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Admission requirements

BA in linguistics or a language. Knowledge of basic linguistic terminology is required. Assumed background: an introduction to linguistic typology, e.g. Velupillai, Viveka (2012), An Introduction to Linguistic Typology. Amsterdam: Benjamins.


In this course, languages exhibiting typological differences and similarities will be studied from a cross-linguistic perspective. Some major current approaches to language universals and typology will be discussed. Guest lecturers will present the state-of-the-art of particular typological domains.

Course objectives

  1. To learn how arguments are morphosyntactically represented.

  2. To learn about different alignment systems (nom-acc, abs-erg and variations thereof).

  3. To learn about head-dependent asymmetries in phrase structure and in morphological markings.

  4. To study various interpretations of the notion of ‘subject’. .

  5. To learn how ditransitive and causative constructions are structured crosslinguistically, and how they are accounted for.

  6. To discuss case studies relating to e.g.: a. typological generalisations about word order; b. diachronic dimensions in typology: the use of typology in language reconstruction, and contact-induced typological change; c. phonological typology; d. dialects and typological research.

  7. To practice typological research, analysis, argumentation and presentation in written assignments, an oral presentation, and a final essay.


The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture and seminar

Course Load

  • time spent on attending lectures: 28 hours

  • time for studying thec ompulsory literature: 110 hours

  • time for completing assignments: 52 hours

  • time to write a paper (including reading/research): 90 hours

Assessment Method

During the course the students hand in a number of written assignments and do one oral presentation on a selected

  • Typological topic 50%

  • Final essay 50%


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

  • Comrie, Bernard. (1989) [2nd edition] or later reprints. Language Universals and Linguistic Typology. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

  • More recent developments in typology will be discussed using additional reading (articles, book chapters), to be made available through Blackboard.


Students should register through uSis. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte via:
Registration Contractonderwijs via:


MA Linguistics departmental office, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;