Learning outcomes of the course unit
At the end of the course of Historical linguistics (Glottologia) students obtain a knowledge about the most important issues of historical linguistics, which will be useful for the study of Philology as well as the study of historical grammar of foreign languages.
Knowledge and understanding
Students will acquire knowledge and comprehension skills in the field of historical 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 historical grammar of foreign languages as well as teaching the history of languages.
Students will acquire evaluation skills which will allow them to express autonomous judgements on the historical 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 specialists and non-specialists regarding matters of historical linguistics.
Students will also obtain a cultural baggage which will allow them to continue their studies in the field of historical linguistics as well as contributing to their educational path as teachers of foreign languages.
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 English and German would be an advantage, as they allow to memorize the patterns presented more easily.
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 German languages.
de Saussure F., Corso di linguistica generale, publisher Laterza, pp. 171-282.
Michelini G., Linguistica generale, [will be published before end of September], Parte 3a, capitoli 1 e 2.
Optional reading: Bynon T., Linguistica storica, Il Mulino, pp. 31-112.
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 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.