84645 - Typological Linguistics (1) (LM)

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Docente: Nicola Grandi
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: L-LIN/01
  • Language: Italian

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will know in depth the methods of analysis and the main results of the typological approach to the study of natural languages; s/he will know the main theoretical bases of linguistic typology ( cross-linguistic comparison, the notion of linguistic type, the difference between absolute and implicational universals, implicational hierarchies, semantic maps, linguistic areas, etc.); s/he will be able to manage the typological analysis of a language or a linguistic phenomenon.

Course contents

The course, addressed primarily to students with a strong background in language sciences, will be dedicated, in its first part, to the definition of the foundations of the linguistic typology:

- the notion of type

- the construction of a representative sample of languages

- methods and tools of the typological analysis

- the linguistic universals and their possible explanations

- the theory of markedness

- the traditional morphological and syntactic typology

In the second part we will focus on some examples of typological analysis of linguistic categories:

- the parts of the speech

- coordination

- derivation and inflection

Finally, the correlation between tipolpogical variation and sociolinguistic variation will be analyzed.


For the general part, attending and not attending students will have to follow the following indications:

- Nicola Grandi (2014), Fondamenti di tipologia linguistica, Roma, Carocci (also previous editions are fine)

- Banfi, E. e Grandi, N. (eds.) (2008), Le lingue extraeuropee: Americhe, Australia e lingue di contatto, Roma, Carocci (chapters 1 e 2, pag. 35-67)

- one of the following volumes:

Comrie, B. (1981), Language universals and linguistic typology: syntax and morphology, Oxford : B. Blackwell, 1981 (also later editions are fine)

Song, J.J. (ed.) (2011), The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Typology, Oxford, Oxford University Press (chapters 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 21, 22; that is: Markedness, Categories and Prototypes, Implicational Hierarchies, Language Universals and Linguistic Knowledge, Word Order Typology, Word Classes, Syntactic Typology, Morphological Typology)

Song, J.J. (2001), Linguistic typology: morphology and syntax, London and New York, Routledge (chapters 1, 2, 6)

For the monographic part, attending students will study the slides presented during the lectures the articles that will be presented and discussed in the lectures (about 7, on the following topics: word classes, coordination, compounds, dynamic typology). The slides and articles will be made available in pdf format on the University portal.

For the monographic part, non-attending students must prepare one of the following volumes:

Cristofaro, S. e Putzu, I. (ed.) (2000), Languages in the Mediterranea area: typology and convergence, Milano, Franco Angeli

Cristofaro, S. e Ramat, P. (eds.) (1999), Introduzione alla tipologia linguistica, Roma, Carocci

Banfi, E. e Grandi, N. (eds.) (2008), Le lingue extraeuropee: Americhe, Australia e lingue di contatto, Roma, Carocci (a general knowledge of the linguistic regions described is required)

For any difficulties in finding the material, contact the teacher.

Teaching methods


Assessment methods

The final exam is an oral colloquium dealing with the course contents; its aim it to evaluate the critical skills and methodological knowledge gained by the student.

Reaching a clear view of all the course topics as well as using a correct language terminology will be valued with maximum rankings. The capacity of building autonomous paths to connect different topics of the course will be appreciated.
Mnemonic knowledge of the course topics or not completely appropriate terminology will be valued with intermediate rankings.
Unknown topics or inappropriate terminology use will be valued, depending on the seriousness of the omissions, with minimal or insufficient rankings.

All the students will be asked to start from a subject freelychoosen by them.

All the students must register for the exam with Alamesami. The exam can be arranged in sdifferent rounds depending on the number of subscribers.


Information for the students of the Second Cycle Degree in Philology, Literature and Classical Tradition:

This course (6 CP) is a component of the integrated course TYPOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS. The integrated course (12 CP) will take place during the first semester; the module of Historical Linguistics will take place in the first period and will start on September 26, 2018. The second module, Typological Linguistics, will take place in the second period and will start immediately after the end of this course. The final grade will be the mean of the results obtained in each part.

Teaching tools

In the lectures I'll make use of Power Point presentations that will be available to the students in the website https://virtuale.unibo.it/

Office hours

See the website of Nicola Grandi


Reduced inequalities Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.