Leiden Summer School in Languages and Linguistics 2022

By Abbas Riahi

The Program Summer School in Languages and Linguistics is an annual event which is held for two weeks every summer by University Leiden in the Netherlands. Before  Covid-19, it was an on-campus program and during it was changed to an online event. Program 2022 was the first time since Corona which had again people in person at University Leiden. Most of the courses were offered both online and on-campus, but many few just online or just in person. This year it was held from Monday, July 18 until Friday, July 29. According to the tradition, there was an introduction event on Sunday, July 17 in the evening and a fare well party and dinner on the last day evening.

The Summer School is presented in 14  different modules or programs i.e. Caucasian Program, Chinese Program, Descriptive Linguistics Program, Language Documentation Program, Germanic Program, Indo-European Program 1, Indo-European Program 2, Indology Program, Iranian Program, Languages of Siberia, Linguistics, Mediterranean World, Russian Program, Specials. Each module contains at least 2 up to 4 courses, some of which can be shared with other modules. The people who present these courses are highly reputable scholars in their fields. The complete program can be found here.

Registration is always online and most of the courses are open to everybody, although there are some courses for which one might be asked about their educational background and their level in the field,  these courses are not introductory and therefore they need a special level of pre-knowledge. In the program one can find courses on some languages and courses on some linguistic theories as well, be it introductory or advanced. One important point about the program is that there could be found courses on some languages which are not presented anywhere else or at least they are very hard to find, e.g. Khwarezmian in program 2022, some Caucasian languages, etc.

Mole de put | Foto: © Abbas Riahi

Summer School provides the opportunity to  meet a relatively considerable number of people who are involved with research in different topic areas belonging to different schools and methods of research, be it students, professors, researchers, authors, etc. It provides the attendees with the opportunity to get to know each other, meet in person, have a talk, and exchange ideas or have discussions about what they have an agreement or disagreement on in a very casual way. This is by far the biggest advantage of the program in total.

Apart from the courses, there are usually some extracurricular events that can add a great deal to the benefits of the Summer School. There are some additive lectures about related subjects some evenings which can be really informative. There are also some fun events like Greek buffet, Italian Buffet and an evening boat trip in Leiden. These events altogether with the courses and lunchtime and all opportunities for the attendees to spend  quality time together provide a quite pleasant stay full of unique experiences in addition to learning.

As for the time schedule of the program  consists of 4 time slots 1.5 hour each with two 30-minute coffee breaks, after the first and the third slot, a one-hour lunch break after the second slot, and the morning coffee and cake from 9:00 to 9:30 before the first time slot. So, the courses start from 9:30 and finish at 17:30. When there is a lecture, they usually start at 19:00 and they are one hour long including the question and discussion part. After each lecture as a tradition the people who are willing to go to a bar  next to the university can continue the discussion over there.

Van Hagerbeer Orgel Pieterskerk | Foto: © Abbas Riahi

When registering, one can also apply for lunch for ten days and also for accommodation. The lunch is served every weekday at 13:00 in the same building the courses are held i.e. the Lipsius Building. Most of the people who applied for the accommodation were settled in a dormitory next to a river belonged to Webster University. The building has two categories of rooms, for one person and for two. The rooms are equipped with a bathroom, a small kitchenette, and a tiny fridge. One can also find their own accommodation where they want if not willing to apply with the program.

All these events happen in city of Leiden which is an old academic city always full of students from a very big variety of cultural backgrounds that makes it an interesting and lively place. Moreover, the city is quite calm and peaceful with a welcoming environment and tourist friendly people. These aspects make it a proper place to stay and explore in. There is a lot to see  in the city for those interested in sightseeing and it is relatively easy and fast to go to other cities as well. It is also noteworthy that the program is held in the summer, therefore the weather is nice and promising for any kind of adventure.


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