SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Historical Linguistics

Module Code:
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Term 1

All languages are constantly in a process of change and over time related languages can diverge and become different from one another. Linguists have developed techniques for studying language change and for comparing languages in order to group them into families and reconstruct their parent forms. 


Introduction to Phonology and Introduction to Grammatical Structure

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The aim of this course is to familiarise students with the techniques of language comparison and reconstruction, based on materials from the study of Indo-European languages, but also illustrating the methods with data from a range of other language families. At the conclusion of the course, students will be familiar with reconstruction and comparison methods for any set of language data.


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week.

Method of assessment

This course is assessed by 1 x 2,500 word essay (60%); three reports of 500-800 words each (40%). Submission dates for the above will be confirmed at the beginning of the course.

Suggested reading

The reading list for this course will be made available from the convenor at the beginning of the course.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules