General Linguistics (2019/2020)

Course code
4S00879
Name of lecturer
Valerio Pisaniello
Coordinator
Valerio Pisaniello
Number of ECTS credits allocated
9
Academic sector
L-LIN/01 - HISTORICAL AND GENERAL LINGUISTICS
Language of instruction
Italian
Period
I semestre (Lingue e letterature straniere) dal Sep 30, 2019 al Jan 11, 2020.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will know the basic theoretical knowledge of linguistics, the different levels of linguistic analysis (phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics) and the technical terminology. Furthermore, he will be able to describe and recognise the linguistic phenomena occurring in the different levels of analysis, especially from a synchronic point of view.

Syllabus

The course aims at exploring some fundamental concepts of theoretical linguistics, such as, for example, the notion of language on the one hand as a general human faculty and, on the other hand, as a specific socio-historical system in its multiple aspects (functions, levels, etc.).
The goal is to provide the basic theoretical knowledge and the tools for analysing the different linguistic levels, especially phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. Particular attention will be given to the metalinguistic dimension: the aim is to acquire the technical terminology that can be used also in the study of other linguistic disciplines. Emphasis will be on the synchronic perspective, understood as the study of the organization of a language state, that is, its functioning as a system. Finally, a key objective will be the ability to carry out exercises aimed at consolidating (in itinere) and checking (during the final exam) the acquired knowledge.

PREREQUISITES
None.

MAIN TOPICS
1. introduction to linguistics as a scientific discipline;
2. language, semiotics and communication;
3. levels of linguistic analysis.

PROGRAM
The course will cover the following topics:
1. Preliminary notions: Definition of linguistics and natural languages. Semiotic systems, communication.
2. Phonetics and Phonology: Vocal apparatus and classification of sounds. Concept of phoneme. Rules of Trubeckoj. Supra-segmental features. Introduction to phonetic change and the concept of phonetic law.
3. Morphology: The notion of morpheme. Word classes. Derivation, Composition, Inflexion. Allomorphy and suppletion. Other relevant morphological processes.
4. Syntax: Valency. Phrase and criteria for phrase identification. Classification of clauses (principal and subordinate). The concept of subject.
5. Semantic and pragmatics: introduction to the semantic change and to the linguistic acts.
6. Vocabulary and Lexicology: Vocabulary and dictionary, interference phenomena.
7. Classification of languages (genealogical, typological, etc.), areal phenomena. Languages, dialects, language varieties. Bilingualism and diglossia. Pidgin and creole.

TEACHING
1. Lectures dedicated to the topics of the course.
2. Exercises during class with the support of the teacher, and on the online platform to apply the acquired skills.
3. Non-attending students must study the handbooks listed below and the materials available on the e-Learning platform. The teacher will provide support for individual study (students are recommended to contact the teacher via email).
All students are encouraged to contact the teacher during office hours as indicated on the teacher’s web page and through announcements.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Docente del corso Appunti e materiali forniti sulla piattaforma e-Learning  
Graffi, Giorgio; Scalise, Sergio Le lingue e il linguaggio. Introduzione alla linguistica Il Mulino, Bologna 2013 9788815241795

Assessment methods and criteria

During the exam, the knowledge of the basic theoretical concepts of linguistics will be evaluated, as well as that of the different levels of linguistic analysis (phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics) and the technical terminology. Furthermore, the ability to describe and recognise the linguistic phenomena occurring in the different levels of analysis, especially from a synchronic point of view, will be verified.

For all students, both attending and non-attending, the final exam is divided into two parts, consisting in a written test and an oral exam.

1. The written test consists of a number of questions that may be both closed-ended and open-ended. Some questions will address the concepts learned during the course and the identification and description of the linguistic phenomena (phonetic and phonological, morphological, syntactical, semantical, and interference), others will require the solution of exercises through the application of the rules studied.

2. The oral exam consists in a short final interview about all topics of the course.

N.B.: A positive result of the written test is required to access the oral exam. A positive written test is not sufficient to pass the exam.

The written exam precedes the oral exam, the latter follows directly the correction of the written test on the same day or in subsequent days, depending on the number of participants.

RATING
The evaluation is expressed in thirtieths, based on the knowledge, effectiveness, pertinence and readiness of answers.

For ERASMUS students, the teacher is available to explain the content and methods of the exam.