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De Sturende Kracht van Taal: Argumentative and Rhetorical Practices


Admission requirements

No specific formal requirements other than general requirements for the MA, but basic knowledge of pragmatics and/or argumentation theory is necessary.


This course combines linguistics and argumentation theory by studying the interconnections between language and argumentation, as manifested most clearly in the rhetorical use of words and grammatical constructions and in the use of ‘linguistic’ arguments (“Those are your words, not mine!”).
In Part I (English) we study literature at the interface of language and argumentation, starting out with Ducrot’s seminal work on argumentativity in the language system and more recent applications thereof in cognitive linguistics, such as, in particular, Verhagen’s notion of intersubjectivity. As a guiding question for part I, we will ask ourselves where such argumentative/rhetorical aspects of language are to be situated in our model of language, especially where it concerns the classic distinction between semantics and pragmatics (implicatures).
In part II, you have the option of taking either the Dutch part on ‘De sturende kracht van taal’ (the rhetorical power of language) or the English part on ‘Argumentative and rhetorical practices’. In the Dutch part, the focus is more on linguistics (constructions from Dutch) whereas in the English part the focus is more on argumentation. Both parts are dealing with a specific issue. In the Dutch part we focus on the linguistic expression of emotion by means of expressive grammatical constructions. In the English part, we combine Gricean pragmatics and argumentation theory to study strategic manoeuvers with the distiction between explicit and implicit information and truth.

Course objectives

After having completed this course, you will be able to

  • Summarize and reflect on different theories about the relationship between language and argumentation

  • Apply theoretical insights in an analysis of authentic data

  • Compose a paper on this topic that meets the standards of a scientific publication


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Mode of instruction

The course starts out in the form of lectures but gradually takes the form of a seminar in which the participants discuss the literature and report on their own research findings.

Assessment method

  • Take home examination after part I (40%)

  • Paper after part II (60%)

Both subtests need to be sufficient (at least 5.5) and there is a resit for both.

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

To be announced.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats
E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies


Please note that you do not have to speak Dutch to take this course.