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Language Acquisition 1: The Spoken Word


Admission requirements



The aim of the Language Acquisition 1: The Spoken Word course is that you acquire and further develop the skills that you need to express yourself fluently and accurately in spoken English. The emphasis in this course is on becoming an accurate language user: as a university-trained English Studies graduate you are expected to be able to express yourself fluently, but more importantly, correctly and precisely. This is why the two skills that we believe most help you become an accurate language user are central to this course: pronunciation and vocabulary study.

Vocabulary and idioms in practice: In this part of the course you activate the vocabulary and idioms that you have studied at home in short speaking assignments. You give a short talk, for instance, or you act as a panel discussion leader and you participate in role-plays. In addition, you practise the most important language functions in English, such as saying hello, giving advice and disagreeing with someone. This looks quite simple, but you will discover that not knowing how to use these language functions frequently leads to misunderstanding due to cultural differences between native speakers of Dutch and English. Finally, you acquire, through self-study, passive knowledge of words and idioms that are often used in academic texts. This will help you to read literary texts and secondary academic sources with more ease.
Pronunciation: The aim of this part of the course is to help you improve your pronunciation of English sounds by means of practice in the language laboratory. The first part of the course aims at trouble-shooting and it targets any pronunciation issues that make you less understandable and natural. During the second part of the course, you will receive instruction on how to pronounce either British English or American English, or you may join a pronunciation lab that looks more broadly at the pronunciation of Englishes across the globe.

Of course a single language proficiency course cannot teach you to speak English perfectly. You will need to invest quite a lot yourself in developing your fluency and accuracy. The English Department tries to help you, by requiring its tutors and students to use English in all courses, but you will learn much more from reading and listening to English and from trying to speak as much English as possible, preferably by spending some time in an English-speaking country.

Course objectives

By the end of the course you have acquired an active vocabulary that enables you to express yourself on a variety of everyday topics, as well as all kinds of current social and cultural topics.
You will be able to recognise and paraphrase over 1000 words and idioms frequently used in academic and literary texts.
You pronounce English naturally and intelligibly with regard to vowel and consonant sounds, stress and intonation, and you are able to identify and describe the pronunciation problems of your fellow students.


The timetable is available on the BA English website

Mode of instruction

  • Weekly ninety-minute tutorial in the language laboratory.

  • Self-study of vocabulary, idioms and pronunciation.

Course Load

The total course load is 140 hours (5 EC), allocated as follows:

  • Tutorial attendance: 26 hours.

  • Tutorial preparation: 76 hours.

  • Self-study, including revision for the tests: 33 hours.

  • Tests: 3 hours.

  • Tutoring/opportunity to inspect exam: 2 hours.

Assessment method


Midterm oral exam and Multiple-choice exam in which vocabulary as well as pronunciation knowledge is tested. To pass the course, you need to get at least a 6.0 for both components.


Midterm oral exam (30%)
Multiple-choice Vocabulary/Pronunciation exam (70%)


Students can resit both components.

Exam review

When the grades are known, students can request an exam viewing.


Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than three tutorials means that students will be excluded from taking the exam (or essay or other assignments) and resits. Consequently, the course cannot be completed during that particular academic year. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared and/or not bringing the relevant course materials to class.


In this course, Blackboard is used to present course information, notify you of changes to the course and to make course materials available.

Reading list

  • Bromberg, M. & Gordon, M. (2013). 1100 words you need to know. Hauppauge, NY: Barron.

  • Longman dictionary of contemporary English (most recent edition). Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education.

  • The material for pronunciation part of the second block (sessions 6-12) will be announced during the first block. It depends on the type of language lab you join: British English, American English or the Accents of English lab.

  • Vocabulary and idioms materials: Available from Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

NB: First year students will be enrolled by the coordinator of studies.

Students other than BA English language and culture studies cannot take this course.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.