Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


HISTORICAL COMPARATIVE LINGUISTICS
GLOTTOLOGIA

A.Y. Credits
2022/2023 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Chiara Celata By appointment (email)
Teaching in foreign languages
Course with optional materials in a foreign language English French
This course is entirely taught in Italian. Study materials can be provided in the foreign language and the final exam can be taken in the foreign language.

Assigned to the Degree Course

Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures (LM-14 / LM-15)
Curriculum: PERCORSO COMUNE
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

Historical comparative linguistics is part of the modular course "Histortical comparative linguitics/ General Linguistics II" (12 CFU), for which Historical comparative linguistics covers 6 CFU.

The course has the following learning objectves:

- Detailed knowledge of a selected nucleus of linguistic phenomena of ancient and contemporary Indo-European languages.

- Development of analytic skills for linguistic data on multiple levels: (1) on a first level, the learning objective is the development of an ability to apply the comparative method to ancient Indo-European languages (mainly, Latin and Greek) and the reconstruction of the common historical origin, with the purpose of describing the evolution of grammars, similarities and differences among them, and possible and impossible patterns of language changes; (2) on a second level, the learning objective is the development of an understanding of the rules and constraints that govern the empirical analysis of ancient and contemporary Indo-European languages (mainly, Italian, Latin and English) for the explanation of how grammatical categories have emerged. The current module deals in particular with the level in (1).

As a consequence of such a two-level approach, students will finally be able to distinguish as well as to connect synchronic variation and diachronic change and will have acquired the analytical tools that allow puttig forth hypotheses on the former based on the observation of the latter and vice versa. 

Program

The course is developed around two subject areas: (1) Sound change, and (2) Verb and nound categories.

(1) Sound change:

reconstruction of the Indo-European phonological system: sound change laws, velars and labiovelars, Ablaut, laryngeal theory, Indo-European resonants, Indo-European vowel system; sound change in ancient Germanic languages: first and second "Lautverschiebung"; sound change in Latin: rhoticization and the notion of analogy; the origins of comparative grammar; the Neogrammarians' model of sound change; the development of language atlases and linguistic geography, areal norms and the notion of isogloss.

(2) Verb and noun categories:

the Indo-European root; Ablaut; the structure of the Indo-European word; Indo-European nominal inflection (outline), nominal personal endings (outline), grammatical gender in Indo-European; the Indo-European verbal system: primary and secondary endings, thematic and athematic presents, aorists, the Indo-European perfect and reduplication, voice, the Indo-European middle, moods, verbal personal endings (outline).

Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

Knowledge and understanding: Ability to deal with synchronic and diachronic data from ancient and modern, known and unknown languages, and providing an interpretation according to the analytical categories of general and historical linguistics. Knowledge of the major phonological and morphological characteristics of Indo-European languages as a group and their differences. A general understanding of of the fundamental mechanisms that regulate language change and of some of the most relevant theoretical approaches to the study of language change.

Applying knowledge and understanding: Reconstructing anterior linguistic stages and describing cross-linguistic variation in grammars. Ability to connect synchronically observable variation to attested or hypothesized diachronic changes. Ability to put forth hypotheses about language evolution starting from the observation of social variation.

Making judgments: Ability to reflect in a critical and independet way on linguistic phenomena from ancient and modern languages; ability to identify the grammatical categories that are relevant to the explanation of a given linguistic phenomenon; recognizing the social and extra-linguistic dimensions that impact on the diffusion of potential language changes.

Communication: Mastery of the expressive means of language sciences for the understanding of specialized linguistics texts and for the elaboration of short argumentative essays on topics dealt with in the classes.

Lifelong learning skills: Acquisition of technical disciplinary information and capacities of formal reasoning that allow (i) the development of advanced analytical skills in the domain of the history and intepretation of literary and linguistic  heritage (ancient as well as contemporary texts, written as well as oral), (ii) the acquisition of transversal skills that are necessary to the identification and managing of the many faces of human difference (e.g. linguistic, social, cultural). 

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

Invited lectures on "Languages in ancient Italy" (dates to be decided). Invited lecture by Prof. V. Retaro (Università di Salerno) on the geolinguistics of the Mediterranean sea.

