Scientific Disciplinary Sector (SSD)
L-LIN/01 - HISTORICAL AND GENERAL LINGUISTICS
Language of instruction
II semestre dal Feb 21, 2011 al May 28, 2011.
The course goal is that of providing students with the basic tools of linguistic studies. Fundamental questions concerning faculty of language of human beings will be tackled, approaching the study of Linguistics as a cognitive science.
Language will be investigated as a socio-cultural instrument, as a communicative system and as a computational system.
In order to meet the course requirements, the basic notions of the subject will be treated, including the fundamental properties of natural languages, i.e. the properties teasing them apart from other kinds of languages.
To achieve this, the Saussurian oppositions of langue/parole, signifier/signified, syntagmatic/paradigmatic relationships and, finally, of diachrony/synchrony will be dealt with.
Additionally, students will be introduced to the different levels of analysis of languages, including the characteristics of sounds and their mental representations (phonetics and phonology), word formation rules (morphology), derivations and their structural representation (syntax) and the structures of meaning (semantics).
Furthermore, the different types of language classification will be presented: genealogical classification and typology. Within the typological classification, morphological and syntactic typology will be distinguished.
(Selected) Course Topics:
• Human language and its properties.
• Definition of natural languages and language.
• Natural languages, language and thought.
• Universal Grammar.
• Langue and parole.
• Competence and Performance.
• The concept of Linguistic Sign.
• Phonetics and phonology.
• The classification of vowels.
• The classification of consonants.
• The concept of Word.
• The notion of Morpheme.
• The Classification of World Languages.
• Linguistic typology.
• Morphological Typology.
• Syntactic Typology.
• Universals of Language.
The aim of the course is two-fold.
On one side, students will master the theoretical notions of language sciences. Moreover, methodological foundations will be set for studies on the subject. On the other side, empirical evidence will be supplied for a better understanding of the mechanisms.
Graffi, G. & S. Scalise (2003). Le lingue e il linguaggio. Bologna: Il Mulino
Pinker, S. (1997). L'istinto del linguaggio. Milano: Mondadori. (a selection of chapters)
Students who attended the course will have the opportunity to sit a written exam, followed by an integrating oral exam.
All other students will take an oral exam.