General Linguistics

Instructor:Liubov Ponidelko
Author:Julia Bogatikova
Updated:3 February, 2016

Course Summary

The aim of the course is to familiarize students with the place and role of linguistics in the system of contemporary humanities and the history of linguistics development. The course builds skills in the fundamentals of general linguistics and its history for the students to apply the obtained knowledge in their professional international communication and research practice. The objectives of the course are to systematize and further develop the students’ knowledge in the field of general linguistics, its history, branches and terminology; to form the scientific comprehension of the role and functions of language in the society; to develop the theoretical background and awareness of linguistic competences for further research and professional activities.

Course Format

Hours of lectureHours of discussionHours of independent studyTotal numbers of hours

Please note that the time spent on independent study exceeds hours of lecture and discussion.

Course Content

The course will cover the following topics:

  1. Position of linguistics in the system of human studies. (3 hours)
    • Linguistics in the system of related human studies and sciences.
    • Definition of language and its functions.
  2. Key historical stages of language studies. (7 hours)
    • Language studies in the Ancient World and Middle Ages. World traditional schools of linguistics.
    • Logical and universal grammar and formation of historical approach to national grammar descriptions. Historical, comparative and linguistic typology.
    • F. de Saussure and contemporary linguistic paradigm (20th-21st centuries).
  3. Linguistic system and structure model: levels and units. (10 hours)
    • Phonetics and phonology. Phonological schools.
    • Morphology and lexicology.
    • Syntax and text. Contemporary methods of linguistic analysis.

Reading List

Required reading:

  1. Lyons, J. (2009). Language and Linguistics. Cambridge University Press.

Recommended reading:

  1. Bynon, Th., Palmer, F. R. (ed.) (2010). Studies in the History of Western Linguistics. Cambridge University Press.
  2. Yule, G. (2014). The Study of Language. Cambridge University Press.
  3. Radford, A., Atkinson, M., Britain, D., Clahsen, H., Spencer, A. (2009). Linguistics. An Introduction. Cambridge University Press.
  4. Finch, G. (1999). Linguistics Terms and Concepts. Palgrave Macmillan.

Online resources:

  1. Language and Communication. Elsevier.
  2. Language Sciences. Elsevier.

Homework Assignments

You will be expected to prepare talks / presentations for discussions after each of the three lecture parts of the course and to write a final course essay (1200 words) on one of the topics covered in the course with a referential description of a linguistic school or phenomenon and illustrative examples of the discussed theory.


It is a pass/fail course. To get a pass, you should complete all the assignments.