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Modules

Modules

SEL1028 : Building blocks of language

Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

To introduce the concepts and categories of linguistic morphology, while further developing students’ knowledge of language sounds and systems, and of English sentence structure. The module will introduce the linguistic terminology used in the subfields of morphology, syntax and phonology, and will help the student to develop knowledge of the morphological and morphophonological variation shown by the world’s languages.

The module will also help to develop students’ abilities to undertake morphological, syntactic and phonological analysis and argumentation.

In developing students' understanding of the applications of morphology, syntax and phonology in linguistic problem-solving, the module will provide a practical, analytical, and theoretical foundation for more advanced modules handling syntax, phonology and morphology.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module builds on the linguistic foundations laid down in the first semester module SEL1027, extending the knowledge and further developing the analytical tools acquired there. Throughout the module, teaching will explicitly address both the theory and the practice of linguistics, and will include applications of theoretical concepts to real-world data.

Three primary areas of human linguistic competence are investigated: morphology, syntax and phonology. Morphology (word formation) concerns the internal structure of words, including the ways in which new words are formed, and its study forms an interface between the core areas of syntax and phonology. This module explains and illustrates the basic concepts and distinctions used in morphology, such as inflectional and derivational processes, allomorphic variation and what conditions it, morphological typology and variation in the languages of the world, and the relationship between morphological processes and both syntax and phonology. Hands-on morphological analysis of data from English and from numerous other languages forms a central part of the module content. We also examine the historical processes leading to morphological change.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion142:0042:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading194:0094:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice142:0028:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures deliver the basic concepts and principles involved in the study of linguistic morphology, syntax and phonology, including their applications (for instance in understanding the English spelling system; in child language development; and in the historical development of languages). All lectures deliver both analytical and practical tools for understanding language, its structure and its development. Small group seminars require the student to read ahead of the session and to undertake linguistic analysis of problem sets. These skills are also practised in advance of the seminar when data are examined and arguments are marshalled. The directed reading elements require the student to read the textbooks carefully and to consider questions arising from the reading.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises2M20Problem-solving in English sentence structure and language sounds & systems, including their acquisition and applications.
Prob solv exercises2A80Practical problem-solving in the morphological structure and analysis of English and other languages.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises2MFormative assignment giving the opportunity to practise problem-solving.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment in both assignments focuses on the student's ability to handle complex data sets and to argue for specific solutions to problems relating to language structure, including problems of an analytical and practical nature. The assessments also test the student's ability to write clearly, concisely and unambiguously in English of an appropriate style.

Reading Lists

Timetable