General Linguistics

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to give a basic knowledge in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, starting from the knowledge and skills that each student has acquired in relation to his/her mother tongue, and to other languages he/she has previously learned in the lower- and upper-middle schools. The course also intends to provide the knowledge of linguistic variation both in diachrony and in relation to social stratification. In addition, since the reflection on the functioning of the language requires a specialized vocabulary as a description of various phenomena, the program aims to provide specific expertise in this direction.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students will be able to recognize different levels of analysis of natural languages and also to use the interpretative categories developed by the main schools of linguistic thought. In addition, students will be able to use a (basic) specialized vocabulary in (general) linguistics.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
During the emergency teaching phase, the program is maintained with the following changes necessary for a good online use of the course (originally designed for face-to-face teaching):
The lessons will take place on Microsoft Teams (or Zoom) mostly in synchronous mode, at established times, and will be recorded and available on the platform itself in asynchronous mode. Information on how to access Microsoft Teams lessons and other instructions will be uploaded to the course's ARIEL site. In the event that, taking into account the evolution of the epidemic and in compliance with the relevant regulations, it should be possible to carry out activities in the classroom, students will be promptly informed via ARIEL. Lessons may also include pre-recorded materials.
Program and reference material:
The course program is unchanged. The content of the individual lessons could be modified according to the teaching methods described above.
Reference materials are unchanged.
Learning assessment procedures and assessment criteria:
The methods for verifying learning and the assessment criteria will not be subject to change, it being understood that the oral exam will take place in person or through Microsoft Teams (or Zoom) according to the directives in force at the time of the exam.
Course syllabus
The course is entitled "General Linguistics" and consists of the following two units, which will be approached in sequence:
Teaching unit A: Institutions of theoretical linguistics: elements of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, typology, semantics and pragmatics.
Teaching unit B: Variation in language: The historical-comparative method; dialectology; introduction to sociolinguistics..
The course is adressed to students of the Degree course in Language Mediation and Intercultural Communication, it takes place in the first semester and consists of two indivisible teaching units. The course involves the compulsory acquisition of 6 credits, so students will comply with the complete program.
Unit A will deal with the organs of phonation, phones production and phonetic representations (IPA and other phonetic transcription systems); the definition and organization of phonemes; the definition of linguistic significant units (morphemes) and the formation of words; the definition of phrases and the principles and processes that govern the structure of the sentence; the relationship between syntax and semantic-pragmatic aspects; the typological classification of languages based on the formation of words and the order of the major constituents of the sentence.
Unit B will deal with the beginnings of historical-comparative linguistics and the clues that led to establishing relations between related languages and the "discovery" of language families; morover, some elements of dialectology and of sociolinguistics will be taught.
The course program is valid until February 2021.
Prerequisites for admission
The course is held entirely in Italian. The exam materials and bibliography presuppose grammatical skills that each student possesses in relation to the functioning of their own language, of other languages they have learned, and in the basic linguistic analysis skills acquired in lower study courses.
Teaching methods
The course adopts the following teaching methods: frontal lessons.
Teaching Resources
The course has a site on the online platform for teaching, to which reference is made for teaching materials provided by the teacher.
Below are the manuals and other readings for the various teaching units.
Teaching Unit A:
1) G. Graffi-S. Scalise, "Le lingue e il linguaggio", Bologna, Il Mulino, 2nd ed. (2003) o 3rd ed. (2013), chapters 1-6.
2)P. Maturi, "I suoni delle lingue, i suoni dell'italiano. Nuova introduzione alla fonetica" (3a ed.), Bologna, il Mulino, 2014.
3) teaching materials, downloadable from the teaching portal "Ariel".
Teaching Unit B:
1) G. Graffi-S. Scalise, "Le lingue e il linguaggio", Bologna, Il Mulino, 2nd ed. (2003) or 3rd ed. (2013), chapters 7-10.
2) Booklet of the course.
3) G.Berruto "Prima lezione di sociolinguistica", Bari/Roma, Laterza;
4) V.Dell'Aquila-G.Iannàccaro "La pianificazione linguistica", Roma, Carocci (pp. 11-131).
5)C. Cecchetto, "Introduzione alla Sintassi. La Teoria dei Principi e dei Parametri", Milano, LED, 2002.
6) teaching materials, downloadable from the teaching portal "Ariel".
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of an individual interview, which includes questions asked by the teacher and interactions between the teacher and the student. The interview has a variable duration depending on the units, and takes place in Italian. The interview aims to verify knowledge of the topics covered during the course, the ability to identify and analyze the relevant phenomena and the precision in the use of specific terminology. The final mark is expressed in thirtieths, and the student has the right to reject it (in this case it will be recorded as "ritirato"). International or Erasmus incoming students are invited to promptly contact the teacher. The examination procedures for students with disabilities and / or with DSA must be agreed with the teacher, in agreement with the competent Office.
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Vai Massimo
Educational website(s)