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Introduction to General Linguistics

linguisticsAssoc. Prof. Alexandra Bagasheva, PhD: abagasheva@gmail.com, room 182A (available at request and during office hours (TBA))
Lectures: 30
Seminars: 30
Credits: 6
Download reader here

 

 

 

I. Structure

  1. The course Introduction to General Linguistics is a one-semester, introductory course which ends in a final written exam.
  2. The course is conducted in the form of lectures and seminars. The students are required to read a pre-assigned text for all the seminars (except the first one).

II. Assessment

The final mark for the course is a sum of:

  1. continuous assessment (CA) – 40%

CA is made up of pop-up quiz scores – 40% and midterm test – 60%

  1. end-of-term exam – 60%

NB! Unless you are expressly instructed otherwise, you are required to do your own work on all coursework and examinations.  Collaboration with other students or with anyone else at exams and during quizzes and tests constitutes collusion.  Submitting someone else’s work as your own, regardless of the source of that work, is plagiarism.  Both collusion and plagiarism are serious offences; anyone found guilty of either offence will face very serious penalties.  When you cite someone else’s work, including in an oral presentation, be sure to make it clear that you are doing so, and be sure to identify both the work cited and the source of that work. Your reading habits and note-taking should enable you to report accurately other people’s ideas and studies, and to distinguish them clearly from your own commentary and evaluation of them.  

III. Syllabus for the lectures

  1. What is language? Where is language?
  2. A bird’s eye view of the history of linguistics.
  3. Major contemporary models and schools in the study of language – Structuralism, Functionalism, Chomskyan linguistics, Cognitive linguistics.
  4. Language and Communication. Design features of language. Functions of language.
  5. Level theories in the study of language. Levels and units of linguistic analysis in the structural-functional paradigm (E. Benveniste). The concept of “rank”.
  6. Phonetics and Phonology.
  7. Morphology. Types of morphemes. Inflectional vs. Derivational Morphology. Parts of speech.
  8. Word-formation. Basic patterns in English.
  9. Syntax I
  10. Syntax II
  11. Semantics and Pragmatics. Types of meaning – grammatical vs. lexical meaning; word meaning vs. sentence meaning (compositionality); denotative vs. connotative meaning. Meaning vs. reference. Basic approaches to the study of meaning. Types of semantic (sense) relations.
  12. Historical Linguistics I
  13. Historical linguistics II
  14. Universalism and Relativism. Whorfianism in the 21st c – Slobin’s “thinking for speaking”.
  15. Language universals. Types of universals. Approaches to their study.  Principles for the classification of languages – areal, genetic and typological.

IV. Syllabus for the seminars

1. Language and Linguistics. General overview. Scope and basic issues.
a) object-language vs. metalanguage
b) type vs. token
2. General Linguistics. Branches in the study of language.
a) school vs. branch
b) basic branches of internal and external linguistics
3. Structural Saussurean linguistics
a) basic notions
b) the dichotomies
c) system and structure
4. The cognitive basis of language. Language as a semiotic system
a) linguistic units and conceptual categories
b) words, meanings and concepts
c) grammatical encoding vs. lexical encoding
5. Levels and units of linguistic analysis.
6. Phonetics and Phonology.
a) the speech organs, articulatory phonetics;
b) consonants and vowels; phonemes and phonemic inventories (functional opposition);
c) visualizing sounds – transcription;
d) the syllable, phonotactics.
7. Meaningful building blocks: morphology.
a) types of morphemes and allomorphs;
b) derivational vs. inflectional morphology;
c) parts of speech; function words.
8. How we put meaning together – grammar in language.
a) grammatical categories; parts of speech membership and sensitivity to grammatical categories;
b) grammatical markers/exponents (means of encoding grammatical meanings).
9. Putting concepts together: syntax.
a) words, phrases, clauses and sentences;
b) hierarchicity, linearity, constituency;
c) types of sentences and types of clauses.
10. Clausal patterns
a) event schemas;
b) grounding elements;
c) principles of syntactic analysis.
11. Semantics and Pragmatics.
a) meaning in language: compositionality and idiomaticity;
b) meaning in interaction: inferencing.
12. Synchrony vs. Diachrony.
a) basic types of sound changes;
b) basic types of lexical and semantic changes.
13. Historical linguistics.
a) basic types of morphological and syntactic changes;
b) history of the English language.
14. Language, culture, thought and meaning.
15. Basic methods of linguistic analysis.

V. Mandatory reading

For each of the seminars (to the exception of the first one) you will be asked to read something before coming to class. Pop-up quizzes are based on these reading assignments.

The readings are based on the mandatory reading materials compiled for ease of access and clarity in a file the access to which is provided by the instructor. Alternatively the Reader can be accessed from: https://eas.uni-sofia.bg/introduction-to-general-linguistics/ They constitute CM (course materials).

CM=Course materials:

  1. Bauer, L. (2007) The Linguistics Student’s Handbook. Edinburgh University Press.  (= HB)
  2. Brinton, L. and Brinton, D. (2010) The Linguistic Structure of Modern English. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamin Publishing House. (= LSME)
  3. Carter, Bob and Alison Sealey (2004) ‘Researching “real” language’, in B. Carter and C. New (eds.) Making Realism Work (2004). London: Routledge. (pp. 111–30) (= RRL)
  4. Downing, A. and Ph. Locke (2005) A University Course in English Grammar. Routledge. (= UCEG)
  5. Dirven, R. and Verspoor, M. (2004) Cognitive Explorations of Language and Linguistics.  John Benjamins. (= CELL)
  6. Jeffries, L. (2006) Discovering Language. The Structure of Modern English. Plagrave Macmillan. (= DSML)
  7. Mair, Ch. (2008) English Linguistics: An Introduction. Teubingen: Gunter Narr Verlag. (= ELI)
  8. McGregor, W. (2009) Linguistics: An Introduction. Continuum. (= LINGINT) NB! The textbook is accompanied by a very useful supplementary site: http://mcgregor.continuumbooks.net/
  9. Mullany, L. and P. Stockwell (2010) Introducing English Language: A Resource Book for Students. Routledge. (= ILRB)

Reading assignments per week

 

Seminar Dates Topic Assignment
One Language and Linguistics No reading assignment.
Two Branches of Linguistics HB (pp. 11 – 18)
Three Basic schools. Structuralism. RRL (pp. 111–130); HB (pp. 41-46); DSML (pp.195-199)
Four Structuring principles in language CELL (pp. 1-21)
Five A level theory of language UCEG (pp. 3-28)
Six Phonetics and phonology LSME (pp. 16-78)
Seven Morphology. Types of morphemes and allomorphy LINGINT (pp. 56-75);LSME (pp. 78-94)
Eight Word-formation LSME (pp. 94-112)
Nine Syntax (general) LINGINT (pp. 103-123)
Ten Event schemas and grounding elements CELL (pp. 75-98)
Eleven Semantics LSME (pp. 143-182)
Twelve Synchrony and Diachrony.Language change LINGINT (pp. 276-295)
Thirteen Changes in languages. The history of English. ELI (pp. 187-202)
Fourteen Language, culture, thought and meaning CELL (pp. 127-146)
Fifteen Methods of linguistic analysis ILRB (pp. 48-52; 107-111; 265-271)

VI. Recommended Reading

  1. Aitchison, J. (1998) The Articulate Mammal: An Introduction to Psycholinguistics. Routledge, London
  2. Akmajian, A., Demers, R., Farmer, A., and Harnish, R. (2001) Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  3. Bauer, L. (2007) The Linguistics Student’s Handbook. Edinburgh University Press.
  4. Bolinger, D. and D. Sears (1981) Aspects of Language. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
  5. Crowley, T. (1992) An Introduction to Historical Linguistics. Oxford University Press
  6. Crystal, D. (1995) Linguistics. Cambridge University Press
  7. De Beuagrande and W. Dressler (1981) Introduction to Text Linguistics. Longman
  8. Dirven, R. and Verspoor, M. (eds.) (2004) Cognitive Explorations of Language and Linguistics. John Benjamins Publishing House
  9. Evans, V. and M. Green (2006) Cognitive Linguistics: An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  10. Fasold, R. and J. Connor-Linton (2006) An Introduction to Language and Linguistics. Cambridge University Press
  11. Fromkin, V., and R. Rodman  (1993)  An Introduction to Language.  New York:  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers.
  12. Fromkin, V. (ed.) (2000) Linguistics: An Introduction to Linguistic Theory. Blackwell Publishing
  13. Fromkin, V., Rodman, R. and Hyams, N.  (2010/2007) An Introduction to Language. Thomson/Heinle, Boston, Mass
  14. Harris, R. and T. Taylor (1997) Landmarks In Linguistic Thought Volume I: The Western Tradition From Socrates To Saussure (History of Linguistic Thought) (Vol 1). Routledge
  15. Hurford, J., Heasley, B. and M. Smith (2007) Semantics: A Coursebook. CUP
  16. Joseph, J., Love, N. and T. Taylor (2001) Landmarks in Linguistic Thought Volume II: The Western Tradition in the Twentieth Century (History of Linguistic Thought) (Vol 2). Routledge
  17. Leech, G. (1985) Semantics. Penguin
  18. Lyons, J. (1977) Semantics, Vol. I. & II CUP
  19. McGregor, W. (2009) Linguistics: An Introduction. Continuum.
  20. O’Grady, W., Dobrovsky, M. and F. Katamba (2001) (2nd edition) Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction. Pearson
  21. Parkvall, M. (2006)  Limits of Language: Almost everything you didn’t know  about language and languages.  London: Battlebridge.
  22. Pinker, S. (1995) The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. HarperPerennial, New York
  23. Robins, R. H. (1989) General Linguistics: An Introductory Survey. Longman
  24. Seuren, P. (1998) Western Linguistics: An Historical Introduction. Wiley-Blackwell
  25. Smith, N. and D. Wilson (1988) Modern Linguistics: The Result of Chomsky’s Revolution. Penguin
  26. Stamenov et al. (eds.) (1992) Readings in Theoretical Grammar. Basic Concepts, Sofia University Press
  27. Tallerman, М. ( 2005) Understanding Syntax. Hodder Arnold, London
  28. Trask, R. (1994/2000) Language Change. Routledge
  29. Wardhaugh, R. (1977) Introduction to Linguistics. McGraw-Hill Book Company
  30. Москов, M. (2000) Език и езикознание. Сиела
  31. Бенвенист, Е. (1993) Езикът и човекът. Наука и изкуство
  32. Сосюр, Ф. дъо (1992) Курс по обща лингвистика. Наука и изкуство
  33. Бояджиев, Ж.. (2001) Увод в езикознанието. Сиела

N.B. Helpful but not essential is Manning, A. (2008) English for Language and Linguistics in Higher Education, Garnet (This is an ESAP course)

VII. Reference Materials

  • Asher, R.E., Simpson, J.M.V. (eds) (1994) The Encyclopedia of Linguistics, 10 vols. Pergamon.
  • Bauer, L. (2007) The Linguistics Student’s Handbook. Edinburgh University Press
  • Frawley, W. (ed.) (2003) The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. 4 vols. OUP, (1st edn, ed. W. Bright, 1991)
  • Crystal, D. (1997) A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. 4th edition. Blackwell.
  • Matthews, P. (1997) The Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics. OUP.
  • Newmeyer, F.J. (ed.) (1988) Linguistics: The Cambridge Survey. 4 vols. CUP.
  • Trask, R.L. (1993) A Dictionary of Grammatical Terms in Linguistics. Routledge.
  • Crystal, D. (1987) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language
  • Longman’s Dictionary of Applied Linguistics
  • Trask, R. (1999) Key Concepts in Linguistics
  • Collinge, N. (ed.) (1990) An Encyclopedia of Language
  • The Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics (1994) Vol. I – X. Pergamon.

VIII. Linguistics on the Web

  1. IPA – International Phonetic Association: http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/ipa/ipa.html
  2. “Semiotics for Beginners” by Daniel Chandler: http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/semiotic.html
  3. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/
  4. Ethnologue Languages of the World: http://www.ethnologue.com/
  5. The Web Journal of Modern Language and Linguistics ISSN 1461-4499: http://wjmll.ncl.ac.uk/
  6. UCLA Academic Departments and Units
  7. The Applied Linguistics WWW Virtual Library
  8. Indo-European Home Page (UC Berkeley)
  9. The iLove Languages Page (formerly Human Languages)
  10. Linguist List Includes the World-Wide Web Virtual Library on Linguistics.
  11. Scholarly Societies Project: Language & Linguistics (From the University of Waterloo (Electronic Library). Facilitates access to web pages and gophers maintained by or for scholarly societies across the world.)
  12. Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL)
  13. University of Rochester Department of Linguistics
  14. Yahoo! – Social Science: Linguistics and Human Languages
  15. University Linguistics Departments, Programs and Centers (Extensive list maintained by Linguist/East Michigan University).
  16. UCLA Linguistics Department
  17. MIT Linguistics Home Page (Includes MIT Dissertations awarded in Linguistics, 1964-1994 and MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.)
  18. The Ohio State University, Department of Linguistics
  19. University of California at Berkeley Department of Linguistics (Includes links to the Berkeley Linguistics Society, Berkeley Women and Language Group, the Comparative Bantu Online Dictionary Project.)
  20. Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI) at Stanford University
  21. Haskins Laboratories, Yale University

IX. Sample exam

Exam in Introduction to General Linguistics

Name……………………………………………………….. Group…… Faculty No………….

Choose four of the six topics/questions listed below and write concise answers to the chosen four. Use your own paper, if needed. You have three astronomical hours to finish your answers. Please, write coherent paragraphs, not bullet-point plans. Good luck!

  1. Define and illustrate 5 types of word-formation in English.
  2. Define and illustrate four different types of grammatical marking.
  3. Discuss the structuring principle of iconicity in language.
  4. What do we include in a description of the phonotactics of a language? Provide an example from English.
  5. Describe the basic Saussurean dichotomies.
  6. How do the code model and the ostensive-inferential model of language and communication differ?

