Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

Introduction to Linguistics

 Brief Overview 

Language is central to human activity and life and Linguistics is a study of language and communication as it focuses on structure, use and psychology of language. The course will introduce students to basic concepts in Linguistics such as Morphology, Phonology and Phonetics, Syntax, Semantics etc. The course will also look at the socio-cultural and psychological aspects of language in terms of its acquisition and use.

In the last century, Linguistics formed the basis for development of a variety of theories in the disciplines such as Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Cultural Studies and English Literary Studies. It has been at the basis of theories ranging from structuralism/post structuralism to post-modernism and post-colonialism. The course will equip students with a conceptual map of and vocabulary for advanced and nuanced theoretical arguments from various disciplines.

 Course Objectives 

  • To introduce students to basic concepts in Linguistics such as Morphology, Phonology and Phonetics, Syntax, Semantics etc.
  • To help them understand the importance of Linguistics as a basis for many theoretical positions across disciplines and develop critical skills in understanding nuanced role of language in communication.
  • To introduce students to a multi-disciplinary aspects of studying language by focusing on socio-cultural and psychological dimensions of language learning and acquisition.

 Teaching Methodology 

  • The students will be expected to read the material distributed in the class and critically contribute to the ideas discussed in the class.
  • Classes will be held in the “Discussion mode”, emphasizing practical class activities and focusing on examples from daily life
  • The focus will also be on studying in detail the syntactical structures of language and their meanings.

 Course Outline 

Sr. No Topics Hours
1 Unit 1: Introduction to Linguistics
1. What is Linguistics and why study it?
2. Various branches of Linguistics: Sociolinguistics, Psycholinguistics etc.
3. Language variation: Styles and Dialects, Standard and Non-Standard Language, Formal and Informal Styles, Lingua Francas, Pidgins and Creoles.
4. Language Change: Origins and Evolution of Human Language, The Indo-European Language Family
2 Unit 2: Morphology
1. Words as the Building Blocks of Language
2. Complex Words and Morphemes
3. Neologisms: Study of New Words
4. Inflectional and derivational Morphology
3. Unit 3: Phonetics and Phonology
1. The Importance of Sounds
2. Representation of Speech Sounds
3. Phonology
4. Organization of Speech Sounds
4. Unit 4: Syntax
1. What is syntax?
2. Theories of Syntax
3. Analyzing Language Structures
5. Unit 5: Semantics
1. Language and Meaning
2. Theories of Meaning
3. The Scope Of Semantic Theories
6. Unit 6: Pragmatics
1. Communication and Cognitive Science
2. The Message Model of Linguistic Communication
3. The Inferential Model of Communication
4. Discourse and Conversation
5. Speech Acts
6. Language Acquisition