Foundations of Linguistics
Run by School of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics
20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Alan Wallington
Overall aims and purpose
This module provides an overview of the discipline of language science. In particular, it covers key disciplines, ideas, terms and methodologies in the study of natural language and to some of the tools required for language analysis. The module provides broad overview of a range of topics in the study of natural language, as well as laying the foundations for the study of core areas of linguistics, including phonetics, phonology (sounds systems), morphology (word structure), syntax (sentence structure), semantics (word and sentence meaning) and pragmatics (meaning in context) and how these areas, domains and various disciplines interact. The language used for the purposes of exemplification in this module is primarily English, although other languages will be referred to.
• To enhance students’ understanding of the scientific approach to language description.
• To enhance students’ appreciation of theoretical and empirical issues, and controversies concerning the study of language.
• To give students practical skills and experience with dealing with language data.
• To give students a firm grounding in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. • To review the core components of the mental grammar with respect to word formation and structure.
Lectures are organized into three broad units: structure (i.e morphology and syntax); meaning (i.e semantics and pragmatics); and sound (i.e. phonetics, phonology). These units introduce students to the study of how sounds, words and sentences are made, produced, comprehended, categorized and understood and then theoretically discussed and paradigmatically presented/ described in the field of modern linguistics. In terms of phonetics it will concentrate on some of the general principles involved in speech production and how to articulate and transcribe the sounds in the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) chart. With respect to phonology it will look at how sound systems are structured (alternations and phonotactics) and how speakers’ phonological knowledge can be described and represented. With respect to morphology, it will provide students with the core descriptive terminology and with some of the analytical tools and diagramming techniques that are used in the investigation of morphology (the structure of words). It will also look at a range of different morphological systems across languages. For syntax, the unit will provide students with the core descriptive terminology and with some of the analytical tools and diagramming techniques that are used in the investigation of the structure of sentences and the different types of sentence constructions and functions. It will also make students aware of some of the main theoretical differences that currently underlie studies of sentence level grammar. With respect to semantics, the unit will explore how meaning is created and described. The unit will first examine words and concepts, including how words and concepts relate to each other via relations such as synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy. Secondly the unit will examine sentence meaning and relations between sentences such as entailment and contradiction. Finally, the pragmatics unit will examine the role of context with respect to how people make sense of each other linguistically. The topics covered will include the following; examining the interface between semantics, and pragmatics, deixis, presupposition, conversational implicature, speech acts and speech act classification, politeness.The module will take a broadly consensual perspective, but will address, where relevant, controversies and points of contention in the study of language. The module will provide hands on training in conducting linguistic analysis of language data.
The following topics will be covered:
The answer must address the question.
The answer must show a basic knowledge and understanding of the relevant key areas and principles of the foundational theories, constructs and methodologies of Linguistics.
The student must show evidence of being able to apply the principles to the analysis of language and linguistic examples and/or data.
The answer must show evidence of some background study.
The answer must be focussed and structured.
The answer must show a better-than-average standard of knowledge and understanding of the foundational theories, constructs and methodologies of Linguistics.
The linguistic examples used in the answer may be based upon examples from the literature but must also include original examples.
The answer must show evidence of background study with at least some from primary sources.
The answer must be highly focused and well-structured, free from irrelevant material and errors of spelling and punctuation. The answer must show comprehensive knowledge and detailed understanding, and demonstrate the ability to apply concepts clearly, accurately and in depth. The answer must show advanced ability in all of the learning outcomes.
The answer must show substantial evidence of detailed interpretation and critical thinking, and the ability to make new links between topics and/or a new approach to a problem.
The answer must show evidence of extensive background study beyond basic texts.
Students will be able to employ the appropriate technical terminology, concepts and tools to describe the structure and properties of language including sounds.
Students will be aware of some of the theoretical underpinnings, and controversies therein, relating to natural language analysis.
Students will demonstrate familiarity with the core areas of linguistics, including: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics.
Students will gain familiarity in reading and reporting on primary and advanced level sources relating to natural language analysis.
Students will be able to analyse natural language data in the core areas of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics.
|SUMMATIVE THEORETICAL ASSMT||Take home Syntax and Morphology exercise||
The students will be required to analyse a number of data sets relating to syntax and morphology
|SUMMATIVE THEORETICAL ASSMT||Take home Semantics and Pragmatics exercise||
The students will be required to analyse a number of data sets relating to semantics and pragmatics
|SUMMATIVE THEORETICAL ASSMT||Take home Phonetics and Phonology exercise||
The students will be required to analyse a number of data sets relating to phonetics and phonology
|Written assignment, including essay||End of module assessment - essays + data analysis||
Students will be required to write a 1000 word essay or report on a data set for each of the six subfields covered in the module. When asked to write an essay a choice of topics will be given.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
The module is divided into 6 units. Each apart from Syntax unit will have two 2 hour lectures. Syntax will have one 2 hour lecture plus two 1 hour lectures. In addition there will be a summary 1 hour lecture at the end of the module.
In their own time, students will be expected to do further reading, go through materials covered in class and do further research on the topics, and prepare assignments.
Six 1 hour practicals/seminars. Each of the six units will have a 1 hour practical/seminar.
Directed Reading - students are given required reading each week (of about 3 hours) on the topic of that week's lecture.
Students are encouraged to see the lecturer on a one-to-one basis during published office hours (or by appointment) to discuss issues with the module content, seek clarification on topics and discussions, and discuss feedback on assessments and class exercises.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- Writing & scholarly conventions - students will be able to present data, argumentation, findings and references in written form in keeping with the conventions current in language science and English language studies to an advanced standard.
- Analysis & interpretation skills - students will be able to analyse and interpret data accurately and to draw appropriate conclusions based on the application of appropriate analytic and theoretical frameworks available in linguistics and English language studies.
- Evaluation & reflection - students will be able to critically evaluate to an advanced standard a particular position, viewpoint or argument in relation to a specific area of investigation. They will be able to reflect on the efficacy of a particular approach, practice or performance, and moderate these as a consequence in order to achieve specific goals.
- Awareness of and appreciation for linguistic and cultural differences - students will develop an awareness of and an appreciation for the range and nature of linguistic and cultural diversity.
- Knowledge of the nature of language origins, change and use - students will demonstrate detailed knowledge phenomena and findings relating to the nature of language origins, the way language changes, and factors involved in and affecting language use.
- Knowledge of linguistic theory and application - students will demonstrate a detailed knowledge of terms, issues, principles, aspects and best practices related to the study of human language and linguistics.
- Understanding of the nature and organisation of language - students will demonstrate detailed knowledge of observations and findings relating to various aspects of linguistic phenomena and organization.
- Understanding the nature of commonalities and differences across languages - students will demonstrate detailed knowledge of phenomena and findings relating to universals and diversity exhibited by and across languages.
- Knowledge of the relationship between language and society, culture, and/or embodied experience - students will demonstrate detailed knowledge of phenomena and findings relating to the complex interdependent relationship between language, society culture and/or embodied experience.
- Knowledge of the relationship between language and mind/brain - students will demonstrate detailed knowledge of phenomena and findings relating to the complex interdependent relationship between language and mind/brain.
Resource implications for students