Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course presupposes the knowledge of the foundations of general linguistics that the students acquired during their first year of studies. For the second part, an elementary knowledge of French, Spanish and Latin would be an advantage, as they allow to memorize the patterns presented more easily.
The course has two different aims: to teach the primary principles of historic linguistics, which are essential in order to study foreign languages in a historical perspective, and to stimulate students to correctly reflect about important issues such as linguistic change and the origin of languages.
Course contents summary
Glottology - 6 credits
The Course is divided in two parts.
The first part (20 hours) introduces the first principles of the subject. The notion of linguistic change will be presented, with a definition of its internal and in particular external causes, which are produced by the contacts between different linguistic communities. The notion of phonetic, morphological and lexical change will be examined, paying particular attention to the issue of loanwords and calques. After that, the comparative historical linguistic from Bopp to the researches of the structuralists will be briefly described, where the general principles on which the various research trends are rooted are focalized.
The second part (10 hours) will analyze the themes of the first part showing an analysis of the morphological history of the Romance languages.
de Saussure F., Corso di linguistica generale, publisher Laterza, pp. 171-282.
Gobber G - Morani M., Linguistica generale, publisher McGraw-Hill, pp. 151-282.
The topics of the course are presented in 15 lessons lasting two hours each, with the use of a blackboard in order to enable a visualization of the patterns and the analyses proposed.
At the end of each lesson the lecturer will arrange a consulting hour in his office in order to give the students the chance to receive explanations about the topics discussed during the lessons and the readings to prepare for the exam.
Assessment methods and criteria
The examination will consist in a single exam at the end of the course. The exam is oral and it consists of three questions, one of which is related to the bibliography of the exam.
During the exam the student’s knowledge about the subject and his/her conversational and reasoning skills will be assessed.