nl en

Chinese Linguistics: State of the Art (ResMA)


Admission requirements

This course is open to students of the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant Research MA. Students from other programmes are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course.


This course will bring students up to date with respect to most relevant aspects of Chinese linguistics. Taking a broad view, we will investigate recent developments in the such fields as historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, grammar, dialectology, etc. In doing so, we will at the same time, work towards (re)introducing most of the important basic notions in linguistics.

Course objectives

The course aims at providing the students with a broad understanding of current issues in Chinese linguistics. Besides, the course aims at developing further their research skills, as well as their skills in reporting on their findings, both in writing and orally, for general as well as scholarly audiences.


Seethe timetable of the MA Asian Studies (research).

Mode of instruction

Lectures on specific topics, discussion about the readings.

Course Load

Total Course Load 10 EC * 28 hours 280 hours
Attending lectures and seminars 26 hours
Extra contact hours Research MA students 6 hours
Readings/class preparation 98 hours
Assignments 60 hours
Term paper 90 hours

Assessment method

Academic Integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Several oral and written assignments 40%
Term paper 60%

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. Compensation between the parital assessments is possible, but the term paper must minimally be awarded with a 5.

The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


Only if the total weighted average is insufficient (5.49 or lower) and the insufficient grade is the result of an insufficient paper, a resit of the paper is possible (60%). In that case the convener of the course may assign a (new) topic and give a new deadline.

A resit of the other partial assessments is not possible.

Exam Review

Students are entitled to view their marked examination within a period of 30 days, following publication of the results of a written examination.


Blackboard will be used as the need arises.

Note: there is no separate Blackboard page available for this ResMa course. Please subscribe to the Blackboard page of the regular MA course.

Reading list

  • Pinker, Steven, The language instinct. How the mind creates language. (orig. publ. 1994; any subsequent printing by any press is okay)

We will occasionally refer to the following two works:

  • Norman, J. Chinese. Cambridge University Press. (orig. publ. 1988; any subsequent printing is okay)

  • Chen, P., Modern Chinese. History and Sociolinguistics. Cambridge University Press. (orig. publ. 1999; any subsequent printing is okay)

  • Supplementary reading material will be announced at Blackboard.

For the Research MA students additional readings will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ fields of interest. The extra sessions will be used to discuss the additional literature.


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “USIS-Actnbr.”. More information on uSis is available in Dutch and English. You can also have a look at the FAQ.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the webpage on course and exam enrolment for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.


Dhr Prof. dr. R.P.E. Sybesma


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.