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Languages of South and Southeast Asia: History, Context and Structure


Admission requirements



Languages of South and Southeast Asia provides an introduction to the historical, cultural, and structural dimensions of the languages of South and Southeast Asia. The course provides both knowledge about these languages in their historical, cultural, and linguistic contexts and insight into the main ways in which these languages are studied. The course is divided into two blocks. After an introduction to the language map and language families of South and Southeast Asia, the first block surveys the cultural and historical formations of language use in early South and Southeast Asia, followed by a survey of modern South Asia as a linguistic area and an introduction to the subject of language endangerment. The second block will present a number of case studies, mainly from Insular Southeast Asia, on current issues of language use, language politics, language folklore, and language discrimination. This block is shared with the course Language Use in the World (Linguistics).

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the language map and the genetic relations between languages in South and Southeast Asia, especially India and Indonesia;

  • knowledge of and insight into the social and political roles of languages in the contemporary states of South and Southeast Asia, in historical perspective;

  • knowledge of and insight into the socio-cultural dimensions of languages in South and Southeast Asia;

  • acquaitance with the scientific study of language and an introduction to the disciplinary focus of Linguistics.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


Two written examinations: one at the end of the first block (50%) and one at the end of the second block (50%).


The final mark of the course is established by determining the weighted average.


The individual exams cannot be retaken. There is one opportunity of the entire course (100%).

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

Selected readings will be announced on Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte.

Registration Contractonderwijs.


For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar. * For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).