Levels of linguistic analysis (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Alfredo Rizza, Stella Merlin
Alfredo Rizza
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem 1A dal Sep 23, 2019 al Oct 31, 2019.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

- Learn methods and theories of Linguistics according to the different levels of analysis (phonology, morphology, syntax, information structure). - Recognize and describe in an appropriate and uniform way the main structural phenomena occurring in languages at different levels of analysis. - Acquire experience to develop a critical attitude towards methods and theoretical frameworks for the study of language. - Present the results of the work with the appropriate terminology and according to recognized standards. - Increase the ability to learn theories and technical terminology in further studies.


- Introduction to the basic concepts for linguistic analysis: definitions and classifications.
- Phonology: phonology as a discipline and as a system of "knowledge"; phonetic bases: the segmental nature and the constitution features of phone/phonemes; general characteristics of suprasegmental features
- Morphology: the morpheme as unit of analysis, word formation, parts of speech, elements of morphophonology
- Morphosyntax: grammatical categories, lexical and syntactic properties of the verb
- Description of linguistic phenomena: introduction to the glossing standard (Leipzig Glossing Rules)
- Syntax: phrase, sentence, structure; verbal valency, verbal valency and sentence, sentence types, the complex sentence; sentence inflectional categories.
- Text: textual referents, text cohesion and coherence, anaphora, deixis, informational structure.
- Change and variation: introduction to the study of diachronic change, sociolinguistic variation, language contact and interference.
During the course, individual and group exercises and moments of exchange of experiences and studies will be proposed

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Rowe, B.M. – Levine, D.P. A Concise Introduction to Linguistics (Edizione 4) Routledge 2016
Baldi, B. – Savoia, L.M. Linguaggio & Comunicazione. Introduzione alla linguistica Zanichelli 2017
Merlin, S. / Rizza, A. Papers, slides, and other materials available in the e-learning course (moodle) 2018

Assessment methods and criteria

The preparation of the students will be verified partially during the course, in aula or on the Moodle platform, through tests and/or papers (in written form). A final interview on the whole teaching program will follow in the dates of the exam.
The professors will evaluate the level of the acquired knowledge of the fundamental methods and theories of linguistics and the ability to recognize and describe the structural phenomena of languages in an appropriate and uniform way according to the topics treated during the course. Critical thinking and communicative skills (mostly the use of the technical terminology) are also considered for evaluation.
A part form the ongoing tests and papers, in the final colloquim, knowledge will be tested with questions about specific concepts and topics. The ability to apply the acquired knoewledge (i.e. recognize and describe the structural phenomena of languages in an appropriate and uniform way) will be tested through brief exercises containing described example taken from different languages.

We refer to two basic handbooks, one in Italian and one in English. You can choose one or the other.
Once chosen, the minimum required parts are:

Rowe, B.M. - Levine, D.P. A Concise Introduction to Linguistics. Routledge. 2016⁴
1. Chap. 1. Introduction: the Nature of Communication.
2. Chap. 2. The Phonological Component: Phonetics.
3. Chap. 3.The Phonological Component: Phonology.
4. Chap. 4. The Morphological Component.
5. Chap. 5. Syntax.
6. Chap. 12. Historical Linguistics.
7. Chap. 7. Sociolingusitics and LInguistics Anthropology.

If you are able to read Italian and want to venture in the reading of a handbook in Italian
please use this: Baldi, B. - Savoia, L.M. Language & Communication. Introduction to linguistics. Zanichelli. 2017.
Minimal required parts are:

1. Cap. 2. La distribuzione delle lingue e le loro relazioni.
2. Cap. 3. L’origine del linguaggio e la sua natura.
3. Cap. 6. I suoni linguistici.
4. Cap. 7. Parole e frasi: la morfosintassi.
5. Cap. 8. L’analisi della variazione linguistica.

In addition to the handbook further bibliography will be announced during class.
We recommend the formation of study groups in which Italian students and international students can exchange information taken from different sources, for example Italians from Baldi-Savoia and internationals from Rowe-Levine or from another general linguistics handbook in their language.

The exam will be in English.
Ongoing tests and papers will be mainly evaluated with a binary parameter "sufficiently competent" / "not yet competent". Negative tests or papers could be repeated. The final colloquium will be graded in thirties (minum 18/30, maximum 30/30).