Programme in Linguistics at a glance

Sem. Course No



DC-II L-1 Language and Mind


DC-II L-2 Language and Society


DC-II L-3 Language in Education


DC-II L-4 Language Change


DC-II L-5 Language Analysis-I


DC-II L-6 Language Analysis-II

DC-II: Discipline Course-II


DC-II L-1: Language and Mind

This course deals with the properties of our knowledge of language in relation to the nature of the mind, and vice versa. It discusses various structural properties of language and investigates their acquisition, mental representation, and processing from this perspective. The course not only investigates the perception of linguistic structure by adults and the emergence of complex syntax in normally developing children, but also in children with certain disorders, e.g., Williams Syndrome, and autism. Thus, the course will be concerned with the question of how language influences human perception, cognition and memory.

Unit 1: Introduction to linguistics and cognitive science

  •   Language as a scientific phenomenon
  • Knowledge of language: Generative grammar and compositionality
  • Perception of syntactic structure; the autonomy of syntax.

Unit 2: First and second language acquisition of speech

  •   Critical period
  • Acquisition of syntax. Williams Syndrome
  • Lexical access and meaning
  • The mechanical mind: minds as machines (Turing Machines)

Unit 3: Neurolinguistics

  •   Study of the neural bases of language
  • Language from the perspective of Neurolinguistics

Unit 4: Genetic language disorders

  • Specific language impairment (SLI) and Williams Syndrome
  • Oliver Sacks’ Williams syndrome documentary
  • Language and the brain: Spoken language aphasia; Sign language aphasia.
  • Language and Cognition; Sign Languages

Suggested Readings

1. Hickock, Gregory, Bellugi, Ursulla and Klima, Edward S. 2001. Sign language in the brain. Scientific American 284(6): 58-65.

2. Newport, E.L. 2002. Critical periods in language development. In Nadel, L. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. London: MacMillan, 737-740.

3. O’Grady, William Delaney, Dobrovolsky, Michael, and Katamba, Francis. 1997. Contemporary linguistics. London: Longman.

4. Osherson, Daniel. 1995. The Study of Cognition. In Gleitman, Lila R. and Liberman, Mark (eds.). Language: An invitation to cognitive science. Cambridge, M.A.: MIT Press.

5. Pinker, Steven. 1995. Language Acquisition. In Gleitman, L. R., Liberman, M. and Osherson, D. N. (eds.). An Invitation to Cognitive Science, (second edn.) Volume 1: Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

6. Pinker, Steven. 1994. The language instinct. (Chapters-1, 2, 4-10). New York: Harper Collins.


DC-II L-2: Language and Society

The course focuses on the study of language in social context. It familiarizes with basic notions and concepts relating to social perspectives on language. It includes study of language variation, interrelationship of language and society and plurality of language.The course emphasizes that language use presents choices.

Unit 1: Language, communication, gossip and socialization.

  •  Social origins of language, language and social interaction
  • Cross-cultural, cross-linguistic communication
  • Language use reveals one’s social identity

Unit 2: Linguistic diversity: Language-dialect-register.

  • Standard languages and vernaculars, relationship between language and dialect
  • Language as a speech variety, plurality of language
  • Attitudes towards language and their speakers
  • Descriptivism and prescriptivism
  • Prestige and stigma associated with different ways of speaking

Unit 3: Observing language use

  • Observer’s Paradox
  • Methodology for studying language in social context
  • How speakers use language to construct styles and adapt their language to different audiences and social contexts
  • Influence of other dialects on one’s speech

Unit 4: Language variation

  • Choices in language use
  • Multiple ways of saying the same thing
  • Variation in speech and writing
  • Variation at various levels of grammar

Unit 5: Social differentiation of speech

  •  How language and society affect each other
  • Class, ethnic, and gender differences in speech

Suggested Readings

1. Dunbar, Robin. 1996. Grooming, gossip and evolution of language. London: Faber and Faber.

2. Foley, William A. 1997. Anthropological linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. (Chapter 20: Standard languages and linguistic engineering).

3. Holmes, Janet. 2008 (first edn. 1992). An introduction to sociolinguistics. Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited.

4. Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2006. Introducing sociolinguistics. London: Routledge.

5. Wardaugh, Ronald. 2006 (fifth edn.) An introduction to sociolinguistics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.


DC-II L-3: Language in Education

The primary objective of this course is to introduce students to different aspects and methods of language teaching. The course will enable the students to have a broad view of the discipline and to pursue further studies.

Unit 1: Language and education

  •   Role of language in pre-school years
  •  Language as an autonomous system
  •   Language as a means of structuring knowledge
  •   Language, culture and identity
  •   Language in the school curriculum

Unit 2: Language as a subject

  •   Methods of language teaching and assessment
  •  Grammar translation method
  •   Direct method and audio-lingual approach
  •   Programmed instruction
  •   Communicative approach
  •   Total physical response method
  •   The monitor model

Unit 3: Language as medium of instruction

  •   Home and school languages
  •   Bilingual and bicultural education
  •   Multilingual classroom as a resource
  •   Grammatical analysis and cognitive growth
  •   Language proficiency
  •   Bilingual and cognitive achievement
  •   Multilingualism and empowerment

Unit 4: Syllabus-design

  •   Grammatical syllabus
  •   Situational syllabus
  •   Notional syllabus
  •   Strategies of intervention
  •   Teaching aids
  •  Interaction between theory, method, materials and evaluation techniques

Suggested Readings

1. Allwright, Dick and Hanks, Judith 2009. The developing language learning: An introduction to exploratory practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan

2. Cook, Vivian 2008. Second language learning and language teaching. London: Arnold.

3. Gass, Susan and Selinker, Larry 2008. Second language acquisition: An introductory course. New York: Routledge.

4. Heugh, K. et al. (eds.) 1995. Multilingual education for south Africa. Johannesburg: Heinemann.

5. Hornberger, N.H. (General edn.) 2008. Encyclopedia of language and education. New York: Springer. (Selected articles from the 10 volumes).

6. Lightbown, Patsy M.; Spada, Nina (2006). How languages are learned (third edn.). Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

7. Richards, J. C., Rodgers, T. 1986. Approaches and methods of language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


DC-II L-4: Language Change

This course introduces students to the area of language change, language history and the idea that a great majority of the languages of the world are genetically related.

Unit 1:

  •   Writing and history, evolution of man and language.
  •  What is language change?
  •   How and why do languages change?

Unit 2:

  •   How languages of the world are related?
  •  World language families,
  •  Language families in India,
  •   Language isolates.
  •   Lexical comparison: Indo-European
  • Lexical comparisons of language families in India

Unit 3: Types of language change:

  •   Sound change,
  •  processes of sound change

Unit 4: Outcomes of language change

  •   Language contact and borrowings: Munda words in Sanskrit, European words in Indian languages
  •  Sanskrit words in India languages and semantic shifts, Persian and Arabic words across languages
  •   Non-Indo Aryan words in Indo-Aryan languages
  •   Pidgins and creoles
  •   Language loss

Suggested Readings

1. Arlotto, A. 1972. Introduction to historical linguistics. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

2. Crowley, Terry and Claire, Bowern 2010. An introduction to historical linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

3. Janson, Tore. 2011. The history of languages: An introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


DC-II L-5: Language Analysis-I

This course will introduce the students to the basics of phonological and phono- morphological/morphophonemic analysis. After undertaking this course students will be able to undertake phonological analysis and make appropriate generalizations as well.

Unit 1: Speech sounds

  •   Anatomy of speech production vocal tract
  •  Places and manners of articulation
  •   Sounds and symbols
  •   Perception, description and transcription
  •   Sounds in languages of the world
  •   Sound waves

Unit 2: Sound patterns

  •   Phoneme and allophones
  •  Contrast and complementary distribution, alternation
  •   Syllable – nucleus, onset and coda
  •   Nucleus, onsets and codas as sound segments
  •   Phonological features
  •   Natural class
  •   Levels of representation
  •   Phonological processes

Unit 3: Structure of word

  •   Word as a phonologically recurring form
  •  Word as a syntactic unit with constant semantic value
  •   Morpheme as the smallest recurring phonological unit
  •   Morpheme as a unit with constant meaning
  •   Morphemes and allomorphs
  •   Segmentation of word

Unit 4: Morphological processes

  •   Types of morphological processes
  •  Typology of morphological systems
  •   Inflectional, agglutinating, isolating and isolative

Suggested Readings

1. Ashby, Michael and Maidment, John 2005. Introducing phonetic science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2. Collins, B. and Mees, I.M. 2003. Practical phonetics and phonology: A resource book for students. London: Routledge.

3. Gussenhoven, Carlos and Haike, Jacobs 2011. Understanding phonology. London: Routledge.

4. Halle, Morris and Clements, G.N. 1983. Problem book in phonology: A workbook for introductory courses in linguistics and modern phonology. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

5. Haspelmath, Martin and Sims, Andrea D. 2013. Understanding morphology. London: Routledge.

6. Ladefoged, Peter and Johnson, Keith 2011 (sixth edn.). A course in phonetics. Belmont, California: Wadsworth.

7. Langacker, R. W.1972. Fundamentals of linguistic analysis. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

8. Nida, E.A. 1949. Morphology: The descriptive analysis of words. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

9. Radford, Andrew, Atkinson, Martin, Britain, David, Clahsen, Harald and Spencer, Andrew 1999. Linguistics: An introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


DC-II L-6: Language Analysis-II

This course introduces students to the field of linguistics by examining sentence structure (syntax); emphasis will be placed on methods of linguistic analysis to solve problems in syntax and semantics. In particular, the course will introduce the central concepts of formal syntactic analysis (parts of speech, phrases, structural relations, clauses, etc.) and the methodology of developing and applying such concepts. Further, meaning construction and language use are taken into account in the semantics and pragmatics part of the course.

Unit 1: Architecture of language

  •   Speakers’ knowledge of language
  •  Organisation of grammar
  •   Structure, constituency and word order
  •   Phrase structure of noun phrases, verb phrases, prepositional phrases adjectival phrases,

Unit 2: Principles of syntax

  •   Argument structure: Complements versus adjuncts
  •  Semantic/ thematic roles and case/ karaka
  •   Dependencies within sentences
  •   Structure of simple and complex sentences

Unit 3: Meaning and place of semantics in grammar

  •   The semantic component
  •  Definitions of meaning
  •   The semiotic triangle
  •   Sense and reference
  •   Word meaning and lexical relations

Unit 4: Pragmatics and speech acts

  •   Different sentence types according to language use
  •  Subjunctive as wish-expressing speech act
  •   Speech acts versus truth
  •   Applying speech act to other languages

Suggested Readings

1. Carnie, Andrew. 1999. Sentence structure: A generative introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2. Haegeman, Liliane. 1991. Introduction to Government and Binding theory (second edn.). Blackwell.

3. Kearns, Kate. 2000. Semantics, New York: Macmillan.

4. Poole, Geoffrey. 2002. Syntactic theory. Basingstroke: Palgrave.

5. Saeed, John I. 2002. Semantics: Introducing linguistics. Oxford and Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell.

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