nl en

Language and Linguistics: Tools and Methods


Admission requirements

Only for students of the BA English language and culture.


The field of Linguistics covers many additional disciplines to the ones that are part of the regular teaching programme of the BA English at Leiden, such as lexicography, corpus linguistics, rhetorical studies and pragmatics. In this course, you will learn about various different approaches to the study of language and that there are different tools with which we we are able to describe the language as well as language use. The course comprises three blocks, each of which will be devoted to a single linguistic (sub)discipline, consisting of three weekly lectures with set reading to be discussed. Each series of lectures will be followed by a writing week in which, based on the lectures and the reading, you will be making summaries of the material dealt with. The summaries will have to be handed in.

Because this year will see the American elections, there will be a special focus on how to analyse the speeches of the presidential candidates, drawing on methods from corpus linguistics and making use of digital programs like WordSmith Tools. These programs will allow us to highlight different pragmatic and rhetorical approaches taken by the speakers and/or their script writers. The program WordSmith Tools will be taught by drawing on sociohistorical linguistic research on the language of earlier well-known writers like Shakespeare and Jane Austen. The ability to work with such digital tools will prove valuable not only within the fields of Linguistics and Language Acquisition, but also in those of Literature and Philology/Medieval Studies.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the student will have

  • become acquainted with a number of important (sub)disciplines within linguistics

  • learnt about a number of current research methods within linguistics

  • gained experience in making summaries of relevant background literature

  • learnt to work with a state-of-the-art digital concordancing tool

  • gained experience in jointly doing research for the purpose of writing a report together with a fellow student.


The timetable is available on the BA English website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Studying and reporting on background reading and other relevant course material

Course Load

  • Attending the weekly lectures (10 hours)

  • 6 hours weekly reading (ca. 60 hours)

  • Writing summaries of the weekly rading (3 × 6.5 hours = ca. 20 hours)

  • Producing the assignment (break week): 15 hours

  • Preparation final exam: ca. 35 hours

Assessment method

  • Summaries (5%)

  • Assignment (25%)

  • Final exam (70%)

All of the summaries are part of the final mark. No mark may be lower than 5. For insufficient component marks, students will have to a resit.


Blackboard wordt gebruikt voor:

  • de wekelijkse leesopdrachten

  • inleveren van schrijfopdrachten (samenvattingen, werkstuk)

    *algemene informatievoorziening over de cursus ### Reading list


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

Choose from the options below:
Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Contact information
“Student administration Van Eyckhof”:


For the break week assignment, students will work in pairs using WordSmith Tools which is available in the Lipsius computerlab.