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Languages of the World


Admission requirements

No specific admission requirements.


The basic concepts that are used in linguistics make it possible to speak about usual phenomena in language. In this course, students are made familiar with the most important concepts; they gain insight into the distribution and diversity of the languages of the world and are introduced to striking features of certain languages or language families. This course also addresses the classification of languages based on genealogical and/or typological features, and the number of extant languages and their degree of endangerment or vitality. By learning about a variety of subjects and regions, students are also prepared for the track choice in the second year. On the basis of a number of especially non-European languages, important linguistic phenomena are discussed, such as, for example, transitivity, ergativity and morphological complexity

Course objectives

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • apply the basic concepts used in linguistics

  • provide a first description of the language diversity and the way in which languages are classified, both genealogically and typologically

  • provide a first description of the situation (endangered or vital) in which the languages of the world find themselves

  • analyze a number of special features of languages of the regions that can be further explored during the studies

  • make an informed choice between the options offered within the framework of the studies


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


The assessment consist of a midterm exam and a final exam
Midterm: take-home examination
Final: examination with short open questions


Midterm exam (30%)
Final exam (70%)

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the results of the exams.


In case of an insufficient final grade, students can take a resit of the final exam.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Pereltsvaig, Asya (2021). Languages of the World: An Introduction, third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory


For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar

For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies