Introduction to Linguistics LT (i) (2017/2018)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Paola Cotticelli, Chiara Melloni
Paola Cotticelli
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
First half of Semester 1 , Second half of Semester 1

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

Preparatory classes in September whose attendance is mandatory.

Practical classes will be held during the lesson period beginning from the second week October .

The course attendance is higly racommended.

The goal of this course is to have the student acquainted with some basic notions concerning several aspects of human language. The course aims to provide the epistemic and methodological basis for general linguistics and historical linguistics. To reach this goal, some of the key concepts of modern language science will be illustrated, such as the distinction between language and languages ​​and the articulation in analytical levels, and describe the main phonological, morphosyntactic and semantic phenomena in the perspective of synchronic analysis and with reference to both Italian and other languages ​​typologically and genealogically distant from one another. The main phenomena of change and linguistic contact in the diachronic key will also be discussed.
At the end of the course the student will be able to analyze the system of the sounds of the Italian language, transcribe phrases in IPA, analyze the structure and meaning of the words, phrases and sentences of his own language. THe student will also recognize the main phenomena of linguistic change articulated at different levels of analysis (phonetic, morphological, lexical and semantic, syntactic), to identify cases of linguistic contact at the lexical and syntactic level, the typological and genealogical classification of languages, that of Italian dialects , and phenomena in synchronic variation.


Introduction to general and historical linguistics. 1) General linguistics (prof.ssa Melloni): the essential features of human language; basic notions of phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. 2) Historical linguistics (prof. Cotticelli): notions of linguistic change, language relationship and language family, analogy, Indo-European languages and the language families of the world; models of language classification; models for the interpretation of linguistic change (Neogrammarian, geolinguistic, sociolinguistic), speech contact.

1) G. Graffi - S. Scalise, Le lingue e il linguaggio. Introduzione alla linguistica, nuova edizione, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2013 (capitoli 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 e l’Appendice).
Esercizi relativi a tutti i capitoli del volume, ed in particolare esercizi di trascrizione fonetica (il cui svolgimento verrà richiesto in sede di esame), sono disponibili sul sito della casa editrice “Il Mulino” (, registrandosi nell’area denominata “Aulaweb”.
2) G. Graffi - S. Scalise, Le lingue e il linguaggio. Introduzione alla linguistica, nuova edizione, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2013 (capitoli 3, 9, 10).
R. Lazzeroni, “Il mutamento linguistico”, in R. Lazzeroni (a cura di) Linguistica storica, 16^ ristampa 2011, Carocci, 14-54.
R. Gusmani, “Interlinguistica”, in R. Lazzeroni (a cura di) Linguistica storica, 16^ ristampa 2011, Carocci, 87-114.
3) Opera di consultazione:
Lessico di Linguistica, a cura di Paola Cotticelli Kurras, Edizioni dell’Orso, Alessandria 2007.

With regard to attending students:
1. Teaching methods consist of lectures in attendance devoted to the transmission of basic notions, key categories and key application tools.
2. The course also provides an INTRODUCTIVE MODULE useful for transmitting the basic vocabulary and grammar knowledge. These lessons will be held from 18 to 22 September according to the calendar published on the alerts.
3. Additionally, the TUTORIALS that will be held by a colleague on Monday for a total of 18 hours, based on a calendar that will be defined during the course of the theoretical lessons. The exercises are useful for the implementation of theoretical knowledge and include performing and correcting the classroom exercises that will be the subject of the final written test.
4. In addition, thanks to the University's e-learning platform, all the audio-visual materials used in the lesson are available as well as slides or materials with numerous empirical data, which are an integral part of the study material for passing the final exam. The e-learning platform involves the implementation of self-assessment tests that will be delivered during the course.
Throughout the academic year, there is also an individual office hour service handled by the course teachers at times shown on the web pages and constantly updated.

Attending students will receive at the first lesson the entire calendar of teaching activities with the dates and topics covered in the lessons provided by the time, the classroom and the indication of the possible suspension for academic reasons of the teacher.

With regard to non-attending students, the teaching methods consist of a teachers' support to an up-to-date handbook study. Any further updates will be made available to the student in good time even by specially crafted alerts.
The contents of the handbooks as well as lessons and exercises held in the classroom are part of the program.
Further teaching material is available on the e-learning platform of the teaching.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Graffi, Giorgio; Scalise, Sergio Le lingue e il linguaggio. Introduzione alla linguistica (Edizione 3) Il Mulino, Bologna 2013 9788815241795
P. Cotticelli Kurras (a cura di) Lessico di Linguistica. Fondato da H. Bußmann. Traduzione italiana, adattamento e revisione sulla base della 3^ edizione originale, rivista e ampliata a cura di P. Cotticelli Kurras. Edizioni dell´Orso 2007 88-7694-959-3
R. Lazzeroni Linguistica storica Carocci 2011

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination, preceded by a written test, consisting of a short phonetic transcription, a multiple choice test and open-ended questions about all the arguments of the course. The positive overcoming of the written exam gives admission to the oral exam.

Important notice: to pass the written exam, it is necessary to show the knowledge of basic grammatical notions (e.g., to be able to recognize the ‘subject’, the ‘predicate’, the ‘object’, etc., of a clause, to distinguish among the several kinds of subordinate clauses, to correctly classify the different parts of speech, etc.). Such notions are available within any good school grammar. Furthermore, some ad hoc exercises will be held during dedicated classes, and essential bibliographical references will be suggested to non-attending students.