FHS Linguistic Options Papers

Phonetics and Phonology

This course is aimed at those who wish to study how sound is used in language to a greater depth than is possible for the General Linguistics paper. The topics covered include:

  • Coarticulation and models of speech production
  • Approaches to speech perception
  • Phonetic Acquisition
  • Experimental methodology
  • Prosody
  • Non-linear phonology
  • Constraint-based phonology
  • The phonetics/phonology interface

Prerequisites for MML/PPL students as well as for students not in Modern Languages or PPL (including Experimental Psychology and Human Sciences): Attendance at Prelims Phonetics/Phonology lectures in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms is required.  For FHS students who did not take the Prelims Foundation course, the Prelims Phonetics/Phonology lectures should be attended in the second year.

Lectures, seminars and practical sessions: This option is taught through lectures and practical sessions. Attendance at FHS lectures in Michaelmas Term is a mandatory requirement before or during practical sessions for FHS Phonetics and Phonology. Those doing the optional Lab Report must attend seminars in Hilary Term of the second year.   Those choosing the Aural Transcription test should attend transcription seminars in Hilary Term of their second and/or final year, plus the test practice sessions in late Hilary or early Trinity Term in their final year.

Method of Assessment: three-hour unseen written paper (75%) and either a half-hour practical phonetic transcription exercise or a Lab Report (25%) (Modern Languages method of assessment A*).

Syntax

This option is designed for candidates who wish to attain a more detailed knowledge of modern syntactic theory and syntactic typology. Attention will also be given to a range of syntactic phenomena and how these are analysed in the framework of Lexical-Functional Grammar.

Prerequisites: Attendance at Prelims Grammar lectures including Trinity Term lectures.

Lectures and tutorials: This option is taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials. FHS Syntax lectures are held in Michaelmas Term. Attendance at lectures is a mandatory requirement before FHS Syntax tutorials are provided. Two revision sessions are available to students in their final year.

Method of Assessment: three-hour unseen written paper (Modern Languages method of assessment A).

Semantics

This option is a thorough introduction for candidates who wish to explore the ways in which meaning is encoded in language. The areas under study will include: lexical meaning, combinatorial and truth conditional semantics, the interaction between semantics and pragmatics, and the syntax-semantics interface.

Prerequisites: Attendance at Prelims General Linguistics lectures in Semantics & Pragmatics in Hilary Term.

Lectures and tutorials: This option is taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials. FHS Semantics lectures are held in Hilary Term. Attendance at FHS lectures in Semantics is a mandatory requirement before or during FHS Semantics tutorials. Tutorials are available in Hilary Term and weeks 1-6 of Trinity Term.  Students doing semantics tutorials in the second year will normally be expected to do all of them in that year.

Method of Assessment: three-hour unseen written paper (Modern Languages method of assessment A).

Psycholinguistics

Psycholinguistics is an interdisciplinary area of study that addresses the relation between language and cognition. Fields covered in this course include the study of the development of language in children and the investigation of the psychological mechanisms that underlie the production and understanding of speech.

Prerequisites: Attendance at Prelims General Linguistics lectures in Psycholinguistics in Michaelmas Term.

Lectures and classes: This option is taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials. FHS Psycholinguistics lectures take place in Hilary Term. Attendance at lectures is not required before tutorials in FHS Psycholinguistics, but students are encouraged to attend the lectures at some point.

Method of Assessment: three-hour unseen written paper (Modern Languages method of assessment A).

Sociolinguistics

Sociolinguistics is the study of language variation and change, and their relationship to social phenomena (e.g. class, gender and ethnic divisions, patterns of migration and contact, social network structures). Topics covered may include:

  • sociolinguistic methods
  • geographical and social dimensions of dialect variation
  • mechanisms of language change
  • code choice and code-switching in multilingual settings
  • pidgin and creole languages
  • language shift and language death

Prerequisites: Attendance at Prelims General Linguistics lectures in Sociolinguistics in Hilary Term.

Lectures and classes: This option is taught through a combination of lectures and classes.  FHS lectures are held in Michaelmas Term, and attendance at FHS lectures is required. Tutorials are available only in Hilary Term of the final FHS year, and not for second-year students.

Method of Assessment: three-hour unseen written paper (Modern Languages method of assessment A).

Historical Linguistics

Historical Linguistics is the diachronic study of language, encompassing phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic change across time.  The course will include discussion of the structural and social factors at work, of regularity and irregularity in change, and of the reconstruction of proto-languages from attested data.

Prerequisites: Attendance at Prelims General Linguistics lectures in Historical Linguistics in Trinity Term.

Lectures and tutorials: This option is taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials. FHS Historical Linguistics lectures are held in Hilary Term. Attendance at FHS lectures is a mandatory requirement before/during tutorials in FHS Historical Linguistics.

Special Subjects

A number of other papers (which are listed under ‘Special Subjects’ and published by ML on Weblearn) are also available. The list is reviewed and published each year and can be found here. Among these, the following have been available in recent years: Morphology, Romance Philology and Linguistics.

Morphology

Morphology explores the matches, and sometimes very surprising mismatches, between the internal structure of words and the grammatical and lexical meanings that words express. The course pays particular attention to what language change can tell us about the organization of morphology.

Prerequisites: Attendance at the four Morphology lectures given in the second half of Hilary Term as a part of the Grammar lecture series is desirable but not essential.

Lectures and tutorials: This option is taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials. FHS Morphology lectures are held in Hilary Term. Attendance at FHS lectures is a mandatory requirement before/during tutorials for this paper.  All tutorials for the option must be taken in the same year, either the second year or the final year.

Romance Philology and Linguistics

Romance Philology and Linguistics explores the history and diversification of the family of languages into which Latin developed. These will include comparison of the grammar (morphology, phonology, and syntax) and lexicon of different Romance languages, exploration of their historical development, and examination of some lesser-known Romance varieties, as well as discussions of classification and typology of the Romance languages. 

Prerequisites: Knowledge of at least one Romance language (e.g., French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian) and a willingness to acquire some familiarity with at least one other. A knowledge of Latin is useful but not indispensable.

Lectures and tutorials: This option is taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials. The main body of FHS Romance Linguistics and Philology lectures are held in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms, and tutorials are usually held in Hilary Term. Attendance at all FHS lectures in the subject is a mandatory requirement before/during tutorials for this paper.

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