Language, Culture and Social Interaction: African perspectives
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleLET-TWM413
Credits (ECTS)5
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Arts; Linguistics;
PreviousNext 1
dr. S.N. Barasa
Other course modules lecturer
dr. M. Dingemanse
Other course modules lecturer
dr. M. Dingemanse
Other course modules lecturer
dr. M. Dingemanse
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. M. Dingemanse
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2022
PER 3-PER 4  (30/01/2023 to 03/09/2023)
Starting block
Course mode
RemarksAccessible to exchange students.
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
By the end of this course, students will
  • understand key sociolinguistic phenomena in relation to everyday language use
  • understand fundamentals of African language structures, with a special focus on interactional resources and ‘grammars of use’
  • have a strong sense of the interwovenness of language, culture and social interaction
  • be able to critically reflect on matters like linguistic diversity, multilingualism, lingua franca, code switching, and language contact
  • be able to demonstrate this capacity for critical reflection through active participation, an academic presentation, and a research proposal
Hosting nearly a third of the world’s languages, the African continent is one of the global hotspots of linguistic and sociocultural diversity. This course uses Africa’s linguistic diversity as a prism through which students discover the multifaceted nature of language, from its interactional foundations to its cultural embedding.

The foundation of the course is the use of language in social interaction. This empirical focus allows us to systematically address major topics of research in sociolinguistics, interactional linguistics and the ethnography of communication. Lectures are structured around concrete linguistic phenomena, from interactional routines like greetings or triadic communication to special registers like youth languages and avoidance vocabularies, and from verbal art forms like riddles to linguistic resources like naming conventions and noun class systems. The lectures show how such phenomena are grounded in interactive language use and how they can be understood in the light of theories about language, culture and communication.
Presumed foreknowledge
Only with permission from the coordinator of this course

Note for exchange students: you cannot take this course if your English proficiency level is not at least C1 (TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC or Cambridge). A statement from your home university won't be accepted.
Test information
Examination takes into account (i) students' active participation during classes; (ii) students' presentations and handling of peer feedback at the mini-conference; (iii) students' final research proposal.

Required materials
Articles will be provided.

Instructional modes

Test weight20
Test typeOral exam
OpportunitiesBlock PER 4

Minimum grade

Final Report
Test weight80
Test typeProject
OpportunitiesBlock PER 4, Block PER 4

Minimum grade