Unit-1: Language and Linguistics

Nature of Language: Language in spoken and written modes, language as written text—philological and literary notions i.e., norm, purity and their preservation; language as a cultural heritage—codification and transmission of cultural knowledge and behavior; language as a marker of social identity; language as an object i.e., notion of autonomy, structure and its units and components; design Features of language; writing system—units of writing—sound (alphabetic), or syllable (syllabic) and morpheme/word (logographic), sign language; existence of language faculty; linguistic competence, ideal speaker-hearer.

Approaches to the Study of Language: Ancient approaches to the study of language: Indian and Greco-Roman, semiotic approach—interpretation of sign; language as a system of social behaviour—use of language in family, community and country; language as a system of communication—communicative functions—emotive, conative, referential, poetic, metalinguistic and phatic;

language as a cognitive system; relation with culture and thought (Linguistic Relativity); Saussurean dichotomies: signifier and signified, langue and parole, synchronic and diachronic, syntagmatic and paradigmatic.

Language Analysis: Levels and their hierarchy—phonetic/phonological, morphological, syntactic and semantic/pragmatic; their interrelations; linguistic units and their distribution at different levels; notions of contrast and complementation; -emic and -etic categorization; notion of rule at different levels; description vs. explanation of grammatical facts.

Linguistics and other Fields: Relevance of Linguistics to other fields of enquiry—Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, Neurology, Speech Sciences, Geography, Psychology, Education, Computer Science and Literature.

Unit 2: Phonetics and Phonology


Phonetics as a study of speech sounds: articulatory, auditory, and acoustic phonetics.

Articulatory Phonetics: Processes of speech production: airstream process, oro-nasal process, phonation process, and articulatory process; classification of speech sounds: vowels and consonants, cardinal vowels (primary and secondary); complex articulation: secondary articulation, coarticulation; syllable; suprasegmentals—length, stress, tone, intonation and juncture; phonetic transcription: International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

Acoustic Phonetics: Sound waves— simple and complex, periodic and aperiodic; harmonics; frequency and fundamental frequency, amplitude, duration; resonance, filters, spectrum, spectrogram; formants, transition, burst; voice onset time; aspiration; noise spectra; cues for speech sounds: vowel (monophthong and diphthong), semivowel, stop, fricative, nasal, lateral, glide, places of articulation of consonants.


Descriptive Phonology: Phonetics vs. phonology; concept of phoneme, phone and allophone; principles of phonemic analysis— phonetic similarity, contrastive distribution, complementary distribution, free variation, pattern congruity; notions of biuniqueness, neutralization and archiphoneme.

Generative Phonology: Linear and non-linear approaches: levels of phonological representation; phonological rules; distinctive features (major class, manner, place, etc.); abstractness controversy; rule ordering and types of rule ordering, markedness; principles of lexical phonology; principles of optimality theory.

Unit 3: Morphology

Basic Concepts: Scope and nature of morphology; concepts of morpheme, morph, allomorph, zero allomorph, conditions on allomorphs; lexeme and word; Types of morphemes—free and bound; root, stem, base, suffix, infix, prefix, portmanteau morpheme, suppletive, replacive; affixes vs. clitics; grammatical categories – tense, aspect, mood, person, gender, number, case; case markers case relations; pre- and post-positions; models of morphological description: item and arrangement, item and process, word and paradigm;

Morphological Analysis: Identification of morphemes; morphological alternation; morphophonemic processes; internal and external sandhi; inflection vs. derivation; conjugation and declension.

Word-Formation Processes: Derivation (primary vs. secondary derivation, nominalization, verbalization, etc.), compounding (types of compounds: endocentric, exocentric, etc.), reduplication, back-formation, conversion, clipping, blending, acronyms, folk etymology, creativity and productivity, blocking, bracketing paradoxes, constraints on affix ordering.

Morpho-syntax: Nominalization and lexicalist hypothesis; grammatical function changing rules: causatives, passives.

Unit 4: Syntax

Traditional and Structural Syntax: parts of speech: Indian classification (naama, aakhyaata, upasarga, nipaata); basic syntactic units and their types: word, phrase, clause, sentence, karaka relations; grammatical relations and case relations; construction types (exocentric, endocentric, etc.), immediate constituent analysis.

Generative Syntax: Parameters and universal grammar, null subject parameter, innateness hypothesis, meaning of the term ‘generative’ transformational generative grammar, structure and structure-dependence, diagnostics for structure; complements and adjuncts, principles and parameters theory, X-bar theory, theta theory, binding theory; pro-drop, NP-movement, wh-movement, head movement, adjunction and substitution, constraints on movement, subjacency, government and proper government, small clauses, topicalization; unergatives and unaccusatives, VP-internal subject hypothesis; split VP and VP-shell hypothesis, cross-over phenomena; checking theory of case, copy theory of movement, inclusiveness principle.

Some Key Concepts in the Minimalist Programme: Spell-out, greed, procrastination, last resort, AGR-based case theory, multiple-spec hypothesis, strong and weak features; interpretable and non-interpretable features.

Transformational Components: The copy theory of movement, its properties, checking devices and features of convergence.

Unit 5: Semantics and Pragmatics

Semantics: Types of meaning; descriptive, emotive and phatic; sense and reference, connotation and denotation, sense relations (homonymy, hyponymy, antonymy, synonymy, etc.); types of opposition (taxonomic, polar, etc.); ambiguity, sentence meaning and truth conditions, contradictions, entailment; ‘abhidha’, ‘laksana’, ‘vyanjana’; Notions of membership, union, intersection cardinality; mapping and functions; propositions, truth values, sentential connectives; arguments, predicates, quantifiers, variables; componential analysis; definiteness, mood and modality, specific vs. generic; definite and indefinite; compositionality and its limitations.

Pragmatics: Language use in context; communication: message model and inferential model of communication, sentence meaning and utterance meaning; speech acts; deixis; presupposition and implicature: Gricean maxims; information structure; indexicals, politeness, power and solidarity, discourse analysis.

Unit 6: Historical Linguistics

Sound Change: Neogrammarian laws of phonetic change: Grimm’s, Verner’s, Grassmann’s Laws; genesis and spread of sound change; split and merger; conditioned vs. unconditioned change; types of changes—phonetic vs. phonemic changes; assimilation and dissimilation, coalescence, metathesis, deletion, epenthesis; lexical diffusion of sound change; analogy and its relationship to sound change; reconstructing the proto-stages of languages; tree and wave models; relative chronology of different changes. Sociolinguistic approach to language change: social motivation of language change; study of sound change in progress.

Morphosyntactic and Semantic Change: Phonological change leading to changes in morphology and syntax; syncretism, grammaticalisation and lexicalisation; principles of recovering grammatical categories contrasts; semantic change and processes of semantic change—extension, narrowing, figurative speech.

Linguistic Reconstruction: External vs. internal reconstruction: comparative method, collection of cognates, establishing phonological correspondences; reconstruction of the phonemes of the proto-language based on contrast and complementation; morphophonemic alternations as the source for reconstruction; recovering historical contrasts by comparing, alternating and non-alternating paradigms; accounting for exceptions to sound change—analogy, borrowing, onomatopoeia, the interplay of analogy and sound change; lexicostatistics.

Language Contact and Dialect Geography: Linguistic borrowing, lexical and structural; motivations, loan translation, loan blend, calque, assimilated and unassimilated loans: tadbhava and tatsama; different types of borrowing–cultural, intimate and dialect; classification of loanwords; impact of borrowing on language; pidgins and creoles; bilingualism as the source for borrowing; dialect geography: dialect atlas; isogloss; focal area, transition area and relic area.

Unit 7: Sociolinguistics

Basic Concepts: Sociolinguistics and sociology of language; micro-and macro approaches to language in society; linguistic repertoire: language, dialect, sociolect, idiolect; diglossia, taboo, slang; elaborated and restricted codes; speech community, communicative competence, ethnography of speaking; languagewider communication; lingua franca; language and social inequality; language in diaspora; new linguistic world orders.

Linguistic Variability: Patterns in linguistic variation, linguistic variables and their co-variation with linguistic dimensions, social class / social network / age / gender/ ethnicity; language loyalty, social identity and social attitudes, stereotypes.

Language Contact: Bilingualism, multilingualism; code-mixing and code-switching; outcomes of language contact: language maintenance, borrowing, convergence, substratum effect, pidginization and creolization; language loss.

Language Development: Language planning, corpus and status planning, standardisation and modernisation; language movements – state and societal interventions; script development and modifications; linguistic minorities and their problems.

Language Ecology and Endangerment: Superdiversity; linguistic landscaping, linguistic vitality, language endangerment, parameters of endangerment, documentation of endangered languages, revitalisation.

Sociolinguistic Methodology: Sampling and tools; identification of sociolinguistic variables and their variants; data processing and interpretation; quantitative analysis of data; variable rules; ethnomethodology; participant observation.

Unit 8: Areal Typology and South Asian Language Families

Language Typology, Universals and Linguistic Relatedness: Language typology and language universals; morphological types of languages—agglutinative, analytical (isolating), synthetic fusional (inflecting), infixing and polysynthetic (incorporating) languages. formal and substantive universals, absolute and statistical universals; implicational and non-implicational universals; linguistic relatedness—genetic, typological and areal classification of languages.

