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Sinographics: Chinese writing and writing Chinese (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to 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 explores milestones and recurrent themes in the study of Chinese scripts and examines their import for the field of linguistics. We will trace developments in the Chinese character script, review its influence on other writing systems, and study the impact of printing and digital revolutions. We will also investigate alternative written modes in the sinophone world, including Chinese calligraphy, ludic writing, alphabetical orthographies and linguistic systems of transcription.

Course objectives

Close reading and discussion of pertinent texts will be combined with assignments on their contents.

Students will

  • increase systemic knowledge about Chinese scripts and transcriptions;

  • learn to assess their linguistic import; expand relevant technical vocabulary in Chinese and in English;

  • analyze complex scholarly arguments;

  • compare different positions and traditions with original observations;

  • present oral and written reports;

  • and actively participate in group discussions in English.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Lectures on specific topics, discussion about the readings.

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.

Students must submit their assignment(s) to Brightspace through turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
In-class participation & contributions 15%
Oral presentation 15%
Three written assignments 30%
Term paper 40%

Research MA students

  • For Research MA students, Extra Requirement extensions of the regular MA course will take the form of a double target (a) academic publication management and (b) reflection on methodology. For an example, check the Extra Requirement for the Research Master in Linguistics.

  • Research MA students wishing to complete the course with an Extra Requirement need to notify the lecturer in writing before the fifth session of the course. The lecturer will then supply written specifications and a deadline.

The final mark for this course is formed by the weighted average.

In order to pass the course, the term paper grade must be minimally 5, while the overall mark should be 5.50 (=6).

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 term paper or if the term paper is graded lower than 5.0, a resit of the paper is possible (40%). 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 may request an oral elucidation of the assessment within 30 days after publication of the grade.

Reading list

The texts are selected from Chinese and general grammatology, linguistics, lexicography, etymology and language education.


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


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

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof.