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Language Use in the World


Admission requirements

First year’ students BA Linguistics will be enrolled in the tutorials of this course by the Education Administration Office. Other students should first contact the coordinator of studies, Else van Dijk. Self-enrollment is not possible for this course.

Catalognumber English course Language use in the World: 5511VE009


This course builds on the topics discussed in the first semester course Language in Use and deepens the understanding of the core concepts introduced in that course. The focus of this course is on diversity in the way people think about language use across the globe. What are the (social) norms of language use, what is and is not appropriate behavior, pertaining both to verbal and non-verbal communication? In this course we will concentrate on the similarities and differences found in cross-cultural communication and the linguistic or cultural motives associated with them and we will investigate how patterns of language use are connected to the social-cultural context in which they are observed.
The course covers the following topics (amongst others): languages and status; language and knowledge; language and politics; language folklore; orality.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge and understanding of concepts and phenomena related to ethnography of communication

  • Knowledge of cross-cultural differences and similarities in language use and understanding of the consequences for intercultural communication.

  • Analytic skills to interpret and understand interpersonal communicative interaction.


Linguistics Bachelor

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load (number of EC x 28 hours 5 × 28 = 140 hours

  • Attending lectures: 2 hrs/week x 13 weeks = 26 hrs

  • Attending seminars: 1hr/w x 13 weeks = 13 hrs

  • Academic Skills lectures: 12 hrs

  • Exam: 2 hrs

  • Studying compulsory literature: based on 7p/hr, 480 pp. = ca. 67 hrs

  • Completing assignments: 4×5 hrs=20 hr

Assessment method

  • 4x short paper (60%)

  • final exam (40%)

The full collection of papers count as a practical assignment and as a consequence all papers have to be completed to partake in the exam.
End grade
To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of the papers and the final exam.

  • The grade for the final exam needs to be 5.5 or higher.


If the end grade is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the exam. No resit for the papers is possible.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.


Blackboard is used to provide course information and material and papers are handed in and assessed via Blackboard.

Reading list

Senft, Gunter. 2014. Understanding Pragmatics. Understanding Language Series. Oxford/New York, NY: Routledge.

Attention: This book is different from Birner, Betty J. 2013. I Introduction to Pragmatics that is used in Language in Use.

Additional readings are announced on Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website

Students - not registered as students BA Linguistics – who would like to enroll in this course should first contact the coordinator of studies, Else van Dijk


Aone van Engelenhoven

Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats