Elective: Languages of the World

Course description Elective: Languages of the World
Year: 2017-2018
Catalog number: 5182KEL18
Teacher(s):
  • Prof.dr. M. Terkourafi
Language: English
Blackboard: Yes
EC: 10
Level: 300
Period: Semester 2, Block III, IV
  • No Elective choice
  • No Contractonderwijs
  • No Exchange
  • No Study Abroad
  • No Evening course
  • No A la Carte
  • No Honours Class

Admission requirements

This course is only available for second year students in the BA International Studies.
The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

Language is a uniquely human phenomenon yet each language/culture encapsulates a unique way of viewing and interacting with the world. In this course, we focus on the world’s linguistic heritage from several perspectives. In the first part of the course, we discuss how to define a language and the distinction between languages and dialects, issues of language endangerment and revitalization, language change and contact between languages, as well as the status of world languages such as English. While some of this material will be familiar from the first-year course 'Sociolinguistics', the aim of this course is to consolidate theories and notions introduced in that course and to prompt you to critically engage with and apply these theoretical tools to current debates surrounding language issues in different geographical areas around the world.To this end, the second part of the course is dedicated to finding out more about the profiles of individual languages or groups of languages. Examples may include the Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, et c.), the Chinese group of languages, Bantu languages, or varieties of Dutch. Through class presentations of case studies from different languages, we focus on similarities in processes of language constitution and evaluation that intertwine with historical, political and economic aspects of the lives of the people concerned. By the end of the course, you should have a sound grasp of current debates in the field of sociolinguistics as well as a deep appreciation of the difficulties involved in describing and classifying a phenomenon so deeply entrenched in linguistic communication and thought.

Additionally, the students will work through:

  • W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Course objectives

The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:
Oral presentation skills:

1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.

Collaboration skills:

1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:

1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.

Written presentation skills:

1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Seminars are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. This course includes supervised research.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 10 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 280 hours, broken down by:

  • Attending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours
  • Time for studying the compulsory literature and completing weekly assignments (8 hours per week): 96
  • Preparation for presentations: 16 hours
  • Writing the final research essay (including reading / research): 134 hours

Assessment method

Assessment & Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
In-class participation 10%
In-class presentation 10%
Weekly web posting (2A4) 30%
Final research essay (5000 words) 50%

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note that the end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average.

Resit

Students who have been active participants in class and submitted the final paper on time, but scored an overall insufficient mark, are entitled to a resit. For the resit, students are given a chance to hand in a new version of the final paper.
In case of resubmission of the final essay (insufficient grade only) the final grade for the essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion. The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the final essay.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2017 – 2018.

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

Blackboard will be used for tutorial groups. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard for this course, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

Required readings (short articles, book chapters) will be made available on Blackboard one week before a particular topic is discussed.
Additionally, the following textbooks are recommended:

  • Anderson, Stephen (2012) Languages: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press (strongly recommended)
  • Pereltsvaig, Asya (2012) Languages of the world. Cambridge University Press.

The following book will also be used:

  • W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis can be found here.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Prof. Dr. M. Terkourafi

When contacting the lecturer, please include your full name, student number and tutorial group number.

Remarks

The deadline for submission of the final essay is 15 June 2018.
Passing this course is an entry requirement for the thesis and thesis seminar.

Languages