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Linguistics 6: Language Change


Admission requirements

Pass marks for Linguistics 1, 2 and 4 (or similar courses)


Whether we like it or not, all languages change. The interesting question is how, and why. In this course, we consider different types of linguistic change (phonological, morphological, semantic, syntactic) and try to determine their causes. In addition, we will see how our knowledge of linguistic change can be used to reconstruct earlier stages of a language, in particular those stages for which no written records are available. Our examples will be mainly drawn from English, but we will also consider a variety of other languages.

Course objectives

Insight into language change
Insight into theoretical approaches within historical linguistics


The timetable is available on the “ website”:

Mode of instruction

Seminar (2 hours)

Course Load

The course load of this course is 140 hours.

  • 12 hours spent on attending seminars

  • 48 hours for studying the compulsory literature

  • 80 hours for preparing the exam

Assessment method

Written exam: 100%


Reading list

Campbell, Lyle (2013). Historical Linguistics. An Introduction (3rd edn). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory. Please note that students other than BA English language and culture studies will have to have permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch