Universiteit Leiden

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Linguistics (specialisation) (MA)

Language Description and Documentation

Languages spoken around the world differ vastly from  the more familiar Indo-European languages. The courses in this theme aim to introduce you to the immense linguistic diversity still found in the world today. 

You will learn from experts who regularly carry out research in Africa, Asia and the Americas, and benefit from their knowledge of the many interesting features found in each of these regions. For example, you will learn how the perspective of the speaker determines syntax in languages of the Americas, the function of serial verb constructions in Africa, and  special ways to connect sentences in Asia. You will learn how to compare and evaluate key research directions in descriptive linguistics and documentation, ultimately equipping you with the insights and skills required to carry out independent research in the field.

Theme coordinator: Prof. dr. Maarten Mous

Semester 1


EC Core/Elective

Diversity Linguistics: Africa, Asia and the Americas

10 Core/Elective

Advanced Typology

10 Core/Elective

Field Methods

5 Core/Elective

Language Documentation

5 Core/Elective
Language, Culture, and Cognition 10 Elective


Semester 2 EC Core/Elective
Issues in Language Endangerment and Documentation 10 Core/Elective
Language Contact 10 Elective
Oral Traditions 10 Elective

* a 20 EC Thesis is obligatory in the second semester. An internship or an individual project can be arranged as an elective course either in the first or in the second semester.

Detailed programme

For a detailed programma, see the online study guide.

Please note that the Prospectus shows a provisional programme and list of courses.

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