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Sunday, November 09, 2008

MA English - Linguistics Syllabus

Subject: MA in English with Communication Studies Credits: 4

Paper title: Linguistics Total Hours: 60

Paper Code: MEL234 Max Marks: 100

The economic globalisation since the early 90s has had a consequent interest in language studies for various socio-political, communicative and technological reasons. With communication - both oral and textual - becoming crucial to widen the global impact of political and economic organisations, and the consequent struggles of resistance to economic imperialism have contributed to the renewed interest in linguistics in multiple domains – Media studies, corporate communication, advertising and marketing, anthropology, and health. In the case of India, in the wake of language becoming a major site of identity politics and the consequent interest of the state through increased funding and establishment of research centres is a testimony for the relevance and need for this paper.


  • To introduce the students to the scientific study of language

o To expose students to the locate language in a broader socio-political, and economic setting

o To expose students to the use of scientific study of language in multiple domains

  1. Introduction to Linguistics. Concept of Linguistics. Branches of Linguistics
  2. Language : Definition, nature, properties and functions of language, sub-systems of language
  3. Communication: Definition, nature, requirements and types of communication
  4. Phonetics: Definition and branches. Brief sketch of articulatory, acoustic and auditory phonetics

Speech: Formation of speech. Speech mechanisms: Air stream, phonatory, articulatory and resonatory mechanisms

Classification of speech sounds: Segmentals and suprasegmentals

    1. Segmentals : Vowels and Consonants

Classification of consonants: Place and manner of articulation, voiceless ad voiced consonants

Classification of vowels: Concept of cardinal vowels

    1. Suprasegmentals: Stress, pitch, tone, and intonation
    2. Semivowels and diphthongs: Formation and classification
    3. Sounds formed using non-pulmonic air stream: Ejectives, implosives and clicks

  1. Phonology: Definitions of phoneme and allophones. Phonemic analysis with reference to Indian languages. Distinctive feature analysis.

Syllable: Types and structure of Syllables

  1. Morphology: Concepts of morph, morpheme, and allomorph and their relationship. Morphemic analysis. Morpheme types-inflectional and derivational. Word: Definition, types, process of word formation
  2. Syntax: Syntactic analysis, I.C. Analysis, Phrase structure grammar, Transformational grammar, components of functions of grammar. Acceptability and grammaticality of sentences.
  3. Semantics: Concept of meaning. Different types of meanings. Concepts of synonyms, homonyms and antonyms. Semantic ambiguity.
  4. Introduction to semiotics: Saussure, Pierce, and Barthes; Discourse analysis and Pragmatics
  5. Psycholinguistics: Introduction to psycholinguistics. Competence and Performance. Language acquisition in children. Major theories
  6. Introduction to Indian linguistic traditions


Balasubramanian, T. A Textbook of English Phonetics : For Indian Students. Macmillan 2000

Bansal R. K. and Harrison J. B., Spoken English for India: A Mannual of Speech and Phonetics. Longman. Madras, 1983.

Chandler, Daniel. Semiotics: The Basics. New York : 2002.

Hockett. C.F. A Course in Modern Linguistics. New York: Macmillian, 1958.

Krishnaswamy, N. and Archana S. Burde. The Politics of Indians' English : Linguistic Colonialism and the Expanding English Empire. New Delhi: OUP, 2004.

Krishnaswamy, N. and SK Verma. Modern Linguistics: An Introduction. New Delhi: OUP, 2005.

Leech G. N. Principles of Pragmatics. London: Longman, 1983.

Levinson S. Pragmatics. Cambridge, CUP, 1983.

O'Connor (1993) Phonetics. Hanmondsworth: Penguin Books.

Palmer, F. R. Semantics : A New Outline Cambridge, CUP, 1976.

Prakasam, V. and Abbi. A Semantic Theories and Language Teaching. New Delhi, Allied Publishers, 1985.

Saussure, Ferdinand de. A Course in General Linguistics. New York: McGraw-Hill. 1966.

Thorat, Ashok. Discourse Analysis of Five Great Indian Novels. Macmillan, 2002.

Widdowson, H. D. Stylistics and the Teaching of Literature. London: Longman, 1975

Testing pattern

CIA – Two written assignments. The second CIA should to be a short research paper of five to 10 pages.

Mid-semester written exam based on modules 1 to 6 (2 hours)

End-semester written exam based on modules 7 to 10 ( 3 hours)

Note: The course might undergo minor changes by the end of this week.

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