Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


GENERAL LINGUISTICS II
LINGUISTICA GENERALE II

Synchronic variation and historical change: language between nature and culture
Variazione sincronica e mutamento storico: le lingue tra natura e cultura

A.Y. Credits
2021/2022 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Chiara Celata By appointment (email)
Teaching in foreign languages
Course with optional materials in a foreign language English French
This course is entirely taught in Italian. Study materials can be provided in the foreign language and the final exam can be taken in the foreign language.

Assigned to the Degree Course

Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures (LM-14 / LM-15)
Curriculum: PERCORSO COMUNE
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

General Linguistics II is part of the modular course "Glottology and  General Linguistics II" (12 CFU), for which General Linguistics II covers 6 CFU.

The course has the following learning objectves:

- Detailed knowledge of a selected nucleus of linguistic phenomena of ancient and contemporary Indo-European languages.

- Development of analytic skills for linguistic data on multiple levels: (1) on a first level, the educational objective is the development of an ability to apply the comparative method to ancient Indo-European languages (mainly Latin and Greek) and the reconstruction of the common historical origin, with the purpose of describing the evolution of grammars, the similarities and differences among them, and possible and impossible patterns of language changes; (2) on a second level, the educational objective is the development of an understanding of the motivations for language chage, the rules and constraints that govern the empirical analysis of contemporary Indo-European languages (mainly Italian, French, English) for the explanation of how grammatical categories emerged. The current module, General Linguistics II, deals in particular with the level in (2).

As a consequence of such a two-level approach, students will finally be able to distinguish as well as to connect synchronic variation and diachronic change and will have acquired the analytical tools that allow puttig forth hypotheses on the former based on the observation of the latter and vice versa. 

Program

The course is developed around two subject areas: (1) Sound change, and (2) Verbal categories.

(1) Sound change:

methods and aims of the experimental study of sound change and its impact on general linguistic theory, based on the analysis of specific cases (Romance palatalizations, French liaison) and key concepts in sound change (e.g. origin vs. actuation vs. diffusion of change, perceptual normalization, teleology in language change, phonetic graduality and lexical diffusion, individual socio-cognitive factors, the phonology-grammar-lexicon interface).

(2) Verbal categories:

tense, aspect, Aktionsart, mood/modality; Reichenbach's model of tense; imperfectivity, perfectivity, event completion; telicity, stativity, durativity; evidentiality (outline).

Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

Knowledge and understanding: Ability to deal with synchronic and diachronic data from ancient and modern, known and unknown languages, and providing an interpretation according to the analytical categories of general and historical linguistics. Knowledge of the major phonological and morphological characteristics of Indo-European languages as a group and their differences. A general understanding of of the fundamental mechanisms that regulate language change and of some of the most relevant theoretical approaches to the study of language change.

Applying knowledge and understanding: Reconstructing anterior linguistic stages and describing cross-linguistic variation in grammars. Ability to connect synchronically observable variation to attested or hypothesized diachronic changes. Ability to put forth hypotheses about language evolution starting from the observation of social variation.

Making judgments: Ability to reflect in a critical and independet way on linguistic phenomena from ancient and modern languages; ability to identify the grammatical categories that are relevant to the explanation of a given linguistic phenomenon; recognizing the social and extra-linguistic dimensions that impact on the diffusion of potential language changes.

Communication: Mastery of the expressive means of language sciences for the understanding of specialized linguistics texts and for the elaboration of short argumentative essays on topics dealt with in the classes.

Lifelong learning skills: Acquisition of technical disciplinary information and capacities of formal reasoning that allow (i) the development of advanced analytical skills in the domain of the history and intepretation of literary and linguistic  heritage (ancient as well as contemporary texts, written as well as oral), (ii) the acquisition of transversal skills that are necessary to the identification and managing of the many faces of human difference (e.g. linguistic, social, cultural). 

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

Two seminars by Giulia de Flaviis (La Sapienza Università di Roma) on "Osservare il mutamento linguistico nella pratica e nella rappresentazione implicita ed esplicita dei parlanti: la liaison in francese", with the following schedule: Monday 6 Dec, 11h-13h; Tuesday 7 Dec, 11h-13h.


Teaching, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment

Teaching

Lectures; classroom exercises. Given the technicality of many of the covered topics, the lessons will be structured in a phase of public discussion of linguistic examples from Italian and other languages followed by a phase of systematic treatment of the main theoretical and empirical points. For the same reasons, group exercises will be performed during the lessons with the purpose, first and foremost, of bringing out any doubts or problems in need of further explanation, and secondarily, of simulating the final exam. 

Attendance

No special obligations. A detailed knowledge of the grammar of contemporary Italian is required, whereas some knowledge of at least one classical language (e.g. Latin) will prove useful.

