Foundations of Linguistics 2019


Course organization

Instructor: Tatjana Scheffler
Time: Tuesdays, 2-4pm
Place: Golm, building 14, room 009
Moodle: Please register on the course's Moodle site.


Language profile

This year each student will pick one of the world's 7000 languages to profile linguistically. For each topic, you will collect information on your chosen language and compile it in a language portfolio.

Grading policy

Passing the course

To be admitted to the module exam, you need to pass the course. 50% of the points in the assignments are required to pass the course. The assignments alternate between specific exercises and short reports/essays on your language.

Module exam & grade

Final written exam -- 90%
Language profile -- 10%

Course description

A condensed graduate-level overview of main concepts in Linguistics for students in the Cognitive Systems program who have no background in this.


Date Topic Readings Assignments
T 10/15 Introduction
T 10/22 Morphology I (Bender, 2013), ch. 2 Pick and present your language
T 10/29 Morphology II (Bender, 2013), ch. 2-4; Questions for the reading
T 11/5 Syntax I (Santorini/Kroch), chs. 1-2 Problem set 1 due
T 11/12 Syntax II (Bender 2013), ch. 5-7; Questions for the reading
T 11/19 Syntax III (Bender 2013), ch. 7-9 Problem set 2 due
T 11/26 Syntax IV
T 12/3 Semantics I (Chierchia & McConnell-Ginet), ch. 1-2 (background) Problem set 3 due
T 12/10 Semantics II (Partee et al.), ch. 13
T 12/17 Semantics III (Partee et al.), 14, (15) Problem set 4 due

no class (winter break)

no class (winter break)
T 1/7 Lexical Semantics (Murphy, 2003), ch. 1
T 1/15 Discourse I Taboada, M. and W.C. Mann (2006) Applications of Rhetorical Structure Theory. Discourse Studies 8 (4): 567-588.
Rashmi Prasad, Nikhil Dinesh, Alan Lee, Eleni Miltsakaki, Livio Robaldo, Aravind Joshi, and Bonnie Webber (2008) The Penn Discourse Treebank 2.0. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2008). Marrackech, Morocco.
Problem set 5 due
T 1/21 no class
T 1/28 Wrap-up/discussion Problem set 6 due
T 2/4 Psycholinguistics (guest lecture by Dario Paape)
T 2/11, 14-16 (building 14, room 032) Final exam


Other readings will be linked to on Moodle.


Anna -- Finnish
Peng -- Mandarin Chinese
Ian -- Irish
Polina -- Mari
Nelli -- Hebrew
Alexander -- Samoan
Rodrigo -- Basque
Thomas -- Basque
Iana -- Hebrew
Luise -- Swedish
Kevin -- Modern Greek
Last modified: Thu Dec 19 11:29:01 CET 2019