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Language & Identity in the Middle East


Admission requirements

Talen van de wereld, Sociolinguistiek


This course explores the role of language in constructing social identities in the Middle East. The course will introduce students to linguistic and cultural theory as they relate to the construction of various forms of identities, including rural and urban, gender, race and ethnicity (including minorities), socioeconomic class, and religious. Although the focus is on the Middle East, the topics covered – language politics and policy, models of sociolinguistic variation, language ideology, linguistic standardization, etc. – are applicable to any region.

Course objectives

Students will become familiar with:
1) The ways in which language behavior reflects the diverse cultural patterns of the Middle East.
2) The role of language in the formation of national identities
3) The relationship between economic class, race and ethnicity, gender, religion, urbanization, and linguistic choice
4) The specialized language of religion and politics
5) Processes of language revival and revitalization



Mode of instruction


Course Load

26 hours attendance in class, 114 hours readings, coursework and preparation for quizzes and writing the final paper

Assessment method

weekly homework, 1 book review, 4 concept quizzes, 1 final paper


This course is supported by Blackboard. Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course. Please see:

Reading list


Enrollment through uSis for the course and the examination or paper is mandatory.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website
for information on how to apply.

Registration Studeren à la carte

Application for A la Carte

Contact Information