Comparative Indo-European Linguistics

The Master’s in Linguistics specialisation in Comparative Indo-European Linguistics at Leiden University is a unique master’s programme – the only course of its kind in the Netherlands that focuses on the study and comparison of a wide range of interrelated languages in Europe and Asia.

Choose Comparative Indo-European Linguistics at Leiden University:

  • Learn how to reconstruct the language that was the basis of the many separate languages of the Indo-European language family – considering the cultural-historical, religious and archaeological aspects in the reconstruction process.
  • Study languages offered uniquely at Leiden University.
  • Determine languages’ relationships to each other, and the historical continuity in their ever-changing phonological, morphological, and syntactic structures.
  • Combine Indo-European Linguistics with an in-depth study of a language or a group of languages enabling you to take advantage of the expertise of the Faculty of Humanities.
  • Learn from outstanding teachers and scholars at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL), an institute with a long-standing international reputation for excellence.

Languages offered within the Comparative Indo-European Linguistics specialisation include languages that can only be studied at Leiden University, such as Armenian, Luwian, Avestan, Gothic and Lithuanian. Moreover, you can benefit from the expertise of the Faculty of Humanities in subjects like Indology, Classics, Slavic, Persian and the languages of the Ancient Near East. The flexibility of our programme allows you also to compile your own package of courses to create a full programme in, for instance, Hittite and Anatolian Studies, Indo-Iranian historical linguistics, or comparative Slavistics.

Check out the programme in Comparative Indo-European Linguistics.

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Read LUCL’s Leiden Language Blog. It features blog posts written by members of the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics related to ongoing linguistics or language research.

Master details

  • This is a specialisation of: Linguistics
  • Degree Master of Arts in Linguistics
  • Mode of study Full-time
  • Duration 1 year
  • Start date September, February (Start in September is strongly recommended)
  • Language of instruction English
  • Location Leiden
  • Croho/isat code 60815

Student Nikki about Linguistics

Prof. Sasha Lubotsky

Sasha Lubotsky

“It is an enormous challenge to discover structure in a muddle of facts and language forms.”

“One of the most significant recent developments in my field is the renewed attention being paid to the distribution of lexemes among various branches of Indo-European. We have become more reluctant to ascribe words to the proto-stage. Words which have caused us problems for the past 200 years often appear to be of non-Indo-European origin.

With a plethora of studied languages and cultures and unique library collections, Leiden is an ideal place for the study of Indo-European linguistics. No Indo-Europeanist is able to cover all branches of Indo-European equally well, and it is very important to have colleagues you can approach with your queries about the origin or meaning of a particular word in Slavic, Sanskrit or Old English.

Furthermore, we have to collaborate with archaeologists and geneticists for the reconstruction of the life of Indo-European peoples. I have always been fascinated by ancient languages and by the fact that people have gone to such efforts to write down texts and to preserve them. I want to decipher these texts and to understand them. It is an enormous challenge to discover structure in a muddle of facts and language forms.”

See also Why international students choose the MA in Linguistics at Leiden University.

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