Universiteit Leiden

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Ton van Haaften

Professor Emeritus

Prof.dr. T. van Haaften
+31 71 527 2727

Ton van Haaften is professor emeritus at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics and Dean of the Honours Academy.

More information about Ton van Haaften


How can we explain the effects someone’s language use has on others? Language can be used to successfully (or, indeed, unsuccessfully) convey a message, solve a conflict, or to incite action, to name just a few of the possible effects. The nature and range of the effects of our language use can be relatively insignificant (such as being sent in the right or wrong direction in an unfamiliar city), significant (such as winning or losing a lawsuit), or profoundly significant (such as bringing about or preventing violent actions). Language use is usually a form of social interaction and, as such, is seldom impartial. In addition, our use of language is quite versatile, varied and flexible and is constantly developing. What are the mechanisms at work in language use? Insight into the nature of these mechanisms offers more than the mere satisfaction of curiosity; it can help us to use language more effectively as well as allow us to be more critical observers of our own and others’ language use. This will, in turn, allow us to better participate in our society. My fascination with language use is thus not only inspired by my scholarly passion, but also by my involvement in society.



  • (2002) with C. van Bree & A. van Santen, "Taalnormen", Taal in gebruik, Theo Janssen (ed.), Den Haag, Sdu Uitgevers, pp. 251-263.
  • (1999) "Definitions in legal discussions", Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation, Frans H. van Eemeren et al (eds.), Amsterdam, Sic Sat, pp. 290 -295.
  • (1997) "Over de status van taalkundige argumenten in juridische betogen", Op goede gronden, E.T. Feteris, H. Kloosterhuis, H.J. Plug & J.A. Pontier (eds.), Nijmegen, Ars Aequi Libri, pp. 90-97.
  • (1994) "Juridische taalkunde", Geïntegreerde rechtswetenschap, R. Foqué, R. Ladan, E. Rood-Pijpers & A.C. Zijderveld (eds.), Arnhem, Gouda Quint, pp. 221-238.
  • (1994) "Taalnormen en de rechtvaardiging van de interpretatie van rechtsregels", Met reden omkleed, E.T. Feteris, H. Kloosterhuis, H.J. Plug & J.A. Pontier (eds.), Nijmegen, Ars Aequi Libri, pp. 145-153

Professor Emeritus

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Univ Centre for Linguistics
  • LUCL Nederlands


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