Course books

The following texts are to be considered as further instrument of individual reflection and systematization of notions and problems that are dealt with during the classes. Therefore, non-attending students are particularly recommeded to rely on those texts. However, the texts do NOT replace the study of the specific topics that are covered during the classes and should therefore be integrated by the supplementary materials that are provided through the Moodle platform - the latter materials being essential for the preparation of the final exam.

For subject area (1): Solé M.J. & Recasens D. (Eds.) The initiation of sound change: Perception, Production and Social factors (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory Vol. 323), John Benjamins, 2012: Chapter by Ohala ("The listener as a source of sound change: An update") - pdf provided - 

For subject area (2): Squartini M., Il verbo, Carocci 2015 (with the exclusion of 4.4 and 4.5).

Those who need support in understanding basic concepts of linguistics may refer to the following handbook:  Basile / Casadei / Lorenzetti / Schirru / Thornton "Linguistica generale", Carocci. 

Assessment

For the course "Glottology / General Linguistics II", a written test lasting about 1 hour (open and closed questions on the topics of the program) is planned. This test includes both structured tests (to assess declarative knowledge and the general understanding of concepts) and semi-structured and unstructured tests (open procedural tasks) to assess the ability to reproduce the procedures of linguistic analysis proposed in the classroom. Semi- and non-structured tests also allow verifying the students' ability at coordinating different notions and analytical skills that are necessary to solve simple problems from unseen linguistic data. The learning outcomes will then be measured by attributing an overall judgment that takes into account not only the mastery of the topics covered and the ability to recall or recognize them, but also the ability to apply the procedures and elaborate ideas and original solutions in relation to real linguistic phenomena. If requested by the student, a short oral interview will also be possible, aimed at looking through the results of the written test, commenting on eventual errors, motivating the choices that were made, completing missing parts etc.

The final score, out of thirty, takes into account all the aspects above. Tests in which the students will show - in addition to basic declarative knowledge and a general understanding of concepts - the ability to apply the correct methodology to the analysis of new linguistics data and the capacity of solving general linguistic problems will obtain an evaluation of excellence. Tests in which the students will only show basic declarative knowledge and a general understanding of concepts will obtain a pass mark.

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students

Teaching

Individual study, based on both the supplementary materials provided by the teacher through the Moodle platform, and the course books listed below.

Attendance

No special obligations. A detailed knowledge of the grammar of contemporary Italian is required, whereas some knowledge of at least one classical language (e.g. Latin) will prove useful.

Course books

The following texts are to be considered as an important instrument for the systematization of the notions and the problems that are dealt with in the course. Therefore, non-attending students are particularly recommeded to rely on those texts. However, the texts do NOT replace the study of the specific topics that are covered during the classes and should therefore be integrated by the supplementary materials that are provided through the Moodle platform - the latter materials being essential for the preparation of the final exam.

For subject area (1): Solé M.J. & Recasens D. (Eds.) The initiation of sound change: Perception, Production and Social factors(Current Issues in Linguistic Theory Vol. 323), John Benjamins, 2012: Chapter by Ohala ("The listener as a source of sound change: An update") - pdf provided -

For section (2), Squartini M., Il verbo, Carocci 2015 (with the exclusion of 4.4. and 4.5).

Those who need support in understanding basic concepts of linguistics may refer to the following handbook:  Basile / Casadei / Lorenzetti / Schirru / Thornton "Linguistica generale", Carocci. 

Assessment

For the course "Glottology / General Linguistics II", a written test lasting about 1 hour (open and closed questions on the topics of the program) is planned. This test includes both structured tests (to assess declarative knowledge and the general understanding of concepts) and semi-structured and unstructured tests (open procedural tasks) to assess the ability to reproduce the procedures of linguistic analysis proposed in the classroom. Semi- and non-structured tests also allow verifying the students' ability at coordinating different notions and analytical skills that are necessary to solve simple problems from unseen linguistic data. The learning outcomes will then be measured by attributing an overall judgment that takes into account not only the mastery of the topics covered and the ability to recall or recognize them, but also the ability to apply the procedures and elaborate ideas and original solutions in relation to real linguistic phenomena. If requested by the student, a short oral interview will also be possible, aimed at looking through the results of the written test, commenting on eventual errors, motivating the choices that were made, completing missing parts etc.

The final score, out of thirty, takes into account all the aspects above. Tests in which the students will show - in addition to basic declarative knowledge and a general understanding of concepts - the ability to apply the correct methodology to the analysis of new lingusitic data and the capacity of solving general linguistic problems will obtain an evaluation of excellence. Tests in which the students will only show basic declarative knowledge and a general understanding of concepts will obtain a pass mark.

Notes

Please contact the teacher if this is your very first course in linguistics (L-LIN/01), or a single learning activity, or you only need to pass the exam for only one of the two modules. 

« back Last update: 28/12/2021

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