Linguistic and sociolinguistic courses

Arrival: Monday, 28. August 2023
Departure: Saturday, 23. September 2023

Course summary

The advanced grammar course is part of the required training for SIL field linguists. If offers more in-depth attention on topics taught during the entry level courses in Morphology and Syntax, but it also introduces a model or theory of Grammar. Although there is emphasis on one model, which will be introduced in more depth, there will also be some exposition to strengths and weaknesses of some other models/theories. The goal of the course is to develop in the student the ability to analyze grammar with respect to a single unified theory, understand the ways that theory affects the interpretation of the data and write clearly and professionally on topics of grammar.

Course objectives

By the end of the course the students will be able to

  • explain the foundational assumptions and basic architecture of a particular model or theory of grammar
  • read the literature within this model or theory with strong comprehension
  • describe and analyze data from a given language within the framework of a particular model or theory of grammar
  • evaluate argumentation in writing on syntax and typology with respect to quality, clarity, logic, strength and validity
  • write a paper on a grammatical topic or one aspect of the grammar of a language suitable for presentation at a local linguistics conference, utilizing appropriate professional style
  • constructively comment on peer papers on grammatical topics
  • read syntactic literature in other models or theories with basic understanding of the main points and arguments
  • describe the strengths and weaknesses of several models and theories of syntax, including the particular one most studied
  • describe and compare the basic presuppositions and architecture of several models and theories of syntax
  • explain the difference between formal and functional theories of grammar, citing strengths and weaknesses of each
  • describe the typology of a language and make predictions about grammatical behaviors in that language based on limited data
  • express and explain morphological and syntactic principles and concepts to a non-specialist, introducing and explaining aspects of theory where appropriate
  • appreciation for the contributions made to our overall understanding of grammar made by different theories
  • humility and perspective in evaluating one’s own theory or model
  • respect for individuals who hold differing views about grammar

Course instructor

Dr. Karin Zeibig and team (additional staff will be facilitating some of the sessions)

For more details about this course contact Dr. Karin Zeibig (

Course prerequisites

Introductory courses in morphology and syntax, as well as field methods. It is advisable to already have some field/project experience and to bring some language data to work on during the course.

Room and full board

Comfort double room: 62,- € (per person per night)
Comfort single room: 78,- € (per person per night)

Low Budget double room: 42,- € (per person per night)
Low Budget single room: 51,- € (per person per night)

(availability of low budget rooms is limited)

Tuition fees

Tuition fees: 400,- €

Bank details

IBAN: DE 10 3506 0190 1013 440014

Note: Course Advanced Grammar


Please contact Dr. Karin Zeibig (

Arrival: Sunday, 12. February 2023
Departure: Sunday, 12. March 2023

Course summary

Surveys are often needed to assess the status of a language for those who speak it. This could be to help determine if a language development program might be started and its scope, to help a community assess status and progress during the course of a program, or survey might be conducted well after the program has ended.

Principles of Language Survey is a course designed to help students develop an understanding of the principles that lie behind language surveys.

By the end of this course students will be able to describe the linguistic and sociolinguistic criteria that can be used to identify languages and dialects and to determine the extensibility of existing literature in multilingual situations. They will be able to explain the methods used in language surveys to discover ethnolinguistic identity, assess language vitality, determine linguistic similarity, measure inherent intelligibility, evaluate bilingual proficiency, and describe language attitudes and patterns of language use. They will be able to select the type of survey most relevant for a given situation and to relate the requirements of survey to the methods and sampling techniques appropriate for that survey. They will be able to read and evaluate language survey reports. They will be able to conduct secondary research and to develop the proposal and initial plan for a language survey. They will be able to explain how survey fits into the larger picture of language assessment and which role ongoing assessment plays.

This course assumes that the student has already been introduced to basic sociolinguistic concepts (such as in a course like Language and Society). The course focuses on principles rather than the details of methodology. It assumes that students who go on to conduct language surveys will receive further training in methodology as part of an on-field internship.

Course instructor

Course instructor: Dr. Angela Kluge

For more details about this course contact Dr. Angela Kluge (

Course prerequisites


Room and full board

Comfort double room: 62,00€ (per person per night)
Comfort single room: 78,00€ (per person per night)

Low Budget double room: 42,00€ (per person per night)
Low Budget single room: 51,00€ (per person per night)

Tuition fees

Tuition fees: 400,- €

Bank details

IBAN: DE 10 3506 0190 1013 440014

Note: Course Principles of Language Survey


Please contact Dr. Angela Kluge (

Email Course

The course is intended for people who have made a start with a foreign language and feel they got stuck in a rut. It is based on Greg Thomson´s „Growing Participator Approach“ (GPA).


  • Reading assignments that encourage the students to think through their personal language learning situation
  • Exercises
  • Individual coaching


The students gain new ideas for their specific language learning situation, so they can keep learning with new courage and make progress.

How does it work?

During the course you receive short articles and some questions that make you think through your situation and the reasons for getting stuck. You then receive many ideas for activities that you can carry out with a mother tongue speaker. During the duration of the course you meet regularly with a native speaker to try out the new ideas and activities.

The consultant is in regular email contact with you and will try to make the course as relevant as possible for your specific needs.


You need:

  1. Access to a mother tongue speaker of the language you are learning, somebody who is willing and available to spend time with you in conversation
  2. Access to email
  3. A recording device with which you can record and play back spoken language

Start date and duration of the course

You agree individually with the consultant when you want to start.

If you can spend 6–8 hours per week on the course (about half of which with the mother tongue speaker, the other half by yourself), then you should be able to get through the course in about 6–8 weeks.



60,- €

Further courses are available in German. For more information see the German website.