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Advanced Topics in Indo-European Phonology


Admission requirements

The student should have a solid basis in Indo-European reconstruction, for instance by having completed the track Comparative Indo-European Linguistics of the Leiden BA Linguistics, or an equivalent programme elsewhere.


During this course, we study key issues in the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European phonology. We evaluate different approaches at establishing the phoneme inventory: the complexity of the vowel system (the problem of the vowel *a, the lengthened grade), the articulation of the stops (two or three velar series, the Glottalic Theory), and rules concerning Proto-Indo-European phonotactics (consonant clusters, neutralization processes, root constraints). At the background of this, we explore the most important principles of the comparative method: the difference between phonetics and phonology, problems of reconstructing allophony (vocalization processes, ruki’s rule), and strategies to distinguish between inherited and parallel developments (Sievers’s & Lindeman’s law). The aim of the course is to face the most important challenges concerning the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European and to strengthen our methodological tools to tackle them.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, the student
is able to apply the methods of historical linguistics to tackle more complex problems in the reconstruction of IE phonology
is able to summarize arguments in favor of or against certain phonological reconstructions
has developed insight in the difference between phonetics and phonology


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Assessment: Paper 100%

Resit If the quality of the paper is insufficient, there will be an opportunity to hand in an improved version.

Exam Review
Students are entitled to view their marked examination within a period of 30 days, following publication of the results of a written examination.

Reading list

The articles and books to be studied will be communicated at the beginning of the course. Brightspace will be used for:
making available study materials such as handouts and ppt presentations
communicating homework, schedule changes, etc.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Students other than MA Linguistics need permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.


Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats

E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

Coordinator of Studies