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Language and Prehistory


Admission requirements

No specific requirements. Basic knowledge of linguistics (esp. historical linguistics) is necessary in order to be able to follow the course.


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.


Linguistics (BA)

Mode of instruction

Seminar with compulsory presence.

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • Lectures: 26 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature, incl. preparation of discussion: 72 hours

  • Exam(s): 42 hours

Assessment method


The course is assessed by means of: (a) A presentation on one of the articles (20%) (b) Functioning as a leader of discussions for two other articles (0%) (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. (80%)


All three elements of the assessment are compulsory and should be marked at least 6 except for (b), which has to be accomplished, but for which no mark will be given. Without the presentation or the discussion leadership, the student will not be able to accomplish the course.


If a student fails her/his 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.


Blackboard will be used for communication.

Reading list

The reading list will be provided during the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website


Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats

E-mail address Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats:

Coordinator of Studies