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Introduction to the Comparative Study of the Semitic Languages


Admission requirements

Knowledge of a Semitic language or background in linguistics.


In this class students will be introduced to the various ancient and modern Semitic languages – including Old Babylonian, Ancient Hebrew, Old Arabic, and Modern Aramaic Students will also read academic articles dealing with each of the major language groups of Semitic.

Course objectives

After this course, students will have a good understanding of the enterprise of historical linguistics, the Semitic language family, and be able to critique academic articles in the field.



Mode of instruction

  • Seminar with mandatory attendance.

Course Load

  • Seminar: 2 contact hours per week = 13×2: 26 hours

  • Reading and several home assignments: 5 hours of preparation for 12 classes: 60 hours

  • Preparing the presentation: 24 hours

  • Term paper: 30 hours

Assessment method

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average of:

  • essay (50%)

  • presentation (40%)

  • participation and assignments (10%)

The essay is written in two stages: a first version which will be commented on and a final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the first version will lose the right to get comments and will only be graded based on their final version.

The first version is due 20 May 2016, the final version 17 June 2016.

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of “6” or higher.

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

Reading list

See Blackboard.


To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis (link) through the activity number which can be found in the time table in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs



Dhr. Dr. A.M. Al-Jallad
Mw. Dr. M.L. Folmer