral presentation in English on their area of specialization;

  • Have a basic knowledge of classical and modern theories on rhetoric, argumentation and public speaking and they will be able to apply this knowledge to their own written and oral presentations;

  • Are able to produce a number of frequently-occurring non-academic text types in grammatically and stylistically correct English

  • Are able to indicate the most frequent suprasegmental pronunciation errors in English of Dutch learners and to recognize these in their own pronunciation of English, and they try to avoid these errors in their own pronunciation.


The timetable will be available from July 1 onwards on the Department website.

Mode of Instruction

Two-hour seminar per week.


  • Written test with multiple choice questions on the theory covered in Corbett & Connors and in the lectures (25%)

  • Pronunciation test in the language laboratory (25%)

  • Oral presentations and presentation analysis assignments (30%)

  • Average mark of the writing assignments handed in during term (20%)
    If the mark for one of the four course components is lower than 5.0, this component cannot be compensated. The student will be allowed to resit the failed course component in August.


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

  • Corbett, E.P.J., & Connors, R.J. (1998). Classical rhetoric for the modern student. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • The Spoken Word: Texts and assignments for Language Acquisition 2. Reader, available from the Studiepunt Geesteswetenschappen.


Students can register through U-twist.

Register for ‘Contractonderwijs’ via:

Contact information

English Department, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103c. Phone: 071 527 2144, or mail: