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Modern Uyghur


Admission requirements

Knowledge of some variant of the Arabic script, obtained through one semester of either Arabic, Persian, or Ottoman


Successful completion on one of the crash courses on the Arabic script offered at the beginning of the semester. See Timetable.


This course is designed to introduce students to the structure of Modern Uyghur, a Turkic language spoken by approximately 20 million people, mostly in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the Peoples' Republic of China, otherwise known as Chinese or Eastern Turkistan. It will make use of a reference grammar (TÖMÜR, Hämit., trans. Anne LEE. Modern Uyghur Grammar: Morphology. İstanbul: Yıldız, 2003), a textbook (NAZAROVA, Gulnisa & K. NIYAZ. Uyghur: An Elementary Textbook. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2013), and copious notes designed by the instructor.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • understand the phonology, morphology, and syntax of Uyghur;

  • make some comments about the historical development of Uyghur;

  • hold a basic conversation in Uyghur;

  • read texts in the standard literary variety with the help of a dictionary and reference grammar;

  • understand the relationship between Uyghur and other closely related Turkic languages;

  • understand some important aspects of Uyghur history, culture, and current events; and

  • continue comfortably with their study of the Uyghur language.


This course will be held once a week every Wednesday from 13:15 to 15:00. Detailed information regarding the location of the course can be found on the online timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Attendance and active participation are obligatory for lectures and seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases, it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

Students will approach grammar and usage theoretically, while simultaneously using a textbook (see below) in order to increase fluency in those aspects of the language most necessary for basic daily communication.
Because of the ecumenical nature of this course, homework will include not only exercises on topics already covered, but preparatory readings on finer points of grammar to be done before each class. These readings are mandatory, and necessary in order to implement the communicative parts of the class which will enable students to feel comfortable holding basic conversations in Uyghur.

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours 140 hours
Lectures 18 hours
Practical work 6 hours
Study of compulsory literature 20 hours
Assignment(s) 64 hours
Preparation exam 10 hours
Exam(s 2 hours
Other components 20 hours

Assessment method

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations). It is also unacceptable for students to reuse portions of texts they had previously authored and have already received academic credit for on this or other courses. In such cases, students are welcome to self-cite so as to minimise overlap between prior and new work.

Students must submit their assignment(s) to the blackboard through turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Attendance & Participation (asking questions, responding properly in Uyghur during drills, etc.) 25%
Homework (grammar practice/translation assignments & grammar pre-reading) 25%
2 one hour mid-term exams x 10% each 20%
A final translation (or project for advanced students with individual research ideas) 30%

The final mark for this course is formed by the weighted average.

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.

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


A resit exam will be available for 75%, replacing the grades for Homework, Exams, and Final (v.s.).

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:

  • Announcing assignments each week & keeping track of the detailed syllabus

  • Finding reading assignments and exercises, including links to videos & other media

Reading list

TÖMÜR, Hämit., trans. Anne LEE. Modern Uyghur Grammar: Morphology. İstanbul: Yıldız, 2003.
NAZAROVA, Gulnisa & K. NIYAZ. Uyghur: An Elementary Textbook. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2013.


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “USIS-Actnbr.”.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the webpage on course and exam enrolment for registration deadlines and more information on uSis in Dutch and English. You can also have a look at the FAQ. (Tip: use the search term “uSis”.)

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs


Nicholas (Niko) KONTOVAS


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.