SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Linguistic Typology (Masters)

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 2

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

This module is an introduction to the principles and practices of linguistic typology, i.e. the cross-linguistic comparison of formal features of languages independent of their historical and geographical connections. Typologists examine variation between languages in terms of their structural characteristics, attempt to account for the distribution of the variation encountered and provide explanations for the patterns uncovered. At the conclusion of the course students will be familiar with the main trends in 20th and 21st century language typology in terms of phonology, morphology and syntax. They will understand the key methodological principles of typology and have a greater understanding of the ways in which languages are similar (linguistic universals) and different (linguistic diversity).


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

Scope and syllabus

The syllabus provides students with the materials to build on their existing knowledge of diversity in language. It begins with the introduction of core notions in typology including the empirical underpinnings of typological research and the role of language universals and implicational statements in typology. This is followed by overviews of phonological typology, morphological typology and constituent order typology. The second part of the course builds on this knowledge to examine specific areas of variation across languages in terms of their grammatical relations, word classes and morphosyntactic characteristics.

Method of assessment

  • an essay of 1000 words (40%) due in the term in which this module is taught
  • an essay of 3000 words (60%) duein the term after this module is taught
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE pag

Suggested reading

A reading list will be provided by the convenor at the beginning of the module.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules