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Admission requirements

Participation in Taalkundig Veldwerk.


In response to a growing awareness about language endangerement and language death, language documentation has developed in the last two decades as a new area in linguistics. It encompasses the collection and preservation of primary linguistic data. This course will introduce the concept of language documentation and will train students to conduct high quality language documentation themselves. First, students will learn to use software tools that are commonly used for language documentation, such as ELAN and FLEx. These tools will also be useful for the parallel course “Taalkundig Veldwerk”. Afterwards, students will discuss the reasons and motivations for doing language documentation, and they will become acquainted with documentation using a hands-on approach. They will collect primary linguistic data, transcribe it, annotate it, and archive it. In other words, during this course students will conduct a mini-documentation project of their own.

Course objectives

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

  • discuss the motivations for conducting language documentation

  • perform high-quality audio and video recordings of primary linguistic data

  • manage (i.e. transcribe and annotate) the collected data using computer software

  • compile metadata based on the primary data collected and how it has been processed

  • conduct a documentation project



Mode of instruction

This course will be taught in seminars (werkcolleges), with heavy emphasis on practical excercises.

Course Load

The course load for this course is 140 hours.

Hours spent on attending seminars: 28 hours (2 hours a week x 14 weeks)
Hours spent on reading the compulsory literature: 50
Hours spent on completing small assignments: 15
Hours spent on completing documentation project: 47

Assessment method

This course will be assessed on three components: small weekly assignments, an in-class presentation and a documentation project.
The small weekly assignments are collectively worth 20% of the final mark, the presentation is worth 30% and the final documentation project is worth 50% of the total mark.
Retakes can only be done if the student handed in the original assignment before the deadline. They will consist in a repetition of the same task.


This course is supported by Blackboard. Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course. Please see:

Course notes/slides will be posted on Blackboard.

Reading list

Most of the course readings will consist of chapters of:

Gippert, Jost, Himmelmann, Nikolaus P., Mosel, Ulrike (2006). Essentials of Language Documentation. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

This book does not need to be purchased.


Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website
for information on how to apply.

Application for A la Carte
Application for Contractonderwijs

Enrollment through uSis for the course and the examination or paper is mandatory.

Contact information

E.I. Crevels


The course will be taught in English, but the students’ proficiency in English will play no role in assessment.