Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course has two different aims: to teach the primary principles of general linguistics, which are essential in order to study foreign languages at a university level, and to stimulate the students to critically reflect about human language and its connection with our cognitive activity.
The course does not require previous knowledge of the subject, since it is aimed to freshers who have never studied linguistics before. It only requires the comprehension skills which are acquired during the course of high school studies.
Course contents summary
Linguistics – 6 credits
The course is divided in two parts.
The first part (about 20 hours) introduces the general principles of the subject, starting from Saussure’s concept of linguistic sign. The meaning of signifier is explained, both in phonetics and phonology, and the problematic issue concerning the relation with writing will be mentioned.
The notion of meaning (sense and reference) and the pragmatic function of language will be presented. Morphemes will be examined and divided in different classes on the basis of their semantics.
The main peculiarities of the sentence’s syntax will be outlined paying particular attention to the semantic and pragmatic function of its components.
The second part (about 10 hours) will introduce cognitive linguistics, paying particular attention to the studies concerning the semantics of lexicon and grammar.
de Saussure F., Corso di linguistica generale, publisher Laterza, pp. 9-49 e 83-168.
Gobber G - Morani M., Linguistica generale (2nd ed.), publisher McGraw-Hill, pp. 1-146.
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 described.
At the end of each lesson the professor 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.