Historical Linguistics (2017/2018)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Stella Merlin
Stella Merlin
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Semester 1 dal Oct 2, 2017 al Jan 20, 2018.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims to illustrate the foundations of the Historical Linguistics, with particular reference to the phenomena of variation and change at the different levels of the linguistic analysis, the forms of interference or linguistic contact and the topic of the geographical and sociolinguistic variation. It also aims to introduce students to the terminology related to such discipline, as well as to a possible discussion of it within different frameworks.


-Birth of the discipline: historical and cultural context. The genealogical tree model (Stammbaum) and the wave model. The Neogrammarians, the concept of phonetic law.
-Linguistic change at various levels of analysis: sound change (phonetic and phonological level), morphological level, syntactic level, and semantic-lexical level. Grimm's law. The two phenomena of analogy and grammaticalisation.
-Linguistic contact and interferences: loan words, code-switching, code-mixing, bilingualism and diglossia.
-Language varieties: standard and non-standard forms. Languages and dialects. Language atlases.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
S. Merlin Dispense caricate su Moodle 2019
Beccaria, Gian Luigi Dizionario di linguistica e di filologia, metrica e retorica Einaudi 2004 Opera di consultazione. Voci scelte.
Fanciullo, Franco Introduzione alla Linguistica storica Il Mulino 2007 capitoli 1 - La parentela linguistica, 2 - Il mutamento, 4 - Esordi e primi sviluppi della linguistica storica, 5 - Geolinguistica e sociolinguistica: la variabilità, 7 - L’Europa linguistica e le lingue indoeuropee fuori d’Europa + § 4 (Lingue kentum e satem) e § 9 (Leggi di Grimm e Verner) del capitolo 3.
Cotticelli Kurras, Paola Lessico di Linguistica Edizioni dell'Orso 2007 Opera di consultazione. Voci scelte.
Lazzeroni, Romano (ed.) Linguistica storica Carocci 2017 [Ristampa di 1987 1a edizione]. capitoli 1 - Il mutamento (di R. Lazzeroni), 3 - Interlinguistica (di R. Gusmani).
Berruto, Gaetano Sociolinguistica dell'italiano contemporaneo Carocci 2012 [nuova edizione ampliata, 1987 1a edizione] capitolo 1 - L’italiano come gamma di varietà + un capitolo a scelta fra i rimanenti (2–5).

Assessment methods and criteria

Written test + oral examination.
The examination consists of two parts: a written test and an oral examination, if the written test is passed. The written test consists of about 10 questions, requiring closed or oped answered, based on the references indicated for the course. If the written test is successfully passed, in the oral examination the topics of the course will be further discussed. In both examination parts, the correctness and relevance of the answers, the use of the specific terminology for the discipline, the ability to provide corresponding definitions and examples will be evaluated.
The final vote is unique and is expressed in thirtieths.
Reference texts and exams are the same for attending and non-attending students.
Erasmus or non-native Italian students can give their answers in English or French if they wish. Written questions will be in any case formulated in Italian.