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Specialization

Within the Research Master Linguistics and Communication Sciences offered by RU three specialization areas are distinguished, viz.

Each area offers a number of courses from which students can choose those that best fit their interests. In the course of the programme students are required to take a minimum of 5 elective courses (together worth at least 30 EC) from the courses that are offered as part of the Research Master’s programme Linguistics and Communication Sciences; the courses should form a coherent set. Students may combine courses from different areas. They may wish to do so for example if they are interested in studying a particular theme (e.g. multilingualism) from different perspectives (for example, combining a psycholinguistic with a computational linguistic approach).

Students are expected to plan and organize their own study programme.

Note that the number of specialization courses to be chosen differs per semester/year:

  • First year, first semester (Fall): select 2 courses, equaling at least 12 credits.
  • First year, second semester (Spring): select 2 courses, equaling at least 12 credits.
  • Second year, first semester (Fall): select 1 course, equaling at least 6 credits.

Students enrolled in the Linguistics and Communication Sciences programme may also consider taking courses from the Cognitive Neuroscience (CNS; track ‘Language and Communication’) programme or Tilburg University (TiU, ReMa Linguistics and Communication Sciences ).

Students can opt to replace one specialization course (max. 6 EC) with a course from a regular Master’s programme (for example Radboud University's Linguistics or Artificial Intelligence programme, or the Tilburg Communication and Information Sciences programme). However, if they wish to do so, this must be approved by the examination board before taking the course.

Language processing and acquisition

For students who want to specialize in psycholinguistics, cognitive linguistics, or language acquisition, the programme offers various courses that focus on how children learn their mother tongue and how people of all ages acquire a second (or third) language. Children the world over learn language in similar ways, and the explanation of this basic fact is the site of intense theoretical debate. Second Language Acquisition has certain things in common with learning a mother tongue, but there are also differences, which in turn feed more empirical data into the theoretical debate alluded to. Learning a second language is often done in school, with a standard variety as the target, which means testing a student's knowledge is an important topic.

Relevant courses are listed below.
Note: Courses marked with an asterisk (*) are offered in alternate years. If a course is not offered in the current academic year, this is indicated under 'period' as 'not offered in 2022-2023'.

Course name

Credits (EC)

Course code

Period

AI in Language and Communication Research (provisional title)

6

LET-REMA-LCEX33

1-2

Psychology of Language and Cultural Cognition

6

LET-REMA-LCEX29

1-2

* Speech Production and Comprehension

6

LET-REMA-LCEX17

1-2 (not in 2022-2023)

* Variation and Typology in Speech Prosody

6

LET-REMA-LCEX34

3-4

Technology-enhanced Language Learning

6

LET-REMA-LCEX26

3

Child Bilingualism

6

LET-REMA-LCEX27

3-4

Computational Psycholinguistics

6

LET-REMA-LCEX28

3-4

Multimodal Language and Cognition: Gesture and Sign

6

LET-REMA-LCEX21

3-4

Syntax in the Lab

6

LET-REMA-LCEX32

3-4

For courses offered by Tilburg University, as part of the Linguistics and Information Sciences programme, see under TiU courses. For courses offered as part of the RU Cognitive Neuroscience (CNS) programme, see under CNS courses.

Language and speech technology

The fields of language and speech technology study the computational modeling of language and speech production, understanding, and learning in context. More than any other field in linguistics, the fields are driven by technology and are at the forefront of computational modeling, big data, and machine learning. The fields have produced everyday products such as Google Translate, Apple Siri and autocorrection. None of these technologies are perfect, yet their potential is universally recognized, and with more training data and faster computers they get better each year. This technological drive does not mean the fields have lost their connection to their linguistic and cognitive roots. Data-driven models of language (i.e. the patterns and regularities that computers discover when confronted with massive amounts of language or speech) can shed new light on how language is structured and stored in the cognitive systems. These discoveries connect well with developments in e.g. usage-based linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and communication studies.

Relevant courses are listed below.

Course name

Credits (EC)

Course code

Period

AI in Language and Communication Research (provisional title)

6

LET-REMA-LCEX33

1-2

Introduction to Language and Speech Technology

6

LET-REMA-LCEX19

1-2

Text and Multimedia Mining

6

LET-REMA-LCEX06

1-2

Technology-enhanced Language Learning

6

LET-REMA-LCEX26

3

(Automatic) Speech Recognition

6

LET-REMA-LCEX10

3-4

Computational Psycholinguistics

6

LET-REMA-LCEX28

3-4

For courses offered by Tilburg University as part of the Linguistics and Information Sciences programme, see under TiU courses.

Communication and language behaviour

Language use varies between different groups in society. This field studies, for example, issues of language choice in particular communicative settings, but also aspects of the communication process itself, particularly the role of social media and digital media. In addition there are courses that investigate the social-psychological, or cognitive, effects of different communication patterns.

Relevant courses are listed below.
Note: Courses marked with an asterisk (*) are offered in alternate years. If a course is not offered in the current academic year, this is indicated under ‘period’ as ‘not offered in 2022-2023’.

Course name

Credits (EC)

Course code

Period

AI in Language and Communication Research (provisional title)

6

LET-REMA-LCEX33

1-2

Psychology of Language and Cultural Cognition

6

LET-REMA-LCEX29

1-2

Using and Acquiring Multiple Languages

6

SOW-DGCN19

2

Technology-enhanced Language Learning

6

LET-REMA-LCEX26

3

* Communication and Persuasion

6

LET-REMA-LCEX12

3-4

Non-nativeness in Communication

6

LET-REMA-LCEX14

3-4

For courses offered by Tilburg University, as part of the Linguistics and Information Sciences programme, see under TiU courses.