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Topics in Lingiustics A: Africanisms in the Americas


****N.B. Course descriptions are subject to change***

Admission requirements

None. This course is open to students of Linguistics (research) only.


The African slave trade, beginning in the fifteenth century, brought African languages into contact with indigenous languages in the Americas and other European languages (Spanish, Portuguese, English, Dutch). Throughout the Americas this has generated different kinds of contact languages. This course explores the sociohistorical background of these languages. We survey the contexts and scenarios in the interaction between the African, indigenous American and European languages. We also investigate the multilingual practices that have led to the current linguistic landscape in the Americas. We will draw on examples from a number of areas that have a Dutch connection: Suriname, Papiamentu, Berbice Dutch and Negerhollands

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the students should be able to:

  1. The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing scholarly debates on African influences in the Americas.
  2. The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it.
  3. To expose students to current debates in areal linguistics from the perspective of the interactions between African languages and the languages in the Americas.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

In class discussion and presentations, including weekly discussion contribution to class forum (40%)
Final paper (60%)

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average according to the percentages given above.


Final paper for all components

Reading list

The course will draw on seminal works in the study of code-switching as well as more recent research published in journals and other compendia. Course materials will posted on Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website


For questions about the content of the course, please contact the teacher: M. Carmen Parafita Couto

Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats

E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

Coordinator of Studies


This course is intended for Research Master Linguistics and Research Master Latin American Studies students.