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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 timetable is available on the Asianstudies website

Mode of instruction

Lectures on specific topics, discussion about the readings.

Course Load

Total 280 hours (10 EC x 28 hours)

  • Contact hours: 24

  • Preparation for class: 120 hours

  • Oral presentation: 12 hours

  • Written assignments: 24 hours

  • Term paper: 100 hours

Assessment method

  • In-class participation & contributions (15%)

  • Oral presentation (15%)

  • Three written assignments (30%)

  • Term paper (40%)

  • Term paper grade must be minimally 5 to pass the course

  • Students who fail the course may resit the term paper.

Exam Review

Students may request an oral elucidation of the assessment within 30 days after publication of the grade.


Blackboard will be used as the need arises.

Reading list

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


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch


Dr. J.M. Wiedenhof