Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LT2660 (AF:277805 AR:176372)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
The course is one of the core educational activities of the Linguistics, Philology and Language Teaching Research curriculum, focusing on the acquisition of knowledge concerning the nature of language and its historical variation.
The course will illustrate the main aspects of the evolution of language theories from XIX to XX century, with a special focus on principles governing language change. The concept will be explored from the point of view of the history of linguistics, and then applied to the analysis of languages in contact, with examples taken from different stages of the history of the main European languages.
Students will acquire a few fundamental concepts concerning the history of linguistics between XIX and XX century, focusing on the problems concerning the nature of language change and its occurrence in the actual history of European languages. They will be able to analyse examples of language change in different historical stages, taking into consideration both phonetic/phonological change and morphosyntactic/lexical evolution.
Under the perspective of language change, special attention will be given to languages in contact, illustrating both theoretical aspects and actual cases. Students will understand the principles of interlinguistics and their manifestation in historical languages.
Through the study of language change, students will develop a critical attitude, with the aim of investigating the evolution of specific aspects of the languages they learn. They will try to interpret change both in past and in present stages of language history, synthetizing the trends of evolution in the perspective of communication.
No specific previous knowledge is required.
Language and language change.
Language change in the history of linguistics between XIX and XX century:
Comparative linguistics,
Sound laws,
Linguistics as a normative science and as a historical science,
Paul and language change,
Saussure and language change,
Language change and sociolinguistics (Weinreich).
Languages in contact and language change:
The fundamentals of interlinguistics,
Application to different language areas (phonetic/morpho-syntactic/lexical change).
Graffi, Giorgio (2019), Breve storia della linguistica. Roma: Carocci (cap 5 - 6).
Gusmani, Roberto (1990), “Interlinguistica”, in: Campanile, Enrico et al. (eds), Linguistica storica, Firenze: La nuova Italia scientifica.
Santulli, Francesca (1996), “Le leggi fonetiche e i neogrammatici, in: Negri, Mario (ed.), Navadhyayi, Roma: il Calamo.
Santulli, Francesca (2001), “Interferenza e linguistica esterna: prospettiva storica e valutazioni (socio)linguistiche”, RILD III, pp 95-113.
Santulli, Francesca (2005), “La città e il tappeto. Fortune e miserie del modello strutturale”, RILD VII, pp 147-164.
Weinreich, Uriel / Labov, William / Herzog, Marvin 1968. Empirical Foundations for a Theory of Linguistic Change. In Lehmann, Winfred / Malkiel, Yakov (eds) Directions for Historical Lin-guistics. A Symposium. Austin: University of Texas Press,

Further readings will be made available on the Moodle platform of the Course.
Oral exam: assessment of knowledge and understanding of theoretical and methodological principles; application to the analysis languages in contact.
Conventional lectures; analysis of examples. Students are encouraged to participate to class discussions.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 10/04/2020