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Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Berber Linguistics I + II 10
Tarifiyt Berber 5
Tashelhiyt Berber 5
Language, Culture and Cognition 5

Choose the course below, or any other course from the Research Master Linguistics

Field Methods and Linguistic Analysis 5

Second semester

Core: Samples of Linguistic Structure I: Analysis 10
MA Thesis African Linguistics 20

Meer info

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation


In the course of the master’s programme in African Linguistic students gain a profound
understanding of linguistic research methods. The programme is internationally
renowned for the expertise it has to offer in the field of a large number of African
languages and linguistics. Students who are interested in linguistic issues can fully benefit
from this knowledge. Where possible, the courses will take the shape of individual
The aim of the master’s programme in African Linguistics is to prepare students to
perform linguistic analysis independently on an African language, showing awareness of
the cultural and linguistic context. Moreover, the resulting analysis must be relevant for
other linguists and African scholars.
Moreover, the programme aims to raise students to a level of knowledge and skills that
allows them to proceed to PhD research. Alternatively, graduates qualify for positions
outside the university that require an academic level of thinking.



First Semester

African Language and Structure (choose 2 courses)
Within this track students can choose two courses out of the courses offered in this MA.
Courses which may be offered include Analysis of Tone Languages, Language Contact,
and Nominal Classification. Courses from other master’s programmes in linguistics
offered in Leiden, such as the Research Master’s in Linguistics, can also be taken within
this track.

Advanced Fieldwork
This course offers an overview of and practice in new tools, methods and questions
pertaining to linguistic fieldwork. Student who do not have followed a fieldwork course
in their undergraduate studies take a practical training in the methods of elicitation
of linguistic data, in collaboration with a native speaker of a language that you are not
familiar with.

Language, Culture and Cognition
This course discusses the relationship between cultural patterns, language use and
language structure (language, worldview, and cognition). In particular it examines
the lexical structure in the domains of colour, space, family, time, ethnobotany,
ethnopsychology (emotions, health/illness of the body and mind), ethnophilosophy
(indigenous knowledge, cultural norms).

Linguistic Area Study
Students study a language group of their choice. Teaching either takes the form of an
individual tutorial or of a formal course depending on the number of students. Formal
courses are likely for following linguistic areas: Bantu languages, Berber languages, and
Cushitic and Omotic languages. The final part of the course includes an essay that can
serve as preparation for the final paper.

Second Semester

Samples of Linguistic Structures
Experts in geographically and typologically different languages will provide structural
overviews of the languages pertaining to their expertise. The course consists of a series
of short intensive seminars taking up four to eight hours. The African languages which
may be offered are Amharic, Lingala, Kinyarwanda, Dinka, Nama, Benchnon, Songhay,
Central Togo languages, Iraqw, Ngiti, Konso, Mbugu, Riffian Berber, Makwe, Hausa,
Nyamwezi, EKoti, Umbundu, Gbe, Akan, Tuareg, Lendu, and Somali.
Starting the programme in February
Leiden University offers the possibility to start MA programmes in February. If you
choose to do so, please take up contact early with the coordinator of the programme, as
we will have to set up a special programme.

Berber Linguistics
Within the master’s programme in African Linguistics, a special track is available, called
“Berber Linguistics”. This track has been developed in cooperation with Professor H.J.
Stroomer. Students taking this track can choose the course Introduction to Berber
Linguistics and First Berber Language as their African Language and Structure course,
and they have the option of specialising in the Berber language or on a topic that they
are interested in. By offering this option, we hope to attract students with a Berber
background from the Netherlands, Europe, and North Africa as well as to capitalise on
the expertise available in our Faculty at the moment (Professor H.J. Stroomer, Dr M.G.

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

In order to graduate, students need to have successfully completed the 60 ects
programme and have completed their final thesis as a component of that programme.
The thesis has a weight of 20 ects, and as a rule should not exceed a maximum of 17,000
words including notes, bibliography and appendices. To a large extent, the second
semester will be dedicated to writing the master’s thesis. Insofar as possible, students are
expected to conduct their research in Africa. In preparation, students are expected to
take a literature exam. A large part of the course will be taught in the form of individual
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