Introduction to Linguistics


Course Objective

The goal of this course is to provide students with elementary knowlegde
of formal and functional linguistics. At the end of this course,
students will be able to correctly use basic linguistic terminology and
they will be familiar with the basics of the linguistic domains
phonetics, phonologiy, morphology, syntax, language variation, language
contact, semantics, pragmatics, computational linguistics, language
acquisition and language disorders. They will also be aware of the role
that linguistics plays in society, such as in speech therapy or language
therapy, in educational environments, and in language policy. Students
will also be able to perform basic linguistics analyses on language
examples from different languages.

Course Content

In this course we will study the basics of linguistics (and some applied
linguistics). We start out with studying how sounds are pronounced and
perceived and how meaning is mapped onto sounds in different languages
(topics: phonetics and phonology). We then move on to how words and
sentences are formed in a number of languages and how this helps us
categorize languages into families (topics: morphology and syntax). In
the third week we focus on how languages change from generation to
generation and how language contact causes regional language change. In
these first three weeks we will study language examples from English and
Dutch but also from typologically completely different langauages such
as Austronesian languages and Amazonian languages.
In the second part of the course, in weeks four, five and six, we will
focus on a number of functions of language. First, we will study
semantics (the mapping of meaning onto words or clauses) and pragmatics
(the use of unwritten rules of language use). After that, we will move
on to computational linguistics and we will try to answer the question
whether it is possible for a computer to learn a language in exactly the
same way as humans do. In the last week we will focus on the miracle of
language learning. At that point in the course, we will most probably
have come to the conclusion that languages are based on quite complex
systems of rules and exceptions and we will study the learnability of
language. We will focus on the stages that children go through as they
learn their native language. Some attention will also be paid to a
number of language disorders.

Teaching Methods

Lectures (2 hrs per week), seminars (2 hrs per week) and practical
classes (2 hrs per week). In the lectures the topics of the week will be
introduced by an expert in the field. Students will then individually
work through a number of linguistic exercises before the start of the
seminar. During the seminar the teacher will discuss the students'
outcomes of the exercises and will compare them to his/her own outcomes.
During the practical classes a (guest) lecturer will go into the role
that the topic of the week plays in society.

Method of Assessment

Written exam (50 multiple choice questions). Students will be tested on
their knowledge of and insight in the field of linguistics and they will
have to apply that knowledge in a number of linguistic exercises.

Entry Requirements



Dawson, H.C. & M. Phelan (eds.) (2012). Language Files. Materials for an
introduction to language and linguistics. 12th edition (!). Ohio State

Target Audience

BA 1 students in Communication and Information Studies and all other
students who are interested in the topic of the course.

Additional Information

Obligatory attendance during the practical classes, guest lectures and
the Linguistics meeting of the Orientation Module. If you miss more than
one meeting, you will have to do an assignment.

General Information

Course Code L_AABACIW103
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. P.H.F. Bos
Examiner dr. P.H.F. Bos
Teaching Staff dr. S.A. Blackwell
prof. dr. M.M.R. Coene
prof. dr. L.J. de Vries
dr. H.D. van der Vliet
dr. P.H.F. Bos

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: