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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Language Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Linguistic Reconstruction and Language Classification (LASC10052)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryCourses on language change tend to focus on developments from earlier stages of a language to more recent ones; theoretical approaches to such changes; and possible explanations of them. This module is involved with a different perspective on historical linguistics, and concentrates on comparing modern or earlier attested languages to assess whether they belong to the same family, and on the possibilities for reconstructing aspects of their unattested, ancestral proto-languages. This is a particularly lively and controversial area of linguistics at present: methodologies and key theoretical assumptions are under revision, and the implications of historical linguistic work for other disciplines are being debated widely in the scientific press. Although we shall concentrate principally on Indo-European linguistic reconstruction, we shall also consider problems of the comparative method in connection with Australian aboriginal languages; the Greenberg-Ruhlen groupings in the Americas determined by the method of mass comparison; and the application of novel quantitative methods of comparison to the languages of the Andes. There will also be scope for investigating the relationship of historical linguistic methods and evidence with those from other historical disciplines, including archaeology and population biology.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: English Language 2 (LASC08002) OR ( Linguistics 2A (LASC08006) AND Linguistics 2B (LASC08013)) OR ( Linguistics 2A (LASC08006) AND Linguistics 2Lh: Structure and History of the Western European Languages (LASC08007))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Linguistics/Language Sciences courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students should have:
- A firm foundation in the methodology and argumentation associated with the study of comparative linguistics and language classification
- The ability to analyse historical linguistic data from the perspective of language family affiliation
- A clear knowledge of methods, data and current controversies in current research
- An understanding of the prospects for and limitations on interdisciplinary research involving comparative linguistics.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Room Locations:
Wednesdays - Faculty Room South, David Hume Tower
Fridays - Lecture Theatre 3, 7 Bristo Square

17th January - Lecture Theatre 1, 7 Bristo Square
24th, 31st January. 7th, 14th, 28th February. 7th, 14th March - F21, 7 George Square
21st, 28th March - Sydney Smith Lecture Theatre*
4th April - F21, 7 George Square.

*The Sydney Smith Lecture Theatre is located on the second floor of the Medical School in Teviot Place - enter by doorway 1 from the Quadrangle
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Ronnie Cann
Tel: (0131 6)51 1839
Course secretaryMs Stephanie Fong
Tel: (0131 6)50 3628
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