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Languages of the World


Admission requirements

No specific admission requirements.


In linguistics, basic concepts are used that make it possible to speak about usual phenomena in language and also recognize these phenomena. 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 have acquired:

  • knowledge of the basic concepts used in linguistics

  • insight into language diversity and the way in which languages are classified, both genealogically and typologically

  • insight into the situation (endangered or vital) in which the languages of the world find themselves

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

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


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

Interactive lecture (2 hours) with weekly assignments, which will be discussed during the lectures.

Assessment method


Assessment takes place by a take-home midterm examination and a written 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 (2017). Languages of the World: An Introduction, second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


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


This course is open to students from the BA Linguistics only.