Foundation Course in Linguistics
Who takes this course?
This course forms part of the following degree programmes:
- PPL: Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics (candidates doing a Linguistics combination)
- MLL: Modern Language and Linguistics (all candidates)
For Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics (PPL), candidates admitted to read either Psychology & Linguistics or Philosophy & Linguistics follow the Linguistics Prelims course.
Outline of the course
There are three parts to the course: General Linguistics, Phonetics and Phonology, and Grammatical Analysis. These are taught through a series of compulsory lectures and classes or tutorials. Details of each part are given below.
Please note that the teaching and examining schedules for ML/MML and PPL are slightly different:
- PPL candidates follow the course over 2 terms (MT and HT) and are examined in 8th week of Hilary Term. There will be a single, 3-hour exam covering all parts of the course. Candidates interested in continuing with Linguistics are encouraged to continue to attend lectures in Trinity Term, beyond their Prelims exam. For some B options (including Syntax and Historical Linguistics) attendance at all of the relevant Prelims lectures is essential before tuition for the B option can be given.
Collections: each student, in consultation with their College and their Linguistics Organising Tutor will decide when to take their collection paper.
General Linguistics (MLL/ML designation: Paper VIII)
Candidates will be expected to be familiar with the development of contemporary linguistic theory, both synchronic and historical, and be able to discuss problems and issues in areas including semantics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, language acquisition and language change.
The course will cover the following main areas, divided roughly into 4-week modules:
- Modern Approaches to Language
- Sociolinguistics/Language variation
- Language Change
Lectures are weekly in MT (1-8), HT (1-8) and TT (1-4). PPL candidates are required to attend all lectures through HT6, and encouraged to attend lectures in TT.
Fortnightly tutorials: PPL candidates receive 7 tutorials (4 in MT, 3 in HT), in odd weeks.
Phonetics and Phonology (ML/MLL designation: Paper IX)
Candidates will be expected to be familiar with principles and practice in the analysis, classification and transcription of speech as applied to languages in general, but with an emphasis on European languages.
The course will cover the following main areas, divided roughly into four-week modules:
- Articulatory Phonetics and Practical Phonetic Transcription
- Introduction to Phonological Theory and Analysis
- Acoustic Phonetics
- Beyond the segment: dynamic phonetics and prosody
Lectures are weekly in MT (1-8) and HT (1-8). There are no lectures in TT. ML/MLL and PPL candidates are required to attend all lectures, though PPL candidates are exempt from attending lectures in HT (7-8) because of exams.
Weekly classes: PPL candidates attend classes throughout MT and for weeks 1-4 in HT (12 classes in total).
Grammatical Analysis (ML/MLL designation: Paper X)
Candidates will be expected to be familiar with grammatical theory. The main elements of this course are:
- Syntactic Theory and Typology
- Morphological Theory
Lectures are weekly in MT (1-8), HT (1-8) and TT (1-4). ML/MLL candidates are required to attend all lectures over the year. PPL candidates are required to attend all lectures through HT6, and encouraged to attend lectures in TT.
Fortnightly classes: PPL candidates attend classes throughout MT and for weeks 1-6 in HT (7 classes in total), in even weeks.
Click to view sample timetables for PPL. These show scheduled times for compulsory lectures, and the number of additional teaching hours (n.b. with sample times/days – actual times/days need to be fixed with individual tutors at the co-ordination meeting in 0th week of Michaelmas Term).
The three papers are assessed via a 3-hour unseen written exam each at the end of Hilary Term in the first year. Click here to see recent Examiners’ reports (under ‘Preliminary Examination in PPL’; you will need your SSO username and password to access them).
The Examination Regulations relating to the Prelims part of this course are available here. If there is a conflict between information in these pages and the Examination Regulations then you should follow the Examination Regulations. If you have any concerns please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) in Linguistics: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Examination conventions are the formal record of the specific assessment standards for the course or courses to which they apply. They set out how your examined work will be marked and how the resulting marks will be used to arrive at a final result and classification of your award. They include information on: marking scales, marking and classification criteria, scaling of marks, progression, resits, use of viva voce examinations, penalties for late submission, and penalties for over-length work.
Examination regulations and conventions can be found here (in the ‘PPL Programme Specification’ document). These are updated yearly, usually after the beginning of each academic year. It is therefore advisable to check for the current set in Michaelmas Term.
The criteria used when marking exams are found in the PPL Course Handbook. It is a good idea for students to familiarise themselves with the contents of this document and ask their Linguistics tutors for any clarification that may be needed.
It may be necessary for changes to be made in certain circumstances, as explained at www.ox.ac.uk/coursechanges. If such changes are made the Faculty will amend this online information and students will be informed.