Academic year
2021/2022 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0127 (AF:353685 AR:190488)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
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The course is part of the core educational activities of the master’s degree programs in Ancient Civilisations: Literature, History and Archaeology (Ancient Philology, Literatures and History) and in Italian Philology and Literature (Medieval and Renaissance period). It aims to provide the knowledge required for reflecting and operating on language and languages as historical phenomena revealed by texts, with particular attention to the topics of variation, change, and reconstruction.
Students are expected to acquire the awareness of variation across time, space, society, and according communicative settings as a constitutive dimension of language, to be able to recognise and describe phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactic, and lexical changes as well as to analyse morphological changes in light of the current theoretical frameworks, to achieve a knowledge of the principles and methods of linguistic reconstruction as well as of the relationship between linguistic reconstruction and cultural reconstruction, to be able to frame theoretical and methodological issues and problems relevant to Historical Linguistics. Students are also expected to learn to use appropriate terminology.
The course requires basic knowledge of general linguistics obtained through the Principle of Linguistics course or other basic linguistics courses. The course also requires a good knowledge of the Italian language for foreign students.
The first part of the course will cover open theoretical and methodological issues concerning the genesis and theoretical grounds of Historical Linguistics, linguistic variation, historical and typological results of linguistic comparison, linguistic reconstruction, cultural reconstruction based on language data, and etymology. The second part of the course will focus on morphological change, taking into account different perspectives on the nature and functioning of language and languages. Examples from both ancient and modern languages will be considered.
Compulsory bibliography
M. Mancini (ed.), Il cambiamento linguistico, Roma, 2003.
M. Prandi, P. Cuzzolin, N. Grandi, M. Napoli, Orizzonti della linguistica. Grammatica, tipologia, mutamento, Roma, 2021 (Parte quarta. La linguistica storica: dal semplice al complesso, e ritorno).

Further readings
(I) Open theoretical and methodological issues
A. L. Prosdocimi, Diacronia: ricostruzione. Genera proxima e differentia specifica, in «Lingua e stile» 13/III, 1978, pp. 335-371.
A. L. Prosdocimi, I fondamenti teorici della linguistica storica ovvero alla ricerca dell’odorosa pantera ovvero à la recherche…, in A. L. Prosdocimi, Scritti inediti e sparsi, Padova, 2004, II, pp. 583-627.
A. L. Prosdocimi, Comparazione, tipologia e ricostruzione, in A. L. Prosdocimi, Scritti inediti e sparsi, Padova, 2004, II, pp. 657-855.
A. L. Prosdocimi, Dialetto/dialetti, koinè/koinai. Ambito del significare e orizzonti del comunicare, in G. Marcato (ed.), Le mille vite del dialetto, Padova, 2014, pp. 441-472.
M. P. Marchese, A. L. Prosdocimi, Post hoc ergo propter hoc? Coseriu e Saussure, in V. Orioles, R. Bombi (eds.), Oltre Saussure. L’eredità scientifica di Eugenio Coseriu, 2015, pp. 233-247.

(II) Morphological change
A. Meillet, L’évolution des formes grammaticales, in «Scientia» 12, 1912, pp. 384-400.
M. Halle, A. Marantz, Distributed Morphology and the Pieces of Inflection, in K. Hale, S. J. Keyser (ed.), The View from Building 20, Cambridge, 1993, pp. 111-176.
D. Embick, R. Noyer, Distributed Morphology and the Syntax/Morphology Interface, in G. Ramchand, C. Reiss (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Interfaces, Oxford, 2007, pp. 289-234.
W. U. Dressler, W. Mayerthaler, O. Panagl, W. U. Wurzel, Leitmotifs in Natural Morphology, Amsterdam, 1987, pp. 3-22 (A. Introduction).
W. U. Dressler, Naturalness and Morphological Change, in J. D. Brian, J. D. Richard (eds.), The Handbook of Historical Linguistics, Blackwell, Oxford, 2003, pp. 461-471.
M. Aronoff, Morphology by Itself. Stems and inflectional classes, Cambridge, 1994, pp. 5-29 (Chapter 1. Preliminary Terms).
M. Maiden, The Romance Verb. Morphomic Structure & Diachrony, Oxford, 2018, pp. 9-24 (2. Morphomic structures in synchrony and diachrony).

Further readings, which will be commented on during the classes, are optional for attending students. Non-attending students are required to read I fondamenti teorici della linguistica storica ovvero alla ricerca dell’odorosa pantera ovvero à la recherche…, Comparazione, tipologia e ricostruzione (only pp. 659-714, 730-749) and Dialetto/dialetti, koinè/koinai. Ambito del significare e orizzonti del comunicare from the list (I), as well as Halle - Marantz 1993 and Hembick - Noyer 2007 or Dressler - Mayerthaler - Panagl - Wurzel 1987 and Dressler 2003 or Aronoff 1994 and Maiden 2018 from the list (II).
Learning will be assessed through an interview on the topics of the course and the compulsory text for attending students, on the topics of the compulsory text and selected further readings for non-attending students. In particular, mastery of the topics, ability in presentation, and terminological adequacy will be taken into account for evaluation.
Classroom-taught classes and in-depth analysis of specific topics carried out also through seminars.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 12/07/2021