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Die Welt auf Papier: Schrift und Schriftsysteme


Admission requirements

BA German Language and Linguistics or equivalent skills (C1 German).


In linguistics, writing is often seen as secondary: an artificial system that imperfectly represents the natural, spoken language. In this course we will question this view and explore the exciting world of writing. What are the major differences between speech and writing? How does writing influence our views on language? What kinds of writing systems do we find? How are writing systems developed for unwritten languages, and how can this help preserve endangered languages? What principles govern the rules of orthography? And what would happen if spelling wasn’t regulated and would be left free?

Course objectives

The students possess

  • A global understanding of the problems, terminology and methods of the linguistics of writing and writing systems

  • A global knowledge of writing systems

  • A new and critical perspective on linguistic units such as the phoneme, the word or the sentence

  • The ability to apply the acquired methods and terminology in oral and written reflection on written and spoken language

  • The ability to demonstrate the acquired knowledge and insights in oral and written form on an adequate level of German (in accordance with the OER)


The timetable is available on the MA Linguistics website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours.

  • Attending lectures: 26 hrs

  • Preparation for lectures and reading: 5 hrs/class = 65 hrs

  • Preparation of oral presentation: 20 hrs

  • Abstract (brief written version of the presentation): 29 hrs

  • Written essay: 140 hrs

Assessment method


  • Active participation in class

  • Oral presentation

  • Abstract (brief written version of oral presentation, 1000 words)

  • Essay (7000 words)


  • Active participation in class: 15%

  • Oral presentation: 20%

  • Abstract: 15%

  • Essay: 50%

  • The essay needs to be sufficient.


Resit is offered for the essay only.

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If requested by the student, an exam review will be offered within 30 days after publication of the exam results.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Communication and news

  • Course material

Reading list

Reading material will be distributed in class.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Jenny Audring

Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof