English Language 1 (2017/2018)

Course partially running (all years except the first)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Paola Maria Caleffi
Paola Maria Caleffi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Semester 2 dal Feb 26, 2018 al Jun 9, 2018.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The course is a first introduction to the study of English linguistics and aims at helping students develop a higher degree of metalinguistic awareness in relation to two different levels of linguistic analysis, namely the phonetic-phonological level, and the morphological level. By the end of the course students will be able to recognise, produce, describe and classify the sounds of the English language, and will have developed the ability to observe phonetic variation across main varieties. As for the morphological level, by the end of the course students will be able to identify word classes, to describe the way words are structured, and to recognise the most productive formation processes through which words are produced.


- Definition of phonetics and phonology and their focus of study
- The relationship between spelling and pronunciation: grapheme, phoneme, phone, allophone
- The International Phonetic Alphabet
- The speech organs
- The phonological system of the English language
- Classification of vowel sounds: the vowel trapezoid
- Classification of consonant sounds: voicing, place of articulation, manner of articulation
- The concept of minimal pair
- Phonological transcription vs phonetic transcription
- Connected speech: assimilation, elision, vocing/de-voicing phenomena, weak vs strong forms, linking phenomena.
- The syllable
- Word stress pattern
- Sentence stress: stressed vs unstressed syllable, rhythm
- Main phonetic-phonological differences between GB, GA, and the use of English as a lingua franca (EFL)

- Definition of morphology and its focus of study
- The morpheme and the concept of allomorgh
- Simple vs complex words
- Word classes and subclasses
- Grammar vs lexical words
- The main word-formation processes:
- inflection
- derivation with affixation
- conversion
- compounding
- truncation
- abbreviation (acronyms and initialisms)
- blending
- The main English suffixes and prefixes

Basic readings

Facchinetti, Roberta (2016) English Phonetics and Morphology. A Reader for First Year University Students (3rd ed.). Verona: Quiedit.

Kuiper, Koenraad and W. Scott Allan (2017). An Introduction to English Language: Word, Sound and Sentence (4th ed.). Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Additional readings

Cruttenden, Alan (2014) Gimson's Pronunciation of English. London: Routledge.

Plag, Ingo (2003) Word-Formation in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The course consists of 18 classes and combines frontal teaching with class activities and practice in preparation for the final exam. The pdf. docs of the teaching sessions as well as other materials for the final written exam will be made available on the Moodle platform throughout the course.
The course will be held entirely in English.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Kuiper, K. and W. S. Allan An Introduction to English Language: Word, Sound and Sentence (4th edition) (Edizione 4) Palgrave Macmillan 2016
Facchinetti, R. English Phonetics and Morphology. A reader for first year university students (Edizione 3) QuiEdit 2016
Cruttenden, A. Gimson's Pronunciation of English Routledge 2014
Plag, Ingo Word-Formation in English Cambridge University Press 2003

Assessment methods and criteria

Pre-requisite: B2 language certificate (Council of Europe). This can be obtained from the Language Centre (CLA) or from a number of certified language institutes (see student guide). For certificates gained at external institutes a certificato di equipollenza issued by the CLA is needed.

Aims: the exam aims at evaluating:
- knowledge and understanding of the topics in the syllabus
- ability to make linguistic analyses at both the phonetic-phonological and morphological levels
- metalinguistic awareness

Contents: students will be examined on the whole range of topics listed in the syllabus.

Assessment: a written exam consisting of 30 items including open questions, multiple choice questions, phonetic/phonological transcriptions, and exercises. The exam format will be illustrated in detail during the course. During the last class students will have the opportunity to perform a mock exam.
The exam lasts one hour.

Evaluation: the final mark (/out of 30) will derive from the evaluation of the written exam (50%) and the mark of the B2 language certificate (50%).

Final note: the contents of the exam are the same for attending and non-attending students. All students will be tested for the same skills (see exam aims).