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Core: Samples of Linguistic Structure I: Analysis


Admission requirements

There are no additional admission requirements.


This course consists of a series of compact structural surveys of minimally five languages, constituting a representative selection from different language types in different parts of the world. For each language, the sound system and the grammatical structure (morphology and syntax) is discussed along with other salient characteristics. The language data presented during the course are subject to the type of analysis generally found in solid, user-friendly language descriptions. In every stage of the structural surveys, the unity of the language as a system of mutually related elements and processes will be emphasized. The acquired knowledge is then put into practice by reading and analysing a representative sample of text in the language in question.
The teaching staff in charge of each structural overview consists of specialists in the languages to be dealt with. They include members of the tenured academic staff, but guest researchers or visiting professors not connected to Leiden University will also be invited to participate. An average structural survey comprises two sessions of 4 hours each.

The purpose of the course is to rapidly gain insight into the overall structure of languages previously unknown to the participants. It is essential for the ability to read and interpret grammars and linguistic descriptions, in which a great deal of coherent information must be processed, retained and evaluated. The course provides a basis for the study of whole languages, which may serve as a preparation for linguistic fieldwork aiming at the documentation of undescribed languages. This effect is obtained by the relatively short duration of the presentations and the compact character of each survey.

Course objectives

  • insight into the diversity of the languages of the world

  • ability to use specific information from language descriptions for comparative study in a sensible and critical way


The timetable will be available by June 1st at the website of Linguistics. Please check the Timetable

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Homework assignments


Yes. Blackboard

Reading list

Will be announced on the Blackboard website


Prospective students, please check the Study Abroad/Exchange website for information on how to apply.

Aanmelden voor Contractonderwijs

After application, students are to register for courses and exams through uSis

Contact information

Prof.dr. M.P.G. Mous
Dr. E.I. Crevels

Programme Linguistics Research