This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
Limited places are also open for exchange students.
Please note: this course takes place in The Hague. Traveling between University buildings from Leiden to The Hague may take about 45 minutes.
In this course we explore how language is used in social interaction and how speakers use language to construct social identities. We study how variation in speech relates to social factors like social class, age, gender, and ethnicity. We examine, for example, what is polite or impolite in different cultures and how this is reflected in language; how language is gendered; the diverse understandings of speech and language ideologies and how these are sites for potential and purposeful miscommunication and misunderstanding. We address the role of language in various spheres of everyday life: governance, economy, politics, health and education, and we examine how language policies and language planning in various nation states lead to the exclusion of the majority of agents in these domains. We will also debate issues concerning the sociolinguistics of globalization, such as the discourses about migration and how globalization influences linguistic vitality and diversity.
At the end of the course, students will be able to:
explain key concepts used in the field of sociolinguistics;
describe the complexity of linguistic diversity and everyday language use from a sociolinguistic and cultural perspective;
identify factors that can enhance or impede intercultural communication;
evaluate language ideologies that motivate language planning and language policies;
recognize the importance of rhetoric in communication and society.
The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.
Mode of instruction
Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.
Tutorials are held once every two weeks, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform your tutor in advance. Being absent at more than two of the tutorial sessions will result in a lowering of your tutorial grade (30% of the end grade) with 1 point for each session missed after the first two sessions. Please note that being absent at any tutorial session may have a negative impact on the grade of the assignment due for that particular tutorial session. This is at the discretion of the tutor.
Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), which equals 140 hours, broken down by:
Attending lectures: 24 hours
Attending tutorials: 12 hours
Assessment hours (exams): 4 hours
Study of compulsory literature (approximately 7 pages / hour): 64 hours
Completing assignments, preparing for classes and exams: 36 hours
Midterm Exam: Written examination with 2 essay questions and 25 multiple choice questions worth 50% of the exam grade.
Final Exam: Written examination with 2 essay questions and 30 multiple choice questions worth 40% of the exam grade.
To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:
The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of Tutorial grade, Midterm Exam grade, and Final Exam grade.
The weighted average of the Midterm Exam grade and the Final Exam grade needs to be 5.5 or higher.
This means that failing Exam grades cannot be compensated with a high Tutorial grade.
If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or the weighted average of Midterm- and Final Exams is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier Midterm- and Final Exam grades. No resit for the tutorial is possible.
Please note that if the Resit Exam grade is lower than 5.5, you will not pass the course, regardless of the tutorial grade.
Retaking a passing grade
Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2018 – 2019.
How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.
- Wardhaugh, Ronald and Janet M. Fuller. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. 7th ed. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2015.
Enrolment through uSis for Tutorials and Lectures is mandatory.
Students will be enrolled for Exams by the Administration Office, as long as they have a valid Tutorial enrolment.
The programme’s administration office will register all first year students for the first semester courses in uSis, the registration system of Leiden University.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.