Historical Linguistics (2016/2017)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Paola Cotticelli, Alfredo Rizza
Paola Cotticelli
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. IIA, Sem. IIB

Lesson timetable

Sem. IIA
Day Time Type Place Note
Wednesday 4:50 PM - 6:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall 1.3  
Thursday 11:50 AM - 1:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall Auletta Prof. Daneloni from Mar 2, 2017  to Mar 30, 2017
Thursday 1:30 PM - 3:10 PM lesson Lecture Hall 1.2  
Sem. IIB
Day Time Type Place Note
Wednesday 10:10 AM - 11:50 AM lesson Lecture Hall 1.5  
Thursday 8:30 AM - 10:10 AM lesson Lecture Hall 1.3  

Learning outcomes

History and typology of sound change and the basic concepts of phonology. Particular attention will be given to theoretical frameworks studying the phonetic change im XXI Century.


1. part
Prof. Cotticelli (9 ore)
Introduction to the field of historical phonology. It starts with empirical observations on sound change in
natural languages conducted during the 19th c. and discusses the theoretical generalisations reached by the so-called ‘Neogrammarian’ school in historical linguistics.

2. part
Prof. Hill (27 ore)

After discussing the ‘Neogrammarians’ and their early opponents (such as the later
influential position taken by Hugo Schuchardt) the course will proceed with theoretical frameworks developed during the late 20th and early 21st c. In particular, such traditions as the Generative Historical Phonology, the Lexical Diffusion Theory, the Preference Theory, the Optimality Theory, the Evolutionary Phonology, the Language Contact Phonology as well as their minor outlets (such as the Prosodic Change
Hypothesis) will be in detail addressed.

3. part (18 ore)
It will discuss some aspects of the concept of syllable, and of autosegmental and prosodic phonology based on the syllable in a diachronic perspective.

1. Blevins, Juliette. 2004. Evolutionary Phonology. The Emergence of
Sound Patterns. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2. Brian D., Joseph & Richard D. Janda (eds.). 2003. The Handbook of
Historical Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.
3. Hale, Mark & Charles Reiss. 2008. The Phonological Enterprise.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
4. Hill, Nathan. 2014. Grammatically conditioned sound change.
Language and Linguistics Compass 8. 211–229.
5. Salmons, Joseph & Patrick Honeybone (eds.). 2015. The Oxford
Handbook of Historical Phonology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
6. Schrijver, Peter. 2014. Language Contact and the Origins of the
Germanic Languages. New York – London: Routledge.
7. Vennemann, Theo & Terence Wilbur (eds.) 1972. Schuchardt, the
Neogrammarians, and the Transformational Theory of Phonological
Change. Frankfurt: Athenäum.
8. Vennemann, Theo. 1988. Preference Laws for Syllable Structure and
the Explanation of Sound Change. With Special Reference to German,
Germanic, Italian, and Latin. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
9. Yu, Alan C.L. (ed.). 2013. Origins of Sound Change. Approaches to
Phonologization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
10. Sen, Ranjan, 2015. Syllable and segment in Latin, Oxford studies in diachronic and Historical linguistics 16. Oxford University Press.

For further information see the plattform elearning

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam at the end of the course and presentation of a paper during the course; for working students a written assignment on a topic chosen with the help of the lecturer.