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Language and Prehistory


Admission requirements

No specific requirements. Students need to have a basis in the methods of historical linguistics, e.g. through the BA1 course Historical Linguistics.


This course studies how linguistics can be used in order to reconstruct prehistory and history, and how, on the other hand, history changes language. Subjects that will be treated include: how to classify languages historically; how did lost languages leave their traces in modern languages or in toponyms; theories of language contact; pidgins and creaoles.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the main methods and theories concerning the subject of the course.

  • Critical insight into the problems, challenges and possibilities of these methods and theories.

  • Academic skills: critical reflection on scholarly literature; oral presentation; paper.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

One hour lecture and one hour seminar. Presence at the seminar is compulsory.

Assessment method


The course is assessed by means of: (a) A presentation on one of the articles (30%) (b) Functioning as a leader of discussions for two other articles (5% each) (c) A paper in which the student writes a “peer review” about one of the papers that have been studied in class. This may be the one that the student gave her/his presentation about, but this is not necessary. (60%)


All three elements of the assessment are compulsory and should be marked at least 6. Without the presentation or the discussion leadership, the student will not be able to accomplish the course.


If a student fails their presentation or cannot present for good reasons (e.g. illness), there will be a possibility to do it once more. There is a possibility to do a resit for the paper; in this case a different article has to be chosen than in the first try.

inspection and feedback

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

The reading list will be provided during the course.


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


not applicable