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Languages of the World


Admission requirements

There are no specific admission requirements.


The basic concepts that are used in linguistics make it possible to speak about common phenomena in language. In this course, students familiarise themselves with the most important concepts; they gain insight into the distribution and diversity of the languages of the world and are introduced to salient features of particular languages and language families or areas. In this course you will learn how to find reliable (meta-)information about a range of languages, including the classification of languages based on genealogical and/or typological features, socio-historical information, as well as their endangerment or vitality status. By learning about a variety of subjects and regions, students are also prepared for the track choice in the second year. On the basis of a number of (primarily non-European) languages, prominent linguistic phenomena are discussed, such as transitivity, ergativity and morphological complexity.

Course objectives

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • apply the basic concepts used in linguistics to a range of language structures;

  • provide a basic description of the world’s language diversity, including the genealogical and typological classifications;

  • find reliable information about different languages in the world (e.g. their classification, their vitality, their linguistic features, socio-historical information, bibliography);

  • recognise and describe a number of specific features of languages of the regions covered.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

The assessment consist of a midterm exam and a final written exam.


Midterm exam (25%)
Final exam (75%)

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the results of the exams.


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

  • Pereltsvaig, Asya (2021). Languages of the World: An Introduction, third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory

General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.


For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar

For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies