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Sinographics: Chinese Writing and Writing Chinese


Admission requirements

Admission to an MA (60 EC or 120 EC) in the Faculty of Humanities


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.

The deadline(s) in MyTimetable is/are set for administrative purposes only. The actual date(s) will be communicated by the lecturer(s) in Brightspace.

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.

ChatGPT: What is possible and what is allowed? Dos and Don'ts.

Assessment and weighing

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

The final grade consists of the weighted average of all course components. In order to pass the course, students need a pass mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher) for the course as a whole and minimally a 5 for the term paper.


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.

Inspection and feedback

Feedback will be supplied primarily through Brightspace. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the assessment results, a review will be organized.

Reading list

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


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.