29401 - Historical Linguistics (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

SDGs

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

Quality education Life on land

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The course aims at introducing the methods and the main research areas in the diachronic study of languages. At the end of the course the student knows the main theories on the diversification of language families and on the cognitive bases of language change, and can analyze specific cases of language change encountered in the phonological, morphosyntactic, and semantic-pragmatic systems of the languages that will be considered during the course.

Course contents

During the course we will see the main aspects on which research in historical linguistics focuses: we will discuss concrete examples of language change in various languages (with particular attention to the Indoeuropean ones) and we will investigate causes and ways of development of language change. Linguistics reaches the status of scientific discipline starting from historical linguistics: the innovative methods developed in this field have put linguistics in the position to contribute to interdisciplinary research on the history of human populations and cultures. Moreover, some recurrent phenomena in language change (analogy, grammaticalization, cyclical change) represent important arguments in favor of a cognitive approach to the study of language.

 

The program is structured on two levels:

I. thematic part (weekly readings and lectures by the teacher)

Discussion of various theoretical aspects and empirical studies, on the basis of weekly readings (see the e-learning page for the precise temporal sequence):

- Birth of linguistics as a science: the historical-comparative method and the discovery of language families

- Why do languages change?

- Phonetic change

- Morphological change

- Syntactic change

- Semantic change

- Grammaticalization

 

II. background part

Autonomous, individual study of a handbook among those indicated in the bibliographic section.

During the first week of classes a detailed syllabus, with a list of topics for each lecture and the suggested reading (from the readings for the thematic part), will be published. The syllabus will be made available on the Virtuale e-learning platform.

 

Prerequisites:

The course has been designed for students with a basic background in linguistics (i.e. with competences like those that are developed in General Linguistics classes, or in classes on the History of various languages). The students who believe not to have this background knowledge are advised to refer to a basic handbook of linguistics, as. e.g. Berruto, G. / Cerruti, M. (2017), La linguistica. Un corso introduttivo , Torino, UTET.

Information for the students of the Second Cycle Degree in Philology, Literature and Classical Tradition who enrolled before the academic year 2019-20:

For students in Philology, Literature and Classical Tradition who enrolled before the academic year 2019-20 this course (6 CP) is a component of the integrated course TYPOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS (12 CP). Please see the program of the course "Linguistic Typology" (Prof. Nicola Grandi) for the material relative to that part. The final grade will be the mean of the results obtained in each part.

Readings/Bibliography

I. thematic part

a) Napoli, M. 2019. Linguistica diacronica. La prospettiva tipologica. Roma: Carocci.

b) A reader composed of the articles read and discussed in class (3 articles in English; the articles are listed in the course's detailed program and are available in electronic format on the e-learning platform; a list with bibliographical references will be published at the end of the course)

 

II. background part

A handbook of your choice between:

Luraghi, S. 2021. Introduzione alla linguistica storica. Nuova edizione. Roma: Carocci. [N.B. It is possible to use the previous edition, but the new 2021 edition - Aulamagna collection is recommended because it is cheaper, corrected an integrated in some aspects and accompanied by online exercises]

Magni, E. 2014. Linguistica storica. Bologna: Pàtron

 

The handbook by S. Luraghi is recommended for readers who are at ease with Greek and Latin examples.

Students who followed the course in Historical Linguistics by Professor Magni (Degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures) are kindly asked to choose Luraghi's handbook.

 

 

Program for students who do not attend the lectures

I. thematic part

a) Napoli, M. 2019. Linguistica diacronica. La prospettiva tipologica. Roma: Carocci.

b) Students who do not attend the lectures will substitute point (b) of the thematic part with the 3 chapters "Il mutamento linguistico" (R. Lazzeroni), "Interlinguistica" (R. Gusmani) and "La ricostruzione linguistica e culturale" (E. Campanile) taken from:

Campanile, E., De Felice, E., Gusmani, R., Lazzeroni, R., Silvestri, D. 1987. Linguistica Storica. Edizione 2017 Roma: Carocci.

II. background part

A handbook of your choice between:

Luraghi, S. 2021. Introduzione alla linguistica storica. Nuova edizione. Roma: Carocci. [N.B. It is possible to use the previous edition, but the new 2021 edition - Aulamagna collection is recommended because it is cheaper, corrected an integrated in some aspects and accompanied by online exercises]

Magni, E. 2014. Linguistica storica. Bologna: Pàtron.

The handbook by S. Luraghi is recommended for readers who are at ease with Greek and Latin examples.

Students who followed the course in Historical Linguistics by Professor Magni (Degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures) are kindly asked to choose Luraghi's handbook)

Teaching methods

Lectures, collaborative discussion of scientific articles, practical exercises

Assessment methods

The assessment will take place during an oral examination. The student will be asked to start with a topic of her / his choice and to proceed, in a dialogue with the instructor, to touch upon various themes in the program, in an autonomous and critical way.

A positive evaluation will be possible in the presence of proper language, correct use of the technical terminology typical of the discipline, precision in the discussion of the various topics and in the argumentation, critical ability to evaluate theories and analyses presented in class / in the texts, originality in establishing connections among the various thematic areas.

Repeating mechanicallly and mnemonically the contents of the course, logical fallacies in the argumentation, insufficiently mastering the technical terminology will have a negative effect on the evaluation.

It is mandatory to sign up for the exam in Almaesami. If many students sign up, the instructor will communicate a time plan for the oral exams as soon as the lists close.

Teaching tools

The material (syllabus, readings, slides used in class) will be uploaded on the "Virtuale" e-learning platform (https://virtuale.unibo.it/). The e-learning platform will also be used as a general managing tool for the course (i.e. for short-term notices). Students can access the course page on the platform directly with no need for a course password (institutional login will suffice).

Office hours

See the website of Chiara Gianollo