Introduction to Linguistics


Course Objective

The goal of this course is to provide students with elementary knowlegde
of formal linguistics and of language use. 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 of
language acquisition and language disorders, phonetics and phonologiy,
morphology, syntax, language variation and language contact, semantics,
pragmatics, and computational linguistics. They will also be aware of
the role that linguistics plays in society, such as in speech/ language
therapy, in educational environments, and in language policy. Students
will also be able to perform basic linguistics analyses on language
datasets from languages they do not speak.

Course Content

In this course we will study the basics of linguistics and applied
linguistics. We start out with studying the language acquisition
processes young children go through. We will focus on the developmental
processes in sound, word and sentence acquisition. We will also pay some
attention to language disorders, such as developmental disorders and
aphasia. Taking language acquisition as a starting point, we will then
study the systems for sound production, word formation and sentence
construction as universal properties of languages. In our phonetics and
phonology classes we will study how sounds are pronounced and perceived
and how meaning is mapped onto sounds in different languages. 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 fourth week we focus on how languages change from generation to
generation and how language contact causes regional language change. In
these first four weeks we will study language examples from English and
Dutch but also from typologically completely different languages such
as Austronesian languages and Amazonian languages. In week five, we will
focus less on the language system itself and more on language use. We
will study semantics (the mapping of meaning onto words or clauses) and
pragmatics (the use of unwritten rules of language use). In the final
week, we will focus on computational linguistics and we will study how
computers learn languages and how this differs from the way humans learn
languages. At the end of the course, you will have become acquainted
with quite a number of fascinating features of language.

Teaching Methods

Lectures (4 hrs per week) and seminars (2 hrs per week). In the first
lecture of each week the topics of that week will be introduced. During
the second lecture we will go into the role that the topic of the week
plays in society. Students will then individually work on a number of
linguistic exercises (related to the topic of the week) 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

Method of Assessment

Written exam (50 multiple choice questions). Students will be tested on
their knowledge of and insight in the field of linguistics. Analyses of
small datasets will also be part of this multiple choice exam.

Entry Requirements



Dawson, H.C. & M. Phelan (eds.) (2016). 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.

Custom Course Registration

The coordinator of the course will assign students to the seminar groups. This means that students who register for the course, will automatically be signed up for the lectures and the exam. Their specific seminar will not become visible in their personal schedule, but will be published on Canvas.

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 Lecture, Seminar*

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: