SEL8033 : Evolutionary Linguistics (Inactive)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To examine recent theories of language origins and evolution from a linguistic perspective; to examine work on the physical evidence concerning the origins of language, especially from a linguistic perspective; to consider additional evidence from a biological, neurological, archaeological and palaeontological perspective.

Outline Of Syllabus

Three major themes are followed:
1. Human evolution and phylogeny
2. Prerequisites for language and issues of continuity with the communication systems of other species
3. Protolanguage and the evolution of syntax

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:0070:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity120:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study164:0064:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SEL3005Language Origins and Evolution
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce the relevant points of evolutionary biology as it pertains to language evolution, outline the main concepts and topics in evolutionary linguistics, give definitions and explanations, and discuss the primary hypotheses found in the evolutionary linguistics literature.

Seminars are intended as a forum to show that the student has read and digested primary literature, and can demonstrate the logic of the argumentation found in the readings for each class. Presentations from class members will be expected. Assignments will also be discussed in seminars.

Workshop teaches essay-writing skills.

Independent study is required for reading and writing the assessment.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A100One submitted essay of 4000 words in typescript, title to be agreed between student and instructor on an individual basis.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written assignment allows assessment of a student’s in depth understanding of the concepts and issues covered, their grasp of the major hypotheses in the field, and their ability to argue cogently and concisely, including their ability to use correctly the technical terminology required in an evolutionary science. Advanced, logical argumentation skills will be expected and assessed.

Reading Lists