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Language Acquisition 4: Public Speaking in Theory and Practice


Admission requirements

A pass for Language Acquisition 1: The Spoken Word or a similar pronunciation course at first-year level.


Speaking in public is not a skill that comes naturally to most people. Language Acquisition 3: Public Speaking in Practice and Theory focuses on public speaking – it will teach you how to give effective, i.e. persuasive presentations on topics in your field – in English. To this end, you are introduced to classical rhetoric (the discovery, structuring, presentation and assessment of arguments) as well as modern theories on argumentation and public speaking. You practice presentation skills in short presentations. Furthermore, you analyze presentations by others (including your fellow students) and learn how to give constructive feedback. Finally, you learn how to assess recordings of your own presentations through your audience’s eyes.

Course objectives

  • Hands-on experience of giving a short oral presentation in English;

  • Introductory knowledge of classical and modern theories on rhetoric, argumentation and public speaking; and

  • The ability to apply this knowledge to one’s own written and oral presentations and to the analysis of other people’s presentations.


The timetable is available on the BA English website

Mode of instruction

  • One 45-minute lecture until Reading Week. The evening students follow these lectures online (weblectures).

  • One 45-minute seminar per week;

  • Research.

Course Load

The course load of this course is 140 hours.

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 19;

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 96 hours;

  • Time to prepare for presentations and the exam (including reading / research): 25 hours.

Assessment method

  • Written examination with closed questions and short-answer questions in the Reading Week: 50%;

  • Presentations: 50%.

If the final grade is 5 or less students may only resit the insufficient course component(s).

Attendance is compulsory. Unauthorized absence will mean that you cannot take part in the relevant exam(s).


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

  • Leith, S. (2012). You talkin’ to me? Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama. London: Profile

  • Public speaking in theory and practice: Texts and assignments [Reader on Blackboard].


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory. Please note that students other than BA English language and culture studies will have to have permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Student administration Van Eyckhof