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Last modified: 05 Aug 2021 13:04

Course Overview

All living languages are in constant flux. Pronunciations alter; word meaning changes; structures evolve. In this course you will learn the various processes which Historical Linguists employ when analysing linguistic change. Proper attention will also be given to the consideration of language descent and relationship. You will also consider change from a sociolinguistic viewpoint, investigating how social background, gender and ethnicity affect and effect change.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Professor Robert M. Millar

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Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course introduces students to the central ideas of Historical Linguistics, developing their awareness of how we can analyse change systematically at all levels. This understanding will be viewed from a sociolinguistic perspective. The comparative method, involving concepts of language relationship and descent, will be given prominence. Wherever possible, linguistic change – both in the present and the past – will be considered in relation to social background, gender and ethnicity, among other variables. Throughout, emphasis will be placed on developing an awareness of how change works practically. This includes an assessed exercise where change is observed and analysed in the members of an invented language family.

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 8 - 18

More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

3000 word essay (50%)

2000 word exercise (30%)

Seminar Assesment (20%)

Alternative Resit Arrangements for students taking course in Academic Year 2020/21

Resit: 3,000 word essay (100%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualUnderstandStudents will recognise the central ideas and methodologies of Historical Linguistics.
FactualApplyStudents will be able to apply the central ideas and methodologies of Historical Linguistics to practical tasks.
FactualApplyStudents will apply their evaluation of the central ideas and methodologies of Historical Linguistics in relation to Sociolinguistic theory and practice to practical tasks.
ConceptualUnderstandStudents will evaluate the central ideas and methodologies of Historical Linguistics in relation to Sociolinguistic theory and practice.

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