Historical Linguistics (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Paola Cotticelli
Paola Cotticelli
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The teaching deals with the change, the contact and the variation of language and languages. It offers a key to approaches and understanding the human language in a diachronic perspective, fundamental to complete the skills of the student in linguistics, his preparation for further levels of study, and his abilities and training at the job's world, more and more characterized by meetings of languages and cultures in communication and rapid changes. Expected Results: - High knowledge of the facts and factors of language change and contact, and linguistic variation. - Recognize the aspects and phenomena of linguistic change and describe them in the correct way. - Critically consider the theories and methods of historical linguistics. - Present the results of the study adequately. - autonomously re-elaborate and re-use the skills acquired for further study and / or professional career.


The course aims to give the student the ability of a critical use of the concepts and fundamental methods of historical linguistics, retracing the main stages.
This course therefore offers a method for understanding the complexity of linguistic change in some structures of ancient and modern Indo-European languages, a fundamental knowledge for completeness in the formation of a master's degree in Linguistics.

(1) Lectures dedicated to the subjects of the course, encouraging active participation of the students with questions and discussions.
(2) Papers to be prepared and read during class based on essays that will be selected by the students according to individual interests.
(3) Non-attending students. Non-attending students are encouraged to contact as soon as possible the respective coordinator to help arranging a program that is as consistent as possible with the objectives and ambitions of attending students. The coordinator will also provide the reading and offer help in understanding of the material during the preparation.

At the end of the course the student must be able to:
• recognize the strategies of language change in the Indo-European languages and describe them properly;
• illustrate the fundamentals of the study of linguistic change, the theories that describe the factors and the possible causes in relation to the strategies of change in the diffent levels of analysis in ancient and modern IE languages.

Assessment methods and criteria

For all students (attending or not attending) the assessment of learning outcomes provides:
• The exposition of an in-depth paper on a topic of the class;
• The final oral exam on all subjects, including the papers presented by the colleagues.
Students will have lessons and papers on the e-learning platform.

• check the status of the acquired knowledge of the topics of the course;
• verify the ability to re-elaborate and deepen.

The exam covers all the topics of the program including the papers of the colleagues.

The evaluation is expressed in thirtieths, based on the knowledge, the effectiveness and readiness of the answers, the language property.

For Erasmus students, the coordinator is available to clarify the how to prepare the exam.