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Anthropological Linguistics


Admission requirements

No requirements.


The aim of the course is to explore the reflexive relation between cultural patterns, language use and linguistic structures and the relation between language and world view and language and cognition. Attention will be paid to the linguistic and cultural specific expressions in African communities of conceptual domains such as colour, space, and time. Other topics include: Ethno-psychology (body and mind, personhood, disease, illness and the cultural construction of the sensorium); Ethno-philosophy (indegenous knowledge systems, moral values and cultural keywords); Ethno-syntax (culture in grammar, for example the cultural motivations for nominal classisfication systems); Literacy practices and cultural change (modes of education).

Course objectives

To gain insight into the forms and uses of language from an ethnographic perspective.



Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • seminar

Course load

Total 140 hrs (5 EC)
Lecture: 13 × 2 hrs = 26 hrs
Take home- exam = 4 hrs
Literature = 110 hrs

Assessment method

Class presentation 20 %
Take home exam 80 %

Resit: take home 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.



Reading list

Required reading throughout the course: Foley, W.A. Anthropological Linguistics. Hoboken: Blackwell.

Additional readings will be assigned in class.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Contact information

Teacher Dr.Sara Petrollino

Coordinator of Studies: P.C. Lai LL.M. MSc

Education Administration Office: van Wijkplaats