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Linguistics 6: Language Change


Admission requirements

Pass marks for Linguistics 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 BA English 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.


Written exam (100%)


If the final grade is insufficient students may resit the exam.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than three tutorials means that students will be excluded from taking the exam (or essay or other assignments) and resits. Consequently, the course cannot be completed during that particular academic year. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared and/or not bringing the relevant course materials to class.



Reading list

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


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Students other than BA English language and culture studies need permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.