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Advanced Typology


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 about various theories accounting for cross-linguistic patterns of alignment, grammatical relations, and various interpretations of the notion of ‘subject’.
    1. To investigate particular constructions crosslinguistically on the basis of three descriptive grammars from languages in Asia, America and Africa.
    2. To discuss case studies of typological research relating to (for instance) word order, the use of typology in language reconstruction, contact-induced typological change, phonological typology, or the typology of an understudied word class, such as ideophones.
    3. 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

Attending lectures: 28 hours
Studying the compulsory literature: 110 hours
Completing assignments: 52 hours
Writing the final essay: 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%


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

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.


Enrolment in uSis is obligatory. If you have any questions, please contact the student administration, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

When registering, students that are registered for the specialisation that this course belongs to, or the Research Master, take priority. The deadline for registration is August 15. All other students should contact the coordinator of studies

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


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