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Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Basics of language Science

Indian Institute of Technology Madras and NPTEL via Swayam


Language is an integral part of our identity in the sense that it defines our being. This course offers answers to most of the curiosities that comes to our mind when we think about how we acquired the capacity of language as a child. This course leads us into understanding the relationship between language, our mind, and the society that we live in. This course helps us deal with the three major aspects of language namely, structure at the level of sounds, words, and sentences, acquisition or learning of it, and the variations within and among languages. INTENDED AUDIENCE :MA, BA, and Research Scholars in the area of language, linguistics, and language teachingPREREQUISITES : None INDUSTRIES SUPPORT :Any company, institute, or organization dealing with language and/or artificial intelligence will value this course.


Lecture 1 - Introduction of the Course
Lecture 2 - What is linguistics? What is language? How do we study language?
Lecture 3 - Language and arbitrariness, and language and dialect
Lecture 4 - E vs I language, Language as a rule-governed system
Lecture 5 - Language faculty, Language in human mind
Lecture 6 - How do we learn language?
Lecture 7 - Language acquisition
Lecture 8 - Innateness: Some essential concepts
Lecture 9 - Structure of language at the level of sounds
Lecture 10 - Sounds (vocal apparatus)
Lecture 11- Places and manners of articulation
Lecture 12 - Word formation / phonotactic rules
Lecture 13 - Rules of word formation (singular – plural)
Lecture 14 - Sentence: An introduction
Lecture 15 - Making of a sentence (components)
Lecture 16 - Grammaticality and acceptability
Lecture 17 - Subject and verb in a sentence
Lecture 18 - Sentence: Objects and verbs
Lecture 19 - Phrase structure
Lecture 20 - X-bar theory
Lecture 21 - Specifier and complement
Lecture 22 - Compliments and adjuncts
Lecture 23 - VP components
Lecture 24 - Category selections, Selectional restrictions on verbs
Lecture 25 - Thematic relations
Lecture 26 - Case
Lecture 27 - Morphological and abstract case
Lecture 28 – Structural case
Lecture 29 - Exceptional Case Marking
Lecture 30 - Movement
Lecture 31 - Motivations for movement
Lecture 32 - Questions and movement
Lecture 33 - Passives and NP movement
Lecture 34 - Movement and raising
Lecture 35 – Binding theory and NP interpretations
Lecture 36 - Principles of binding theory
Lecture 37 - Constraints on movements
Lecture 38 - Structure of language and negation
Lecture 39 - Negation and negative polarity items
Lecture 40 - Structure, language, cognition and pragmatics
Lecture 41 - History of generative paradigm in the study of language
Lecture 42 - Language in society, education, and culture

Taught by

Prof. Rajesh Kumar



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