In addition, optional evaluation activities will be carried out during the course, that will allow students to evaluate the degree of their preparation and the effectiveness of their method of study, in relation to the program carried out up to that point. These are self-evaluation tests; they will not be awarded any score by the teacher and their outcome will have no impact on the final evaluation.


Teaching, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment

Teaching

Lectures; classroom exercises. 

Innovative teaching methods

Given the technicality of many of the topics covered by the course, the lessons will be structured in such a way that the systematic treatment of the various concepts will always be preceded by a phase of individual and group reflection on concrete examples taken from various languages, not necessarily known by the students (Latin, Greek, Italian, Sanskrit, Germanic languages, etc.). For the same reason, collective exercises may be performed during the lessons; in addition to simulating the final exam, they will mainly have the purpose of bringing out any doubts and problematic aspects that would require further explanation. Face-to-face teaching modality will therefore be enriched with group exercises and individual and group analyses on real data, carried out using the Moodle platform. If the general conditions allow it, some topics of the course will be treated according to the “flipped lesson” practice.

Attendance

No special obligations. A detailed knowledge of the grammar of contemporary Italian as well as of Latin is required.

Course books

The following texts are to be considered as further instrument of individual reflection and systematization of notions and problems that are dealt with during the classes. Therefore, non-attending students are particularly recommeded to rely on those texts. However, the texts do NOT replace the study of the specific topics that are covered during the classes and should therefore be integrated by the supplementary materials that are provided through the Moodle platform - the latter materials being essential for the preparation of the final exam.

For subject area (1): Fortson B.W., Indo-European Language and Culture, Second Edition: Chapter 3; sections 3.10-3.11, 3.22 - 3.25, 3.28 - 3.29, 3.38 - 3.40, 3.42 and 3.43 are excluded - copies provided -

For subject area (2): Fortson B.W., Indo-European Language and Culture, Second Edition: Chapter 4 with the exclusion of 4.3, 4.6-4.7, 4.9-4.11, 4.17, 4.19; Chapter 5 with the exclusion of 5.10, 5.14-5.18, 5.23-5.24, 5.26-5.27, 5.31-5.35, 5.37-5.42, 5.48-5.50, 5.54-5.55  - copies provided - 

Luraghi S. & Olita A. (a cura di) (2006) Linguaggio e genere, Carocci: pages 15-27, 54-65, 89-93, 95-97 (§5.1.4).

(Optional) For a general introduction to historical linguistics: F. Fanciullo, Introduzione alla linguistica storica, Il Mulino, or S. Luraghi, Introduzione alla linguistica storica, Carocci.  Warning: the volume includes contents that are not dealt with during the course, nor are they required for the final exam.

Those who need support in understanding basic concepts of linguistics may refer to the following handbook:  Basile / Casadei / Lorenzetti / Schirru / Thornton, Linguistica generale, Carocci. 

Assessment

For the course "Historical comparative linguistics / General linguistics II", a written test lasting about 1 hour (open and closed questions on the topics of the program) is planned. This test includes both structured tests (to assess declarative knowledge and the general understanding of concepts) and semi-structured and unstructured tests (open procedural tasks) to assess the ability to reproduce the procedures of linguistic analysis proposed in the classroom. Semi- and non-structured tests also allow verifying the students' ability at coordinating different notions and analytical skills that are necessary to solve simple problems from unseen linguistic data. The learning outcomes will then be measured by attributing an overall judgment that takes into account not only the mastery of the topics covered and the ability to recall or recognize them, but also the ability to apply the procedures and elaborate ideas and original solutions in relation to real linguistic phenomena. If requested by the student, a short oral interview will also be possible, aimed at looking through the results of the written test, commenting on eventual errors, motivating the choices that were made, completing missing parts etc.

The final score, out of thirty, takes into account all the aspects above. Tests in which the students will show - in addition to basic declarative knowledge and a general understanding of concepts - the ability to apply the correct methodology to the analysis of new lingusitic data and the capacity of solving general linguistic problems will obtain an evaluation of excellence. Tests in which the students will only show basic declarative knowledge and a general understanding of concepts will obtain a pass mark.

Disabilità e DSA

Le studentesse e gli studenti che hanno registrato la certificazione di disabilità o la certificazione di DSA presso l'Ufficio Inclusione e diritto allo studio, possono chiedere di utilizzare le mappe concettuali (per parole chiave) durante la prova di esame.

A tal fine, è necessario inviare le mappe, due settimane prima dell’appello di esame, alla o al docente del corso, che ne verificherà la coerenza con le indicazioni delle linee guida di ateneo e potrà chiederne la modifica.

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students

Teaching

Individual study, based on both the supplementary materials provided by the teacher through the Moodle platform and the course books listed below.

Attendance

No special obligations. A detailed knowledge of the grammar of contemporary Italian as well as of Latin is required.

Course books

The following texts are to be considered as an important instrument for the systematization of the notions and the problems that are dealt with in the course. Therefore, non-attending students are particularly recommeded to rely on those texts. However, the texts do NOT replace the study of the specific topics that are covered during the classes and should therefore be integrated by the supplementary materials that are provided through the Moodle platform - the latter materials being essential for the preparation of the final exam.

For subject area (1): Fortson B.W., Indo-European Language and Culture, Second Edition: Chapter 3; sections 3.10-3.11, 3.22 - 3.25, 3.28 - 3.29, 3.38 - 3.40, 3.42 and 3.43 are excluded - copies provided-

For subject area (2): Fortson B.W., Indo-European Language and Culture, Second Edition: Chapter 4 fwith the exclusion of 4.3, 4.6-4.7, 4.9-4.11, 4.17, 4.19; Chapter 5 with the exclusion of 5.10, 5.14-5.18, 5.23-5.24, 5.26-5.27, 5.31-5.35, 5.37-5.42, 5.48-5.50, 5.54-5.55  - copies provided - 

Luraghi S. & Olita A. (a cura di) (2006) LInguaggio e genere, Carocci: pages 15-27, 54-65, 89-93, 95-97 (§5.1.4).

(Optional) For a general introduction to historical linguistics: F. Fanciullo, Introduzione alla linguistica storica, Il Mulino, or S. Luraghi, Introduzione alla linguistica storica, Carocci.  Warning: the volume includes contents that are not dealt with during the course, nor are they required for the final exam.

Those who need support in understanding basic concepts of linguistics may refer to the following handbook:  Basile / Casadei / Lorenzetti / Schirru / Thornton, Linguistica generale, Carocci. 

Assessment

For the course "Historical comparative linguistics / General linguistics II", a written test lasting about 1 hour (open and closed questions on the topics of the program) is planned. This test includes both structured tests (to assess declarative knowledge and the general understanding of concepts) and semi-structured and unstructured tests (open procedural tasks) to assess the ability to reproduce the procedures of linguistic analysis proposed in the classroom. Semi- and non-structured tests also allow verifying the students' ability at coordinating different notions and analytical skills that are necessary to solve simple problems from unseen linguistic data. The learning outcomes will then be measured by attributing an overall judgment that takes into account not only the mastery of the topics covered and the ability to recall or recognize them, but also the ability to apply the procedures and elaborate ideas and original solutions in relation to real linguistic phenomena. If requested by the student, a short oral interview will also be possible, aimed at looking through the results of the written test, commenting on eventual errors, motivating the choices that were made, completing missing parts etc.

The final score, out of thirty, takes into account all the aspects above. Tests in which the students will show - in addition to basic declarative knowledge and a general understanding of concepts - the ability to apply the correct methodology to the analysis of new lingusitic data and the capacity of solving general linguistic problems will obtain an evaluation of excellence. Tests in which the students will only show basic declarative knowledge and a general understanding of concepts will obtain a pass mark.

Disabilità e DSA

Le studentesse e gli studenti che hanno registrato la certificazione di disabilità o la certificazione di DSA presso l'Ufficio Inclusione e diritto allo studio, possono chiedere di utilizzare le mappe concettuali (per parole chiave) durante la prova di esame.

A tal fine, è necessario inviare le mappe, due settimane prima dell’appello di esame, alla o al docente del corso, che ne verificherà la coerenza con le indicazioni delle linee guida di ateneo e potrà chiederne la modifica.

Notes

Please contact the teacher if this is your very first course in linguistics (L-LIN/01) or if you intend to take the course as a single learning activity.

The course will take place in person in agreement with the University guidelines. Attendance and active participation in the classroom are highly recommended. The Moodle platform remains essential for accessing the course materials and receiving potential updates; exam simulations and other forms of self-evaluation will also be available on the platform.

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