Approaches for Study: Inductive vs deductive approaches; universals of language and parametric variation; word order typology; Greenberg’s characteristics for verb final and verb medial languages and related features in the context of South Asian Languages.

Salient Features of South Asian Languages: Phonetic, phonological, morphological, and syntactic features of Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic, and Tibeto-Burman language families of South Asia; Linguistic Survey of India as a source of information; contact induced typological change; convergence and syntactic change.

India as a Linguistc Area: The notion of linguistic area; language contact and convergence with special reference to the concept of ‘India as a Linguistic Area’; features of retroflexion, vowel harmony, aspiration, reduplication, echo formation, onomatopoeia, compound verbs, anaphora; India as a sociolinguistic area, India as a semantic area; notion of microlinguistic area.

Unit 9: Interdisciplinary and Applied LinguisticsI (Psycholinguistics, Language Learning and Language Teaching)


Basic Concepts: Basic issues in psycholinguistics, brain language relationship, the different theoretical orientations: empiricist-behaviourist, biological-nativist, and cognitive-interactionalist, biological foundations of language; language acquisition and stages; critical period hypothesis.

Language Processing: The processes of perception, comprehension and production; evidence of language production; steps in comprehension; mental representation of language and lexicon; relationship between comprehension and production.

Clinical Psycholinguistics: Normal and pathological language; aphasia; dyslexia; stuttering; language in the hearing-impaired; language in mental retardation.

Language Learning and Language Teaching:

Language Teaching and Language Learning: First and second language learning; behaviouristic and cognitive theories of language learning; social and psychological aspects of second language acquisition; methods of language teaching; materials and teaching-aids in language teaching; computer assisted language teaching (CALT); language testing: types of tests; validity, reliability and standardization of tests; Interlanguage.

Language Teaching Analysis: Goals of language teaching; factors in the preparation of a language teaching syllabus: linguistic theory, social and psychological factors, needs analysis, class-room presentation; text-book evaluation; types of syllabus: structural, communicative, notional; the role of the teacher and teacher training; role of self-access packages; socio-linguistic and psychological aspects of language teaching and learning.

Contrastive Analysis: Error analysis and interlanguage; basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) and cognitive advanced language proficiency (CALP);

Unit 10: Interdisciplinary and Applied LinguisticsII (Translation, Lexicography, Computational Linguistics, Stylistics, Language and Media)


Paraphrase, translation and transcreation; translation of literary text and technical text; use of linguistics in translation; linguistic affinity and translatability; untranslatability; units of translation; equivalence of meaning and style; translation loss and gain; problems of cultural terms; scientific terms; idioms, metaphors and proverbs; false friends and translation shifts; evaluation translation; fidelity and readability; types of translation—simultaneous interpretation, machine aided translation, media translation (dubbing, copy-editing, advertisement, slogans, jingles, etc.)


Making of a Dictionary: Linguistics and lexicography, dictionary entries—arrangement of information; meaning descriptions—synonymy, polysemy, homonymy, antonymy and hyponymy; treatment of technical terms vs. general words.

Types of Dictionaries: Literary, scientific and technical; comprehensive and concise, monolingual and bilingual; general and learner’s. historical and etymological, dictionary of idioms and phrases, encyclopaedic dictionary, electronic dictionary, reverse dictionary, thesaurus and other distinguishing purposes and features of various types; computational lexicography.

Computational Linguistics

Artificial intelligence and language; natural language processing (NLP); computational linguistics and its relation to allied disciplines; machine language; parsing and generation; parsers; compilers; interpreters—information processing, structuring and manipulating data; corpus building; attempts of NLP and corpus work in India: Anusāraka parsing: morphological recognizers, analyzers and generators for Indian languages; designing code, building of machine translation systems (MTS); hyper grammars, building of word nets, The Kolhapur Corpus of Indian English, the TDIL Corpus Project. Style— individual style, period style; style as choice, style as deviation, style as ‘rīti’, style as ‘alankāra’; style as ‘vyanjanā’ (‘vakrokti’); Foregrounding; Parallelism; Text as grammar: structure and texture, cohesion and coherence; semiotic aspects of a literary text; stylistics of discourse; levels of stylistic analysis—phonological, lexical, syntactic and semantic; stylistic devices in literary texts.

Language and Media

Mass media: print and electronic, types of language used in mass media: news, editorials, advertising, writing and editing for print and electronic media, impact of mass media on language.

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