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Universalien und Rarissima: Deutsch in der Sprachtypologie


Admission requirements

BA German or BA Linguistics plus a good command of German.


Where we come from determines what we regard as normal. This holds for many areas, and also for language. Speakers growing up with German or a related Germanic language expect languages to have certain properties. These might include articles, for example, or a perfect formed with “have”. For linguistics, it is important to question such – often implicit – prejudices. How common are articles in the languages of the world? What other strategies are there for forming the perfect? What properties are found in many languages but are absent in German? Is German, typologically speaking, an ‘exotic’ language? These and related questions are addressed in this course.

Course objectives

After completing the course, students possess:

  • A sound knowledge of and insights in the grammar of German from a typological perspective

  • Elementary knowledge of phonological, the morphological and syntactic characteristics of non-Germanic languages

  • The ability to report – in an adequately scientific manner – in oral and written form on observations about language and on selected linguistic literature. This is proven in an oral presentation and in a short written essay.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method

  • Active participation in class

  • Oral presentation

  • Brief written version of the presentation (1000 words)

  • Essay (7000 words)
    The participants will receive written feedback on the oral presentation, the abstract and the essay.


  • Active participation in class: 5%

  • Oral presentation: 25%

  • Brief written version of the presentation (“abstract”): 20%

  • Essay: 50%

The essay has to be sufficient, i.e. 5,5 or higher. The final grade for the course has to be sufficient, i.e. 5,5 or higher.


A resit is only possible for the essay.

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 material will be provided during class


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.

General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website

Registration Contract teaching and Exchange

Not applicable


For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies