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Languages and Cultures in Contact




Admission requirements

Similarly-tagged 200/300-level courses or permission from the instructor.


Sociolinguistics examines the role of language in society and seeks to explain the ways that that people use language to construct, define, and maintain social relationships among speakers. This course examines languages and cultures in contact and explores how people use language(s) to identify with or differentiate themselves from others, particularly in multicultural settings. Students will learn about language contact outcomes in different regions of the world while gaining hands-on experience using sociolinguistic and anthropological research methods. Some of the topics we will cover include the linguistic outcomes and sociohistorical contexts of language contact, the globalization of English and its impact on cultural and linguistic diversity in the world, pidgin and creole languages, endangered languages, and immigrant languages in Europe and North America. The skills and concepts that students learn in this course will be used to explore instances of language contact in The Hague, Netherlands and surrounding cities.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, students will be able to 1) identify the linguistic outcomes of language contact in real-world settings, 2) describe the social and linguistic factors that give rise to instances of language contact, 3) predict the outcome of language maintenance and language shift situations, and 4) design an appropriate research plan using sociolinguistic and anthropological research methods to collect data on language contact in multilingual settings.


Students do not have to purchase any books for this course. All class readings will be accessible via the Leiden University Library website or online. Other material will be distributed in class or made available on Blackboard.