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Language Acquisition 2: The Spoken Word


Admission requirements

It is strongly recommended to have taken Linguistics 1: The Phonetics of English, or equivalent.


The aim of the Language Acquisition 2: 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 that you have studied at home in short in-class speaking assignments. You also 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.

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.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Weekly ninety-minute tutorial in the language laboratory.

  • Self-study of vocabulary, idioms and pronunciation.

Assessment method


A Written Exam and an Oral Exam.


  • Written Exam (in-class Mini-Exams) (70%)

  • Oral Exam (30%)

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.


You can resit the course if the average across the two components is below 5.5. You can resit the Written Exam component if the average of the in-class Mini-Exams is below 5.5; a two hour exam replaces the Mini-Exams in that case. You can resit the Oral Exam if your grade for this component is below 5.5.

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

  • Smakman, Dick (2020) Clear English Pronunciation. A Practical Guide. Abingdon: Routledge.

  • Vocabulary and idioms materials: Available from Brightspace.


Enrolment through My Studymap (Login | Universiteit Leiden) is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

NB: First year students will be enrolled by the coordinator of studies. All other students need to contact the coordinator of studies to be enrolled for this course.

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



Not applicable.