SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Historical Linguistics (Masters)

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 2

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. 

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The aim of this module 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 module, 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 consisting of a lecture.

Method of assessment

  • Two Data Analyses (500 words each) (20% each): the first due Monday Week 6, Term 2 (i.e. week after reading week) 17 Feb 2020; the second due Friday Week 10, Term 2 (i.e. last teaching week) 20 March 2020.
  • One 2,000-word Essay (60%) due Friday Week 1, Term 3, 24 April 2020.

Suggested reading

The reading list will be made available from the convenor at the beginning of the module.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules