Maarten van Leeuwen
Maarten van Leeuwen is a University Lecturer at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics.
Fields of interest
Political discourse analysis
My main research interest concerns the rhetorical consequences of linguistic choices in argumentative discourse, a.o. in the domain of politics. Starting point for my research is the insight that language users almost always have a choice when it comes to describing objects or states of affairs in reality, and that such alternative formulations are nog interchangeable semantically. For instance, it makes a difference whether a glass filled for fifty per cent is described as ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’, whether people who oppose a political leader are characterized as ‘freedom fighters’ or as ‘rebels’, whether the European Union is metaphorically described as ‘one big family’ or as ‘a bottomless pit’, etc. Such linguistic (or: stylistic) variants are not neutral, but steer listeners or readers towards different conclusions about the phenomena involved.
In my research I study stylistic choices and their argumentative-rhetorical consequences from a linguistic angle. How do language users make use of stylistic choices to reach their rhetorical goals? For instance, how are linguistic choices used to create a political image (such as the image of being a ‘populist’)? I am also interested in methodological aspects of linguistic-stylistic research: how can linguistic choices and their rhetorical consequences be identified and analyzed in a systematic way? Since linguistic choices have a clear argumentative function, the third pillar of my research is the interface of linguistic stylistics and argumentation theory. How can insights from linguistic stylistics and argumentation theory be integrated in meaningful ways, in order to study how language users present their arguments strategically?
My teaching is on (linguistic) stylistics, argumentation theory and rhetoric. Courses I am currently teaching (in Dutch) are:
- The power of words: rhetorical effects of choices in formulation
- Strategic presentation of argumentation
- Rhetoric and Politics
- BA and MA thesis seminars
- 2016-present: Assistant professor, depts. Dutch Language and Culture / Linguistics (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics)
- 2008-2016: Lecturer, depts. Dutch Language and Culture / Linguistics / LUC The Hague (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics)
- 2009: Visiting scholar, Linguistics Department University of Berkeley, California (fall semester)
- 2007-2012: PhD candidate, NWO project ‘Stylistics of Dutch’ (Leiden University).
- 2003-2008: Lecturer, Academic Language Centre Leiden University
- 2006-2007 Course developer, Taalcentrum-VU, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
- 2006 MA Dutch Language and Culture, Leiden University
No relevant ancillary activities