Learning outcomes of the course unit
At the end of the course in Linguistics students obtain a knowledge about the most important issues of theoretical linguistics, which will be useful for the study of Historical linguistics (Glottologia) as well as the study of grammar of foreign languages.
Knowledge and understanding
Students will acquire knowledge and comprehension skills in the field of theoretical linguistics thanks to two main sources: textbooks and frontal lectures, which main aim is to deepen and show with examples the most important themes covered in the textbooks.
Applying knowledge and understanding
Students will be able to apply their knowledge and comprehension skills successfully in the study of grammar of foreign languages as well as language teaching.
Students will acquire evaluation skills which will allow them to express autonomous judgements on the grammars which they use and to integrate their presentations with personal considerations, eventually based on elements acquired during subsequent studies.
Thanks to the critical considerations made on the main points of the subject, students will be able to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist regarding linguistic matters.
Students will also obtain a cultural baggage which will allow them to continue their studies in the linguistic field as well as contributing to their educational path as teachers of foreign languages.
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.
Ferdinand de Saussure; Corso di linguistica generale, Editori Laterza, pp. 9-43 e 83-120.
Guido Michelini, Linguistica generale, [will be published before the end of September], Parte 1a, capitoli 1, 2, 3, 4, e 5.
Optional reading: Croft W. - Cruse D. A., Linguistica cognitiva, editore Carocci,pp. 31-133.
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 is oral only.
During the examination the student will be given four questions: two on the textbooks and two regarding topics addressed during lectures. Students who are unable to attend lectures will need to arrange with the teacher some alternative readings, which will be the argument of two of the four questions. The aim of the examination is to verify acquired knowledge, presentation skills and independent judgement. Starting from the acquired knowledge, through textbooks and lectures or potential alternative readings, a discussion aimed at verifying critical ability and independent judgement is encouraged.
An insufficient evaluation is motivated by the lack of a minimal knowledge of the subject, the inability to present coherently the main topics of the examination, and a complete lack of a critical approach toward the subject. An evaluation between 18 and 21 out of 30 is motivated by a minimal level of knowledge of the subject and a performance during which the student proves a marginal ability to present coherently the main topics of the examination and a marginal critical approach. An evaluation between 22 and 25 out of 30 is motivated by a fair level of knowledge of the subject and a performance during which the student proves a fair ability to present coherently the main topics of the examination and a fair critical approach. An evaluation between 26 and 28 out of 30 is motivated by a good level of knowledge of the subject and a performance during which the student proves a good ability to present coherently the main topics of the examination and a good critical approach.
An evaluation between 29 and 30 out of 30 is motivated by an excellent level of knowledge of the subject and a performance during which the student proves an excellent ability to present coherently the main topics of the examination and an excellent critical approach.