nl en

Linguistics 6B: Abbreviation in Digital Language


Dit vak is vervallen

Admission requirements

Linguistics 2, Linguistics 3 (and preferably Linguistics 5b) are a prerequisite.


Languages have abbreviated registers such as diaries and newspaper headlines, which are abbreviated as compared to the normative, standard language. In these registers, many elements can be omitted — articles, past tense markers, subjects and objects and even verbs — that normally cannot be omitted in the standard register. Recent digitally–mediated forms of communication appears to be even more radically abbreviated in this respect. We know that omission of words and phrases in standard registers are governed by rules, and there are indications that just like standard registers, digital registers abide by rules as well. But what are these rules?
In this course we research what can be omitted in standard and digital registers. We discuss diaries/blogs, recipes, headlines and chat messages in English and other languages (predominantly Dutch). To understand the grammar of omission, we discuss the syntax of English clauses, identify the types of omissions and the syntactic and discourse conditions under which words and phrases can be omitted. After this, we look at abbreviated registers and identify how they differs from the standard registers in allowing more elements to be missing.

Course objectives

  • become acquainted with basic grammatical theories of omission

  • learn to identify the types of omitted material and their properties

  • learn about register variation

  • learn to apply knowledge to new linguistic data from English and from other languages

  • engage in independent research


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Seminar, Research

Assessment method


Classroom discussions and presentations; mid-term (written) exam and a final (written) research essay.

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.


  • Mid-term written exam: 50%

  • Essay: 30%

  • Presentation and participation: 20%.

A minimum of a 5.5 is required for both the essay and the final exam.


To pass the course, a minimum of a 5.5 is required for both the mid-term and the essay. If the mark for the final exam is a 5.49 or lower, the exam will have to be retaken during the resit period. If the mark for the essay is a 5.49 or lower, a resit essay will have to be submitted. There is no resit for presentations.

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 be organized.

Reading list

Articles and book chapters to be provided in the beginning of the course.


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

General information about uSis is available on the website


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

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


Not applicable.