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Descriptive linguistics 1


Admission requirements

First year BA Linguistics or equivalent


This course is an introduction to both the practical and theoretical aspects of language description. The emphasis is on the linguistic analysis of phonological and morphosyntactic phenomena in the languages of the world. Relevant topics to the description of a language and the writing of a grammar will be introduced on the basis of concrete language examples. Solving linguistic puzzles and analyzing data are essential to the discovery of linguistics strategies in the languages of the world. The students will choose a grammar of a language unknown to them that has not been analyzed in great detail in order to describe morphosyntactic aspects of the language.

Course objectives

At the end of the course students should be able:

  • to apply techniques and conventions of descriptive linguistics

  • to show broad knowledge of basic grammatical topics that are relevant to the description of little studied languages

  • to formulate a basic linguistic argument

  • to provide a clear analysis of several aspects of the grammar of a non-western language


BA Linguistics

Mode of instruction

A combination of a lecture and a seminar

Course Load

Total course load 5EC x 28 hours=140 hours

  • Lectures: 26 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 52 hours

  • Assignments & final essay: 62 hours

Assessment method

Presence and active participation (20%)
Assignments (50%)
Final essay (30%)


the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average


The students can only resit the assignments

Exam review

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.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • General anouncements

  • Providing the power point presentations discussed during class

  • Assignments

  • Additional literature if necessary -within the limits of the copy right rules.

Reading list

We will use a selection of descriptive linguistic texts from different sources (journal papers and book chapters). The reading list will be made available at the beginning of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs


For questions about the content of the course, please contact the teacher:
Dr. M. Bruil

Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats

E-mailaddress Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats:

Coordinator of Studies: Else van Dijk