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Language typology


Admission requirement

Propedeuse BA Linguistics or equivalent


Language typology charts the similarities and differences across languages around the world by comparing their formal features, irrespective of historica land geographical factors. How much do languages differ from each other? And to what extent do they adhere to general principles, despite these differences?
During this course, we will study a number of structural similarities and differences between languages, with a focus on (morpho)syntactic patterns recurring in the languages of the world. Which features coincide? Why are some patterns much more common than others? We will explore the basics of typological research, including how to create a representative sample of languages, and we look at the applications of linguistic typology. In addition, we will discuss how typological knowledge informs linguistic fieldwork on an undescribed language.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students will have:

  • An understanding of the ways in which languages are similar (linguistic universals) and different (linguistic diversity)

  • Knowledge of fundamental notions and methods regarding language typology (e.g. sampling, implicational hierarchies, and universals)

  • Basic skills needed to apply typological principles on primary data (gathered in fieldwork for example)


Linguistics bachelor (BA)

Mode of instruction

Combination of lecture and tutorial

Course Load

The coarse load is 140 hours:

  • 26 hours for lecture attendance

  • 50 hours for study of compulsory literature and class preparation assignments

  • 64 hours for the assignments, the preparation of a poster presentation and the final assignment

Assessment method

Assesment will be done on the basis of three assignments, a poster presentation and the writing of a final paper. The poster presentation and the paper need to be graded as sufficient to pass the course.


  • Assignments (30%)

  • Presentation (20%)

  • Paper (50%)


In case of an insufficient final grade, students can take a resit for the final paper.

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 be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • general announcements

  • access to PowerPoint lectures

  • assignments

  • if applicable, supplementary readings – within the boundaries of copyright

Reading list



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


For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher Ms. V. Nyst

Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats

E-mail address Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats:

Coordinator of Studies