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Chinese Linguistics: The State of the Art


Admission requirements



This course will bring students up to date with respect to most relevant aspects of Chinese linguistics. Taking a broad view, we will investigate recent developments in the such fields as historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, grammar, dialectology, etc. In doing so, we will at the same time, work towards (re)introducing most of the important basic notions in linguistics.

Course objectives

The course aims at providing the students with a broad understanding of current issues in Chinese linguistics. Besides, the course aims at developing further their research skills, as well as their skills in reporting on their findings, both in writing and orally, for general as well as scholarly audiences.


Check timetable

Mode of instruction

Lectures on specific topics, discussion about the readings.

Course Load

  • time spent on attending lectures and seminars: 26 hours

  • time for readings/class preparation: 104 hours

  • time for assignments: 60 hours

  • time for the term paper: 90 hours

Assessment method

  • several oral and written assignments (40%)

  • term paper (60%)

Compensation possible, but the term paper must minimally be awarded with a 5.
Those who fail the course can resit the term paper.


Blackboard will be used as the need arises.

Reading list

  • Huang, C.T.J., A.Y.H. Li and A. Simpson, The Handbook of Chinese Linguistics. 2014. Wiley Blackwell. Note: e-version available through the University Library!

  • Pinker, Steven, The language instinct. How the mind creates language. [orig. publ. 1994; any subsequent printing by any press is okay]

We will occasionally refer to the following two works:

  • Norman, J. Chinese. Cambridge University Press. [orig. publ. 1988; any subsequent printing is okay]

  • Chen, P., Modern Chinese. History and Sociolinguistics. Cambridge University Press. [orig. publ. 1999; any subsequent printing is okay]

  • Occasional supplementary reading material will be announced at Blackboard.


Registration through uSis


Email: Dhr Prof. dr. R.P.E. Sybesma