Paper XIII: General Linguistics

General Reading List


  • Haegeman, L. (1994) Introduction to Government and Binding Theory. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Roberts, I. (1997) Comparative Syntax. London: Arnold.
  • Adger, D. (2003) Core Syntax. Oxford: OUP.

Semantics and Pragmatics

  • Saeed, J. (1997) Semantics. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Heim, I., and Kratzer, A. (1998) Semantics in Generative Grammar. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Lappin, S. (ed.) (1996) The Handbook of Contemporary Semantic Theory. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Lyons, J. (1995) Linguistic Semantics: an introduction. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Levinson, S. (1983) Pragmatics. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Yule, G. (1996) Pragmatics. Oxford: OUP.
  • Blakemore, D. (1992) Understanding Utterances. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Sperber, D. and Wilson, D. (1995) Relevance: communication and cognition, 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell.

Language Acquisition

  • Aitchison, J. (1989) The Articulate Mammal: an Introduction to Psycholinguistics. Routledge.
  • Atkinson, M. Kilby, D. and Roca, I. (1988) Foundations of General Linguistics, 2nd edition. Allen and Unwin.
  • Akmajian, A. Demers, R., Farmer, A. and Harnish, R. (1990). An Introduction to Language and Communication, 3rd or 4th edition. MIT Press.
  • Pinker, S. (1994) The Language Instinct. Penguin.
  • Sampson, Goeffrey (1997) Educating Eve. London, Cassell.
  • Plunkett, K. (1998) Language Acquisition and connectionism. Hove: Psychology Press.
  • Elman, J. (1996) Rethinking Innateness: a connectionist perspective on development. Cambridge Mass: MIT Press.
  • Bloom, P. (ed.) (1993) Language Acquisition: core readings. New York, London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
  • Pierce, A. (1992) Language Acquisition and Syntactic Theory. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Pidgins and Creoles

  • Holmes, J. (2001) An introduction to sociolinguistics. Harlow: Longman.
  • Romaine, S. (1988) Pidgin and Creole languages. London: Longman.
  • Holm, J. (2000) An introduction to pidgins and creoles. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Hancock, I., and De Camp, D. (eds.) (1974) Pidgins and creoles: current trends and prospects. Washington: Georgetown University Press.
  • Andersen, R. (1983) Pidginization and creolization as language acquisition. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House Publishers.
  • Hymes, D. (ed.) (1971) Pidginization and creolization of languages : proceedings of a conference held at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, April, 1968. Cambridge: CUP.

Sociolinguistic Variation

  • Romaine, S. (2000) Language in society : an introduction to sociolinguistics. Oxford: OUP.
  • Labov, W. (1994) Principles of Linguistic Change – Internal Factors. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Hudson, R. (1996) Sociolinguistics. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Milroy, L. (1987) Language and social networks. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Fasold, R. (1990) Sociolinguistics of language (2 vols.). Oxford: Blackwell.

Performance Errors

  • Aitchison, J. (1994) Words in the Mind: an Introduction to the Mental Lexicon, 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Caplan, D. (1992) Language : structure, processing, and disorders. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
  • Fromkin, V. (1973) Speech errors as linguistic evidence. The Hague: Mouton.
  • Cutler, A. (1982) Speech errors : a classified bibliography. Bloomington, Ind.:Indiana University Linguistics Club.
  • Garnham, A. (1985) Psycholinguistics: central topics. London and NY: Routledge.
  • Ungerer, F. and Schmidt, H. (1996) An introduction to Cognitive linguistics. London and NY: Longman.

Essay titles

Section A

  • Justify the existence of empty categories in syntactic theory. Why do we need so many of them?
  • Within syntactic theory, XPs are often said to move, but there is always a reason for that movement. Discuss some of the ‘reasons for movement’ in this sense, giving examples from English (or any other language you are familiar with) when relevant.
  • Why do we need to posit a level of Logical Form?
  • How can metaphor be accounted for in linguistic theory?
  • ‘Pragmatics is primarily concerned with the difference between what a sentence means and what a hearer understands by that sentence in a conversational context.’ Discuss.
  • Do people always say what they mean?
  • What aspects of language does Speech Act Theory aim to capture?
  • Why might a compositional semantics be desirable within a theory of meaning?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of a truth-functional semantic theory?
  • Explain and illustrate what is meant by ‘enrichment’ and ‘loosening’ in the pragmatic modulation of word meaning.
  • What are the broad differences between a Gricean and a Relevance Theoretic account of conversational implicatures?

Section B

  • ‘A pidgin is not a language. A creole is.’ Discuss.
  • Assess the relative contribution of innate factors and the environment in child language acquisition.
  • What can we learn about out language competence from performance/processing errors?
  • To what extent might we claim that performance errors are ‘rule governed’ in the same way as human natural language is claimed to be?
  • Explain the importance of gender, age, socio-economic class and network strength in Sociolinguistic study.
  • “Sound change is regular and causes irregularity; analogical change is irregular and causes regularity.” (STURTEVANT) Discuss.
  • Strong claims are often made that a given linguistic model is ‘psychologically real’. Does a model need to be psychologically real in order to be scientifically valuable?
  • Do we follow rules when we speak?

Last updated 24th January 2005.