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Course Co-ordinated by IIT Madras

Prof. Rajesh Kumar
IIT Madras


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It aims at creating an awareness of the system underlying the structure of language.

It will introduce concepts and tools in the study of Modern Linguistics.
The course will include all the principal levels of structure of language, such as,
Phonology and Phonetics, Morphology, Syntax, and Pragmatics.






Objectives of the course.

2 - 4

Design Features of Language

5 - 15

Air Stream Mechanism, Organs of Articulation, Function of Vocal Chords, Sound Waves – Fundamental and Formant Frequencies; Intonation, Voiced and Voiceless Sounds, Vowels and Consonants.

16 – 20

Sounds in Context, Phonemes, Allophones, Di-phones, Syllables,

21 – 23

Word formation, Root, Affix, Constraint on Affixation.


Language Acquisition(Language Acquisition Device; Universal Grammar; Principles and Parameters)


Sentence: an Introduction (Structure and components of a sentence; Order of words: Subject-Object-Verb)


X-bar Theory (Specifiers vs. complements, arguments vs. adjuncts, similarities between nominal and sentential structure)


Case Theory(Abstract, inherent, and morphological case; Exceptional Case Marking, Nominative-accusative vs. Ergative-absolutive patterns)


Binding Theory(Conditions A, B, and C, the role of structural relationships such as c-command, the role of locality, binding domains)


A-movement(Raising movement; Distinction between raising and control (PRO and pro); Movement in Passives; Case as motivation for movement)


A-bar-movement(Wh-movement; Constraints on A-bar movements; Subjacency and the Empty Category Principles; Argument-adjunct asymmetries)


Head-movement(English auxiliary system (English vs. French); Nature of constraints on movement)

32 - 35

Pragmatics –Language variation, Speech Community, Dialects, Sociolects, Discourse


Tests:Quiz 1, Quiz 2, End-Semester

  1. Clark, John & Yallop, Collin : Introduction to Phonetics & Phonology, Basil Blackwell, 1990
  2. Hall, Christopher J : An Introduction to Language & Linguistics, Continuum, 2008
  3. Lyons, John : Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics, Cambridge University Press,1968
  4. Sailaja, Pingali: English Words: Structure, Formation and Literature, Pertinent Publishers, 2004
  5. Verma, S K & Krishnaswamy, N : Modern Linguistics, Oxford University Press, 1989
  6. Haegeman, Liliane1994 Introduction to Government and Binding Theory, London: Blackwell


Hoarseness of voice: An alarming sign to recheck the position of naso-gastric tube

More will be provided.

  1. Winkler, Elizabeth Grace : Understanding Language, Continuum, 2008
  2. Culicover, Peter 1997 Principles and Parameters, London: Oxford

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