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Language in the City


Admission requirements

This course is meant for students from the BA Linguistics. If the course is full, these students have priority over students from other programmes.

Basic knowledge of linguistics is necessary in order to be able to follow the course.


This course takes a multi-angled perspective on the subject of language (use) in the city. Cities have very specific social dynamics, which set them apart from the countryside. First, they seem to function as a focal point for linguistic innovations; in the second place, they tend to attract people from very different geographical, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, leading to a unique blend of language uses that is much less generally found in non-urban environments.
In this course, we will study these dynamics from a whole variety of perspectives: from urban dialectology, to variationist sociolinguistics, to multilingual repertoires to urban youth speech styles. This will be done by reading and discussing original scientific articles, and, in some cases, by assignments. Examples will come from cities from all over the world, including the Netherlands.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the main methods and theories concerning the subject of the course.

  • Critical insight into the problems, challenges and possibilities of these methods and theories.

  • Academic skills: critical reflection on scholarly literature; oral presentation; paper.


Linguistics (BA)

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar with compulsory presence.

Each students presents one article during the course and animates the discussion of one more article. In addition, some weeks students have to hand in a research assignment.
In their final assignment, the student writes a review of one of the articles studied during the course
Both the final assignment and the presentation must be 6 or higher. All research assignments have to be handed in, and undertaken in a sufficient way.

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • Lectures: 26 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature, incl. preparation of discussion and research assignments: 72 hours

  • Exam(s): 42 hours

Assessment method


The course is assessed by means of:

(a) A presentation on one of the articles (30%) (b) Functioning as a leader of discussions for one other article (0%; compulsory) (c) A number of research assignments (0%; compulsory) (d) A paper in which the student writes a review of one of the papers that have been studied in class. This may be the one that the student gave her/his presentation about, but this is not necessary. (70%)


All three elements of the assessment are compulsory. (a) and (d) should be marked at least 6. (b) and (c) have to be accomplished, but for which no mark will be given. Without (b) and (c), the student will not be able to accomplish the course.


If a student fails her/his presentation or cannot present for good reasons (e.g. illness), there will be a possibility to do it once more. There is a possibility to do a resit for the paper; in this case a different article has to be chosen than in the first try.

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.


Blackboard will be used for communication.

Reading list

The reading list will be provided during the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website



Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats

E-mail address Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats:

Coordinator of Studies