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Descriptive linguistics 1


Admission requirements

First year BA Linguistics or equivalent


This course is an introduction to both the practical and theoretical aspects of language description. The emphasis is on the linguistic analysis of phonological and morphosyntactic phenomena in the languages of the world. Relevant topics to the description of a language and the writing of a grammar will be introduced on the basis of concrete language examples. Solving linguistic puzzles and analyzing data are essential to the discovery of linguistics strategies in the languages of the world. The students will choose a grammar of a language unknown to them that has not been analyzed in great detail in order to describe morphosyntactic aspects of the language.

Course objectives

At the end of the course students should be able:

  • to apply techniques and conventions of descriptive linguistics

  • to show broad knowledge of basic grammatical topics that are relevant to the description of little studied languages

  • to formulate a basic linguistic argument

  • to provide a clear analysis of several aspects of the grammar of a non-western language


Linguistics bachelor (BA)

Mode of instruction

Werkcollege (Seminar)

This is a practical seminar and attendance is an obligatory requirement. Failure to attend due to special circumstances is subject to prior notification to the lecturer, stating reasons. Being absent on more than 2 seminars implies that the course cannot be finished.

Assessment method

The course will be assessed on the basis of the portfolio of assignments. The final portfolio can only be handed in if the attendance requirement has been complied with.


The final mark for the course is established by grading the portfolio of assignments.


The students can resit the portfolio of assignments on the condition that they have fulfilled the attendance requirement.

Reading list

A selection of chapters from textbooks and journal papers will be used. The reading list will be made available at the beginning of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs



Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats

E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats: osz-oa-reuvensplaats@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Coordinator of Studies


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