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Topics in Amerindian Ethnolinguistics


Admission requirements

BA in Linguistics or related discipline.


This course approaches language as a set of cultural practices and so aims to study the Amerindian languages of South America through the lens of anthropological concerns. We focus on key cultural concepts on two levels. On the cognitive level of perceptions, concepts and categorizations, we will discuss and analyze different taxonomies such as flora and fauna, colour terms, bodyparts, sensual processes, and conceptions of the world. On the level of performative practices we will analyze the enactment of cosmological values, taking key concepts such as sociality and socialization, leadership, and possession.
Reading material for this course consists of relevant articles on a given topic that will be made known during the first class.

Course objectives

Course objective 1: To acquire a deep knowledge of the key ethnolinguistic topics in South American Amerindian cultures.

Course objective 2: To be able to identify a general typology of the linguistic expression of South American Amerindian cosmologies

Course objective 3: To compare and evaluate current research trends and outcomes of Amerindian ethnolinguistics.


The timetable is available on the “MA Linguistics website”:

Mode of instruction


Course Load

  • time spent on attending lectures and seminars: 26 hours

  • time for studying the compulsory literature and preparing for class: 78 hours

  • time to prepare for the presentation, exam and/or write a paper (including reading/research) : 176 hours

Assessment Method

Active participation including submitting weekly discussion points on Blackboard (30%), a presentation of 30 minutes (30%), and an essay (40%).

Resit: students who fail the course may resit the essay.


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

To be announced during class.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
When registering, students that are registered for the specialisation that this course belongs to, or the Research Master, take priority. The deadline for registration is August 15. All other students should contact the “coordinator of studies”:

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Student administration Van Eyckhof