Core Course General Linguistics

2019-2020

Course Objective

To broaden and deepen the students’ knowledge of grammatical theory
and of current debates in the field of linguistics
- To enhance the ability of students to apply principles of linguistic
analysis, argumentation and explanation
- To enhance the students’ skills for using linguistic terminology in a
precise and consistent manner
- To enhance the students’ ability to reflect critically on linguistic
analyses put forward in the literature
- To enhance the students’ ability to use grammatical notions from
phonology, morphology and syntax as analytical tools in applied
linguistic research

Course Content

Week 1 Sounds: phonetics and phonology

first session, prof. de Vries
- the typology and the building blocks (chunks) of phonological systems
and the factors constraining the variation in phonological systems
- study:
(a) chapter 4 Phonology, Viveka Velupillai, An Introduction to
Linguistic Typology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 2012.
(b) chapters 1-3, Morten H. Christiansen and Nick Chater, Creating
Language. Integrating Evolution, Acquisition, and Processing. Cambridge,
Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2016.

second session, prof. Coene
- interactive working session related to the topics discussed in the
first session

Week 2 Words: Morphology, Word Classes and Vocabulary

first session, prof. de Vries
- words: internal structure, classes and the (acquisition of)
vocabulary
- study:
(a) chapter 5 Morphology
(b) chapter 6 The Lexicon and its Classes of Viveka Velupillai, An
Introduction to Linguistic Typology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 2012.
(c) chapter 4 The Now-or-Never Processing Bottleneck, Morten H.
Christiansen and Nick Chater, Creating Language. Integrating Evolution,
Acquisition, and Processing. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts
Institute of Technology 2016.

second session, prof. Coene
- interactive working session related to the topics discussed in the
first session

Week 3 grouping words into phrases
first session, prof. de Vries
study:
- nominal categories and syntax
(a) chapter 7 Nominal categories and syntax, Viveka Velupillai, An
Introduction to Linguistic Typology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 2012.
(b) chapter 5 Language Acquisition through Multiple-Cue Integration,
Morten H. Christiansen and Nick Chater, Creating Language. Integrating
Evolution, Acquisition, and Processing. Cambridge, Massachusetts:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2016.

second session, prof. Coene
- interactive working session related to the topics discussed in the
first session

Week 4 Syntax: grouping phrases into simple clauses
first session, prof. de Vries
- valency and clausal syntax

study:
(a) chapter 9 Simple clauses, Viveka Velupillai, An Introduction to
Linguistic Typology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 2012.
(b) chapter 6 Experience-based Language processing, Morten H.
Christiansen and Nick Chater, Creating Language. Integrating Evolution,
Acquisition, and Processing. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts
Institute of Technology 2016.

second session, prof. Coene
- interactive working session related to the topics discussed in the
first session

Week 5 Syntax: clause combining
first session, prof. de Vries
- relative clauses, adverbial clauses, complement clauses, clause
conjoining, clause chaining, serial verb constructions, the recursion
debate, binding and local dependencies
study:
(a) chapter 11 Complex clauses, Viveka Velupillai, An Introduction to
Linguistic Typology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 2012.
(b) chapter 7, Recursion as a usage-based skill, Morten H. Christiansen
and Nick Chater, Creating Language. Integrating Evolution, Acquisition,
and Processing. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of
Technology 2016.

second session, prof. Coene
- interactive working session related to the topics discussed in the
first session

Week 6 Linguistic Pragmatics
first session, prof. de Vries
- speech acts, politeness and honorific systems

study:
(a) chapter 12 Speech acts and politeness, Viveka Velupillai, An
Introduction to Linguistic Typology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 2012.
(b) chapter 8 From fragmentation to Integration, Morten H. Christiansen
and Nick Chater, Creating Language. Integrating Evolution, Acquisition,
and Processing. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of
Technology 2016.

second session, prof. Coene
- interactive working session related to the topics discussed in the
first session

Teaching Methods

Lecture and Working sessions involving student participation, 4 hours a
week

Method of Assessment

written exam

Entry Requirements

Entrance requirements: students must have completed one or more BA level
introductory courses in linguistics (e.g. Taal in Context at the VU); if
students have deficiencies in this regard, they have to do the free on
line course Miracles of Human Language first (
https://www.coursera.org/learn/human-language).

Literature

Viveka Velupillai, An Introduction to Linguistic Typology. Amsterdam:
John Benjamins. 2012.
Morten H. Christiansen and Nick Chater, Creating Language. Integrating
Evolution, Acquisition, and Processing. Cambridge, Massachusetts:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2016.

Target Audience

Research Master Linguistics

Additional Information

Students of the one-year master programs general and applied linguistics
join this course. They have less required reading and assignments
because of the 6EC that they receive for following this 9EC course..
Their examination is adjusted to the 6EC study load.

General Information

Course Code L_AAMPALG015
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. L.J. de Vries
Examiner prof. dr. L.J. de Vries
Teaching Staff prof. dr. L.J. de Vries
prof. dr. M.M.R. Coene

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar