General linguistics (i) (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Denis Delfitto
Denis Delfitto
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 1A, Sem. 1B

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

This course aims at providing a first introduction to linguistics as a cognitive science, by presenting and exploring the various converging perspectives that conspire to constitute a science of language: language as an historical and cultural entity, as a communication system and as a computational system involving the interaction of a series of distinct cognitive modules.
At the end of the course, the participant should be able to find her way in the rich tradition of studies on natural language, and capable of reading in autonomy some of the canonical literature. In a nutshell, the objective is introducing the students of the course of study in Communication Sciences to the scientific discourse around human language.


This course provides an introduction to the study of natural language, conceived as a system of communication and as a cognitive system.
More particularly, the course involves a presentation of the core concepts for an analysis of the physical properties and of the mental representations associated with linguistic sounds (phonetics and phonology), of the rules of word-formation (morphology), of the derivation and representation of phrase and sentence structure (syntax), of sentence meaning in isolation and in context (semantics and discourse theory), and of language use (pragmatics).
Some of the core properties of human language will be discussed from a broad cognitive and semiotic perspective, by devoting a specific attention to the relationship between language and the other cognitive systems.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Graffi, Giorgio; Scalise, Sergio Le lingue e il linguaggio. Introduzione alla linguistica Il Mulino, Bologna 2013 9788815241795

Assessment methods and criteria

Written exam at the end of the course.
The exam will consist in about ten questions (almost all of them open questions), which are aimed at checking the knowledge and competences acquired by the participants, as well as his skills of synthesis and of independent judgment in the application of some of these competences.