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ET213: Linguistics: Structure, Sound and Meaning


What do the world’s languages have in common and how are they different? How can we classify languages? Why do languages change? How is language acquired? How does the brain create language and how does language shape the mind? This module expands on concepts introduced during Linguistics: Understanding Language in order to provide core knowledge and skills for students in all fields of language study. You’ll learn about more advanced phonetic, phonological and morpho-syntactic features of a wide range of the world’s languages and dialects. You’ll explore methodologies from a range of linguistic disciplines to document, study, and analyse real-world language data. You’ll be introduced to research in subfields of linguistics such as second language acquisition and language change.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic patterns of the languages of the world.
  • Label phonetic, phonological, morpho-syntactic, and semantic/pragmatic features of languages with disciplinary terminology.
  • Analyze raw linguistic data to determine features of a language or dialect.
  • Categorize changes in languages and dialects resulting from language internal and external factors.
  • Identify physiological structures and psychological factors relevant to language production, perception, and interpretation.
  • Propose appropriate methodologies to document and study language.
  • Discuss core theories, findings, and approaches from a range of linguistic disciplines.

Learning Experience


Core content will be presented during weekly 2-hour lectures.


We will meet in a weekly 1-hour small-group seminar to practice and apply course concepts.



Two 1500-word research projects (25% each)


2-hour written examination (50%)

Preparatory Reading

  • Kennedy, R. (2017). Phonology: A coursebook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lycan, W.G. (2000). Philosophy of language: A contemporary introduction. London: Routledge.
  • Velupillai, V. (2012). An introduction to linguistic typology. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing.