teach. write. edit. correct. review. research.

Round Robin (n) A petition in which the signees write their names in a circular pattern. Often used by sailors so that none of the signees could be identified as the ringleader, as a precaution against the severe punishments for disobedience and mutiny.

I believe that in writing, form doesn’t follow function, but form is function. I am a historical sociolinguist, specialised in questions of language standardisation usage and prescriptivism, language attitudes and the standard language, as well as Late Modern letter writing, corpus linguistics and discourse analysis. I  teach writing and presenting in academic English. I am also an editor and reviewer of works on language, particularly English usage and the history of English.

Robin Straaijer



Academic English

Academic publishing uses a specialised genre that requires a specific form of language use known as Academic English. I will help you master this special dialect of English. The courses are for those who need to improve their writing (and presenting) skills in Academic English, such as young academics (both native and non-native speakers of English) who are new to this very specific genre, or more established academics who have not published in English before. I teach Academic English writing in collaboration with Taalcentrum – VU in Amsterdam, and with Babel Talen in Utrecht, and I am available for personal tutoring in this genre as well.

Leiden University

Language Acquisition 1: pronunciation & vocabulary (BA)

Fall 2017. Department of English Language and Culture, University of Leiden

The Language of Jane Austen (MA)

Fall 2011. Department of English Language and Culture, University of Leiden (Jane Austen, English historical linguistics, and History of English Language)

Shakespeare and Early Modern English (BA)

Fall 2011. Department of English Language and Culture, University of Leiden (Shakespeare, English historical linguistics, Early Modern English drama, History of English Language)

Introduction to Late Modern English (BA)

Spring 2008. Department of English Language and Culture, University of Leiden (English historical linguistics, History of English Language, Late Modern English)


Standard English in America

In this project I research attitudes to prescriptivism, standard English, and the standard language ideology in the United States of America. It grew out of my work as a researcher in the project Bridging the Unbridgeable: linguists, prescriptivists and the general public at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics. I investigate how standard English and what is called the standard language ideology in America affects prescriptivism; how it relates to social class, race relations, and education; and how this affects the way Americans see each other and interact with each other.

Joseph Priestley, grammarian

The eighteenth century was a key period in the establishment of standard English. This period, referred to by linguists as the Late Modern English period, witnessed the publication of an unprecedented number of normative works aiming to define ‘correct’ English. The Englishman Joseph Priestley (1733–1804) is best known as a scientist and theologian, but his Rudiments of English Grammar, which first appeared in 1761, is an important work in the wave of English normative grammars published in the late eighteenth century.

I investigate Priestley’s role in the codification of the English language. The influence of Priestley’s grammar on the development of the standard language has been underestimated and merits re-evaluation. Priestley’s ideas on grammar are related to his broader philosophical thinking. Although Priestley is usually seen as one of the few descriptive grammarians of the period, his grammar also contains decidedly prescriptive elements, and that his adherence to the force of usage should be qualified.

The book will complement biographies of Joseph Priestley, and it will be interesting for those that want to know more about Priestley himself, or about the development of the English language in the Late Modern period.


My commissioned work falls mainly into the genres of theatre and travel photography. See the pages in the top menu for examples. You can also visit my flickr page for more photos and my personal work.


I document the shows of several Amsterdam-based improv theatre groups, easylaughs, Tag Out Theatre, and The Ferocious Four, where I capture the fun, action and drama of improvised comedy theatre. My photos are regularly published in Status, a Spanish/English language magazine about improvisational theatre. I am also one of the staff photographers for the International Improvisational Theatre Festival Impro Amsterdam.


I regularly shoot for city-trip articles in the largest independent travel magazine in The Netherlands, Columbus Travel, showing the latest and most interesting in off-the-beaten tracks in some of Europe’s lesser visited cities.

Terms and conditions for photographic work are those drawn up by the organisation DuPho (Dutch Photographers) and can be found here (in Dutch).