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Historical Linguistics


Admission requirements

Basic knowledge of phonology, phonetics and IPA. Students who have not followed the course Indo-European language and culture are advised to purchase and study the reader of that course.
Students who are not enrolled in the BA Linguistics should first contact the coordinator of studies


The structure and meaning of words and sentences change over time. How and why does language change? This course provides answers to these questions with the help of examples from various languages, but predominantly from English and closely related languages such as Dutch, German and Frisian. During the seminars, the same processes discussed during the lectures will be illustrated with excercises about the same phenomena in lesser known languages.

Students from the BA program Linguistics are also required to attend classes on Academic skills

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of and insight in the methodology of historical linguistics;

  • The skills to apply these insights to new data;

  • Knowledge of the terminology of historical linguistics.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Lectures (1 hour weekly) and seminars (1 hour weekly).

Assessment method

  • Oral presentation (20%)

  • Final written presentation (80%)

There is a resit covering the material of the written examination (80%) if the weighted average of the exams is insufficient.

Reading list

To be purchased before the start of the course: Robert McColl Millar (2015): Trask’s Historical Linguistics. 3rd edition. London/New York: Routledge..


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website

Registration Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs


For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar

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


First year’s students BA Linguistics will be enrolled in the seminars of this course by the Education Administration Office.