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Advanced Typology


Admission requirements

BA in linguistics or a language. Knowledge of basic linguistic terminology is required.


Linguistic structures are generally not randomly distributed around the globe: some seem to be universally preferred, others are common in certain parts of the world, or in particular language families. The goal of modern typology is to detect distributional patterns, and to explain them in terms of factors that influence the historical development of languages.

The course focuses on the more practical issues of setting up and carrying out a typological research project. To this end, students carry out a research project during the course. Questions that we will address include: What is a good research question? How do I determine a good sample? How can I compare between languages? How do I look up the information I want? How can I use exiting databases? We focus on several areas of grammar as potential topics for a research study.

Course objectives

At the end of this course you will be able to

  • formulate a typological research question

  • design a variable and database system that allows you to capture cross-linguistic variation with respect to a linguistic phenomenon

  • apply different ways to compare sometimes very different languages

  • collect information from grammatical descriptions of languages unknown to you

  • understand explanations for given distributions of linguistic features


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method

  • Contributions to group discussions (requirement, pass-non-pass)

  • Problem-sharing session (requirement, pass-non-pass)

  • Short presentation during a class

  • Paper (take home)


  • Presentation (30%)

  • Paper (take home) (70%)


There wil be a possibility to resit the written exam (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

  • Van Gijn, Rik, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich & Steven Moran (in prep) Typology in Practice, selected chapters (will be made available on Brightspace).

  • Further literature will be announced later. Literature will be made available on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website

Registration, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


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

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats