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Languages of South and Southeast Asia: History, Context and Structure


Admission requirements



The languages of South and Southeast Asia is an introduction to the historical, cultural, and structural dimensions of the languages of South and Southeast Asia. We provide both knowledge about these languages in their historical, cultural, and linguistic context and insights into the main ways these languages are studied.
The course consists of four blocks. After an introduction to the language map and language families of South and Southeast Asia (block I), we survey the current language situation in the countries of the region (II). In particular we look at the relationship between languages and ethnic identity and the role of national languages in the formation of nation-states. Subsequently (in block III) we discuss the cultural functions of language on a more local level, to conclude (in block IV) with various linguistic approaches to the region’s languages.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the language map and the genetic relations between languages in South and Southeast Asia, especially India and Indonesia;

  • Knowledge of and insight into the social and political roles of languages in the contemporary states of South and Southeast Asia, in historical perspective;

  • Knowledge of and insight into the socio-cultural dimensions of languages in South and Southeast Asia;

  • Acquaintance with the scientific study of language and an introduction to the disciplinary focus Linguistics


The timetable is available on the website of the Timetable

Mode of instruction


Attendance is not obligatory for lectures. The conveners do not need to be informed in case of missed classes. Information and knowledge provided in the lectures greatly contribute to the subsequent courses of the programme. In order to pass the course, students are strongly advised to attend all sessions.

Course Load

Total course load for the course: 140 hours.

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 26 hours.

  • Approximate time for studying the compulsory literature: 76 hours

  • Approximate time for writing the assignments: 36 hours

  • Examination: 2 hours

Assessment method


The course assessment has two components:

  1. Three written assignments

  2. A written final examination


  1. Each written assignment will contain two questions, one focused on knowledge of concepts/theory studied in the preceding block(s), and one on the application of those concepts/theory. The mark for each assignment counts as 20% of the overall mark (a total of 60% of the overall mark).

The assignments will be made available through Blackboard after classes #4 (covering block I and II) , 8 (about block III), and 11 (about block IV). The answers must be submitted one week later via Blackboard.

  1. The written final examination weighs 40% of the overall mark.


In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of “5.50” (=6) or higher. An exam re-sit is possible only for element (2).

The course is an integrated whole. The final examination and the assignments must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.

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.


Blackboard is used for:

  • the syllabus (extended course description) and reading list

  • making available of assignments

  • submission of assignments by students

  • announcements

Blackboard serves as the primary means of communication about the course between instructors and students outside class meetings. Registration for the course on Blackboard is essential.

Reading list

A reading list is to be announced later. The readings must be studied prior to the class in question.


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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr. Aone van Engelenhoven (course coordinator)