X. List of intended objectives and expected learning outcomes in Introduction to general linguistics

By the end of the one-semester introductory course the students are expected to:
• know how to define the various branches of linguistics (e.g., phonetics, phonology, morphology) and their specific area of study;
• understand and explain the basic concepts associated with the different branches of linguistics (e.g, phoneme, morpheme (and the different types of morphemes) in morphology, part-of-speech classes in English and the principles for their categorization; basic types of clauses and sentences in English, basic sentential grammatical and semantic roles, etc.);
• understand and appropriately use the basic terms in mainstream (descriptive – structural, functional and cogbitive) linguistics;
• understand and be able to describe the differences between the various linguistic units and levels of linguistic analysis;
• be able to analyze words, showing their structure through pointing out the root (and/or the stem), the derivational and inflectional morphemes and the free and bound morphemes that combine to form words in the English language;
• be able to analyze sentences, showing their structure and their constituents;
• be able to analyze simple sentences, showing the semantic roles realized by the different constituents in each sentence;
• be able to think critically about the different theories of language;
• be able to apply critical thinking to the different theories of language and detect analytical and terminological convergence, despite seeming discrepancies;
• be able to read with a considerable level of comprehension specialized texts on topics within the scope of the basic internal branches of linguistic studies (phonetics and phonology; morphology; syntax; semantics; typology and universals; etc.).

XI. Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct for the course Introduction to General Linguistics

The students have the right to:
1. be fully informed on all assignments, tests and exam dates/deadlines (to the exception of pop-up quizzes);
2. receive all reading materials, lecture notes (after the actual lecture), seminar worksheets and reference materials;
3. ask all types of questions related to the material studied or to administrative issues associated with the organization of the course;
4. fully express their opinion on the contents of the course, on topics discussed or on the organization and realization of the course;
5. require the assistance of the lecturer and/or seminar leaders on all academia-related issues;
6. be fully informed on the assessment procedures and the criteria of assessment applied.
The students are obliged to:
1. attend classes on a regular basis;
2. take responsibility for their own actions and decisions;
3. observe deadlines for assignments (if any) and set dates for tests and exams;
4. come to class prepared (which means having read the assigned texts for the respective seminar) and have a printout of the worksheet for the respective seminar in class;
5. show respect, tolerance and understanding to their colleagues;
6. give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge an indebtedness whenever:
a) directly quoting another person’s actual words, whether oral or written;
b) using another person’s ideas, opinions, or theories;
c) paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of others, whether oral or written;
d) borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material; or
e) offering materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment.
7. be themselves and do not plagiarise.

For the purposes of this course plagiarism is defined as presenting someone else’s work, including the work of other students, as one’s own. Any ideas or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use must be fully acknowledged, unless the information is common knowledge. What is considered “common knowledge” may differ from course to course. Plagiarism at quizzes, tests and the exam means using unauthorised materials, copying out answers from colleagues, consulting textbooks, reference materials and prepared in advance answers in the lavatories, using electronic devices to receive content-oriented help and talking to colleagues during tests and the exam.
Intended Learning Outcomes for the course Introduction to General Linguistics

By the end of the one-semester introductory course the students are expected to:
• know how to define the various branches of linguistics (e.g., phonetics, phonology, morphology) and their specific area of study;
• understand and explain the basic concepts associated with the different branches of linguistics (e.g., phoneme, morpheme (and the different types of morphemes) in morphology, part-of-speech classes in English and the principles for their categorization; basic types of clauses and sentences in English, basic sentential grammatical and semantic roles, etc.);
• understand and appropriately use the basic terms in mainstream (descriptive) linguistics;
• understand and be able to describe the differences between the various linguistic units and levels of linguistic analysis;
• be able to analyze words, showing their structure through pointing out the root (and/or the stem), the derivational and inflectional morphemes and the free and bound morphemes that combine to form words in the English language;
• be able to analyze sentences, showing their structure and their constituents;
• be able to analyze simple sentences, showing the semantic roles realized by the different constituents in each sentence;
• be able to think critically about the different theories of language;
• be able to read with a considerable level of comprehension specialized texts on topics within the scope of the basic internal branches of linguistic studies (phonetics and phonology; morphology; syntax; semantics; typology and universals; etc.).

The C.R.E.A.M strategy for learning
C – be Creative – have the confidence to use your individual strategies and style for learning, applying your imagination, guided by good practices.
R – be Reflective – analyse and evaluate your own performance and draw lessons from it.
E – be Effective – organise your space, time, priorities, state of mind and resources (including all available ITs) to the maximum benefit.
A – be Active – be personally involved, physically and mentally, in order to make sense of what you learn.
M – be Motivated – devise your own long- and short-term goals; be aware of your own desired outcomes.

 
 
 
 
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