Language and Communication

The Master’s in Linguistics specialisation in Language and Communication at Leiden University examines the various aspects of language in its function as the ultimate communication tool for human beings. The diverse linguistic expertise at Leiden University makes this a unique opportunity to discover how languages become – sometimes fundamentally – different instruments of communication within the world’s contrasting cultural and social systems.

Choose Language and Communication at Leiden University:

  • Gain in-depth knowledge of the interaction between languages and the environments in which they are put to use.
  • Learn from a dedicated team of active researchers of high academic standing, who provide constant support throughout the programme.
  • Acquire an outstanding qualification and the foundation for a wide range of future careers.
  • Choose from the largest selection of languages (varying from Chinese to German, from Papuan to Slavic languages, and many more) taught and studied at any institution in the Netherlands or the surrounding region.
  • Follow courses that build on and benefit from the research carried out at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL), one of the largest linguistics institutes in the Netherlands. Members of the research group on “Language Use” play a key role in the programme.

Check out the programme in Language and Communication.

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Read LUCL’s Leiden Language Blog. It features blog posts written by members of the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics related to ongoing linguistics or language research.

Master details

  • This is a specialisation of: Linguistics
  • Degree Master of Arts in Linguistics
  • Mode of study Full-time
  • Duration 1 year
  • Start date September, February
  • Language of instruction English, Dutch
  • Location Leiden
  • Croho/isat code 60815

Student Nikki about Linguistics

Student testimonial

Niels Eigenraam

“There’s more to language than spelling or grammar”

“Language fascinates me. How do we use language to communicate, and why do we communicate in a particular way? We all have our own ideas about language so it can go wrong, but on the whole it’s amazing that we understand one another so much of the time.

One of the strong points of this master’s is the wide choice of subjects and the freedom to choose the direction you want to go in. For some of the subjects you will be in a group of, say, 8 students, and for others there will be sixty or more. Leiden really stands out for its linguistic research; the fact that there are no fewer than 10 specialisations shows that. The quality of the teaching is very high. I tend to focus more on the pragmatic side of the subject (language use and evolution). On the other hand, I’m also interested in formal semantics, which is about logical symbols and relations.

For my bachelor’s thesis I studied dialect use in the Netherlands. I looked at an online consumer-to-consumer website and created and analysed a corpus of the adverts. My research was published in a professional journal, Nederlandse Taalkunde, which was a real kick! I definitely intend to use a similar online corpus for my master’s research.”
Linguistics has a lot of relevance because it helps us use language more clearly. Linguists are not interested in whether something is correct or not, but in how language is used. There’s more to language than just spelling or grammar. The way you speak can tell other people what group you belong to, even what kind of person you are. Added to that, language is always changing. You can see that easily in youth culture, for example. Language plays a big role in group dynamics; there’s a lot still to learn about how that works.”

See also Why international students choose the MA in Linguistics at Leiden University.

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