WiSe 12/13: Ü-Introduction to Linguistics - Basic Questions, Concepts and Methods
Language is arguably the most fascinating characteristic of human kind, since it is our essential means to relate to each other as social beings. As such, it is an expression of ... read more
Language is arguably the most fascinating characteristic of human kind, since it is our essential means to relate to each other as social beings. As such, it is an expression of how we perceive, construct, and interact with our environment, and its use comprises a range of cognitive involvement from spontaneous, almost unconscious choice of words to planned and well-reflected discourse. In this introductory class, we will take the example of the English language as one of the most extensively researched languages of the world to describe the nature of language in its structure, conceptual quality, and socio-communicative function. In detail, the class will commence with the basic design features of human language and the history of English. We will investigate the sound system of English, basic meaningful units of meaning, take a look at how morphemes, words and phrases are combined, and discuss general theories trying to account for the meaning of words and utterances. Beyond these core concerns of (English) linguistics, we will introduce communicative and functional principles of language as well as catch a glimpse of key concepts of sociolinguistics.
The class will be held as an interactive lecture, leaving space for discussions and in-class tasks. Materials will be distributed throughout the semester and a list of relevant literature will be handed out at the beginning of the class.