This module provides a general introduction on a descriptive level to the
main design features of human language. It complements modules in other
departments on language and/or literature, sociolinguistics and
computational linguistics. It makes students aware of basic concepts of
descriptive analysis which are relevant to more advanced and specialized
modules at levels 2 and 3.
Aims of the module
To promote an understanding of linguistic structure on a descriptive level.
To promote an understanding of the methods and principles of descriptive linguistic analysis.
To provide opportunities to practice and develop analytic skills.
To encourage the application of all of the above in debates on language issues in general but especially in Education.
Lectures are based on the following topics:
Language and knowledge of language
Accents and their sounds
Over the segments
Words and their classes
Combining words: phrases, sentences and linguistic creativity
Words and their meanings
Meaning and the wider context of language
Variation in linguistic structure
Human language and animal communication
Tutorials provide students with the opportunity to apply the principles and methods which are introduced in the lectures:
to additional data,
to issues relating to language, especially in Education.
At the end of this module, students should:
have developed an introductory understanding of linguistic structure on a descriptive level;
have become aware of the principles and methods of descriptive linguistics;
be able to apply all of the above to debates on language issues, especially in Education.
Lyons, John. (1981)
Language and Linguistics. Cambridge: CUP
Martin Atkinson et al. (1988)
Foundations Of General Linguistics. 2. Allen & Unwin
O'Grady, William , Michael Dobrovolsky, and Francis Katamba (editors). (1997)
Contemporary Linguistics: an introduction. London; New York: Longman
Trask, R.L.. (1995)
Language: the basics,. London: Routledge
Yule, George. (1996)
The Study of Language. 2nd. Cambridge: CUP