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Language Documentation


Admission requirements



In response to the growing awareness of (1) the diversity of knowledge systems globally, including languages, (2) the ongoing language and cultural attrition that undermines this diversity, and (3) the consequent need for language revitalization, Language Documentation has developed in the last two decades as a new subfield of linguistics. It encompasses the collection, preservation, and distribution of primary linguistic data, often in a long-term transdisciplinary approach and in close collaboration with language speakers, typically people from highly marginalized groups who speak highly endangered languages. The aim of Language Documentation is to create a lasting, multi-media, and multi-purpose record of a language that can serve academic and non-academic purposes. We will start this course by clarifying what the differences (and similarities) between language description and language documentation. We will discuss the subparts of the process of language documentation. We will take a collaborative approach to documentation, and learn how to create a language documentation project by working in close collaboration with a speech community.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to: •Discuss the motivations for and pitfalls of language documentation; •Discuss the various ethical questions and good practices involved in different regions. •Discuss the role of the researcher and the community in language documentation research; •Critically reflect on their own conduct, methodologies, and ideologies in relation to language documentation research. •Plan and carry out a documentation project.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

This course will have three assessment components:
1) 3 small assignments/practical exercises (30%)
2) An oral presentation (10%)
3) Final paper (60%)
the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average

Please note that:

*active participation is a prerequisite for this course. Students who miss more than three classes and who do not participate in the in-class discussion can be excluded from the course.


Re-sit will consist of re-doing the presentation and re-writing the final paper.

Inspection and feedback

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

Reading list will be distributed during the first class. Brightspace


Enrolment through My Studymap (Login | Universiteit Leiden) is mandatory

Registration Studeren à la carte and 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


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