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Focus 5b: Sociolinguistics and discourse II


Admission requirements

Successful completion of: – BA3 Focus 5a+6: Sociolinguistics and discourse I and – BA2 Focus Introduction to Japanese Linguistics or BA2 Focus Aspects of Japanese as a second language.
This requirement can be waived with the agreement of Dr. R. J. Länsisalmi in consultation with the TCJ Examinations Committee (e.g. completion of an equivalent basic course in general/sociolinguistics instead of BA2 Focus Introduction to Japanese Linguistics/Aspects of Japanese as a second language). Since most course texts will be in Japanese, students are expected to have sufficient Japanese language skills.


This is the second part of the course exploring the interrelationship between language, culture, and society. Students work on thesis topics in the field of Japanese sociolinguistics or discourse studies. Example areas include speech varieties (e.g. gendered/group-specific language, regional variation, politeness), language change, language contact, language planning & policies, language attitudes & identity, conversational management and topics related to discourse structure/analysis.

Through required readings, discussions, presentations and assignments, students will deepen their knowledge and understanding of selected issues in sociolinguistics and discourse studies and design and conduct an original study on a topic of their choice.

Students are expected to read the materials assigned for the day, use additional sources to those suggested in the course readings and to contribute to the discussions with their own experiences.

Course objectives

In the second part of this course students will primarily learn to read, analyse and present Japanese texts related to their BA thesis topic(s), work on the thesis and function as commentators and peer reviewers of thesis drafts. Students will also receive instruction and guidance on the preparation of the thesis in the form of workshops focused on research scheduling, thesis writing (process), and presentation of on-going research.


See rooster

Mode of instruction

Seminar (werkcollege).

Assessment method

Thesis students taking the 10 EC module: – BA thesis (BA werkstuk): 70% – Participation element (incl. attendance, participation, peer reviewer & commentator functions, presentations): 20% – Analytical element (critical literature review of 1,000-1,500 words): 10%

Non-thesis students taking the 5 EC module: – Participation element (incl. attendance, participation, peer reviewer & commnetator functions, presentations): 30% – Analytical element (critical literature review of 1,000-1,500 words): 20% – Research element (research paper of 2,500-3,000 words): 50%


Course notes and slides, course schedule, assignments, required readings, links, etc, see Blackboard

Reading list

To be announced in the beginning of the course.


Enrollment through uSis is mandatory.

Contact information

Mw. Dr. R.J. Länsisalmi (r.j.lansisalmi@hum.leidenuniv.nl)


Students not majoring in Japanese Studies/not having followed BA2 Focus Introduction to Japanese Linguistics or BA2 Focus Aspects of Japanese as a Second Language should contact the instructor first.