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Language Documentation


Admission requirements



In response to the growing awareness of (1) the diversity of knowledge systems globally, including languages, (2) the ongoing language and cultural attrition that undermines this diversity, and (3) the consequent need for language revitalization, language documentation has developed into a subfield of linguistics. It encompasses the collection, preservation, and distribution of primary linguistic data, often through a long-term transdisciplinary approach and in close collaboration with language speakers, typically people from marginalized groups who speak highly endangered languages. The aim of language documentation is to create a lasting, multi-media, and multi-purpose record of a language that can serve academic and non-academic purposes. In this course we will critically reflect on the proposed differences (and similarities) between language description and language documentation. We will address the subparts of the process of language documentation, moving from a more theoretical perspective to a practical, hands-on application of the themes discussed. We will take a collaborative approach to documentation, culminating in the completion of a pilot language documentation project.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
*Critically evaluate the motivations for and methods employed in language documentation;
*Demonstrate an understanding of the various ethical questions and good practices involved in the process of language documentation.
*Discuss the role of the researcher and the community in language documentation research;
*Apply the knowledge and skills acquired to plan and carry out a pilot language documentation project.

ResMA students will also be expected to critically reflect on their own conduct, methodologies, and ideologies in relation to language documentation research.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


The course will have three assessment components that are weighted as follows:
1) Interim written assignment (30%)
2) Oral presentation in class (10%)
3) Final assignment (60%)
The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.

Please note that active participation is a prerequisite for this course. Students who miss more than three classes and who do not participate in the in-class discussion can be excluded from the course.


The re-sit will consist of re-doing the presentation and revising the final assignment.

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.

Reading list

The reading list will be distributed during the first class.

Brightspace will be used for:

  • information on the course and on assignments

  • notifications


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory


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

For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies