General Linguistics (p) (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Chiara Melloni
Chiara Melloni
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem 1A dal Sep 23, 2019 al Oct 31, 2019.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims to introduce the students to the fascinating domain of first language acquisition, exploring both typical and atypical development, with particular reference to specific language impairment and developmental dyslexia. The course also aims to provide the students with some fundamental knowledge concerning bilingualism, with classes dedicated to the presentation of the cognitive and linguistic profile of children who learn the second language at an early age or from birth.
After completion of the course, the students:
- will know the main stages of the language acquisition process, in typical and atypical development and in the bilingual context;
- will be able to apply the tools of linguistic analysis to recognize and describe the main phenomena that characterize language acquisition at different levels of analysis (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and vocabulary);
- will be able to develop critical judgments regarding the interpretations that have been provided in the various theoretical frameworks with respect to the mechanisms of language acquisition.


The course deals with the phenomenon of language acquisition by monolingual and bilingual children, with typical and atypical development.
Specific aspects of language acquisition will therefore be investigated with particular attention to:

- phonological phenomena: ability to discriminate between different languages and different phonemes;
- lexical phenomena: vocabulary learning skills, with particular reference to nouns and verbs;
- morphosyntactic phenomena: understanding and production of syntactic structures of different orders of complexity.

The developmental path will be investigated starting from the first steps in the perception of linguistic sounds by the newborn, up to the development of morphosyntactic skills of preschoolers.
Specific attention will be given to some key elements of atypical development, with a presentation of the linguistic profile of the subjects affected by Specific Language Impairment and Developmental Dyslexia. A final module (3 classes) will focus on the domain of bilingual acquisition and on the linguistic and cognitive profile of early bilingual children.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Guasti, M.T. L'acquisizione del linguaggio. Un'introduzione Raffaello Cortina Editore 2007 978-88-6030-095-9

Assessment methods and criteria

*** ATTENTION: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and in accordance with the University of Verona guidelines, during ​the 2020 summer session the assessment modality will be modified as follows: ONLINE ORAL EXAMINATION (preferably via Zoom). However, the student is asked to keep pen and paper handy. ***

The final exam aims at assessing the theoretical knowledge acquired by the students during the course, as well as their ability to apply this knowledge to concrete linguistic phenomena.

The assessment is carried out by means of a written examination, which last 1:15 hours.

The tests consist of both open-ended and multiple-choice questions and concern all the topics in the program, both those addressed during classes and those autonomously studied by the students.

The evaluation criteria are:
- substantial correctness of the responses and exhaustiveness of the contents
- adequateness of analytical skills
- expressive clarity and argumentative skills