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Indo-European I: Phonology


Admission requirements

Some knowledge of historical linguistics, preferably the 1st year course Language and culture of the Indo-Europeans.


Which phonemes do we reconstruct for Proto-Indo-European and why? Why does Latin actus have a long a, but aptus a short one? How were the laryngeals pronounced and what type of evidence helps us to answer that question? These are all questions about the historical phonology of Proto-Indo-European that will come up during this course.

Course objectives

  • Obtaining knowledge about phonological change between Proto-Indo-European and its daughter languages.

  • Obtaining knowledge about the following sound laws: Brugmann, Bartholomae, Lachmann, Winter, Grimm, Verner, Kluge, Grassmann, RUKI-rule, Sievers, Osthoff.

  • Understanding the arguments for possible phonetic interpretations of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European phonemes.

  • Developing reconstruction skills.

  • Applying sound laws to reconstructed forms.


BA Linguistics

Mode of instruction

Lecture / Seminar

Course load

Total course load 5EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • Lectures: 28

  • Assignment(s): 70

  • Preparation exam: 42

Assessment method

Written examination with open questions



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:

  • Distribution of course materials

Reading list

R. Beekes, Comparative Indo-European linguistics: an introduction. Second edition, revised and corrected by M. de Vaan. Benjamins, 2011. (to be purchased before the start of the course)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website

Students - not registered as students BA Linguistics – who would like to enroll in this course should first contact the coordinator of studies, Else van Dijk

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs


For questions about the content of the course, please contact the teacher:

Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats

E-mailaddress Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats:

Coordinator of Studies: Else van Dijk