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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 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; so-called Activation Tasks. Students design activities to practice with each other. You give a short talk, for instance. You could also do a quiz, or you act as a panel discussion leader or perhaps you can participate in role-plays. In addition, you practice 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. We will select texts and assignments in the field of English Language & Culture in which the most pertinent vocabulary occurs.
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. Part of understanding accents is knowing about their social and cultural connotations, and this aspect will be an important part of the language labs. This part will be tested, besides the naturalness of your own pronunciation.

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 the words and idioms most frequently used in literary and linguistic 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.

  • You are able to analyse other students’ pronunciation issues.


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


Oral exam and Multiple-choice exam. To pass the course, you need to get at least a 6.0 for both components.


  • Oral exam (30%)

  • Multiple-choice Vocabulary/Pronunciation exam (70%)


Students can resit insufficient components, but only if the final grade is insufficient.

Exam review

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


Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than two tutorials means that students will be excluded from the tutorials. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared, not participating 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

  • 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 from the 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.