Theory of language/Teoría del lenguaje (codi grau UB: 361872, Introducció a la lingüística)


A background course where you will learn the basics of the human faculty of language: Language, iconicity, animal communication, language and the brain, linguistics applications and typology and universals.

We have groups in English (with Joana Rosselló), Spanish (w. Wendy Elvira-García) and Catalan (Faustino Diéguez).


Course contents

1. Linguistics and its domain

  • 1.1. The role of linguistics as science
  • 1.2. Cross-disciplinary nature of linguistics: psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, historical linguistics, computational linguistics
  • 1.3. Applications of linguistics

2. Communication and language

  • 2.1. Language among sign systems
  • 2.2. Animal communication and language
  • 2.3. Specific traits of language
  • 2.4. Natural language: oral languages and sign languages
  • 2.5. Writing

3. Cognitive bases of language

  • 3.1. Language and the brain
  • 3.2. Language disorders
  • 3.3. Language origin and evolution
  • 3.4. Thought and language

4. History of linguistics

  • 4.1. Linguistics until the nineteenth century: the evolution of grammar theory and practice
  • 4.2. Nineteenth-century linguistics: comparative historical method
  • 4.3. Linguistics in the twentieth century

5. Language universals and language classification

  • 5.1. Language unity and diversity
  • 5.2. Descriptive universals vs. theoretical universals
  • 5.3. Universals and typology: a sample for each level (phonetic-phonological, lexical-semantic, morphological, syntactic)



Exercises and exams, check the syllabus of each professor at the beggining of the course.


MA committee reading suggestion:

Yule, G. (2010). The Study of Language. Cambridge University Press. [ENGLISH VERSION] [SPANISH VERSION]