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Language Acquisition 4: Public Speaking in Theory and Practice


Admission requirements

A pass for Language Acquisition 2: 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 timetables are available through My Timetable.

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.

Assessment method


  • Written examination with closed questions and short-answer questions in the Reading Week

  • Presentations


  • Written examination with closed questions and short-answer questions: 50%;

  • Presentations: 50%.

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.


A minimum mark of 6 for the presentation is required to pass the course. If the final grade is 5 or less students may resit the insufficent written examination.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Leith, S. (2019). You talkin’ to me? Rhetoric from Aristotle to Trump and beyond. London: Profile.

  • Public speaking in theory and practice: Texts and assignments Reader on Brightspace


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Student administration Arsenaal