This core course following LCOM1001 examines theoretical discussions of language and communication, with special reference to underlying assumptions about language (starting from the classical period). It aims at gaining an understanding of the merits and shortcomings inherent in the various models of verbal communication proposed, and encourages students to think of them as historically and ideologically connected. We shall hence consider the various traditions contributing to language theory and communication theory, such as the 'structuralist', the 'variationist', the 'cognitive', the 'sociocultural', the 'ethnographic', the 'behaviouristic', the 'semiotic', the 'integrational' and the 'pragmatist' traditions. Particular emphasis will be placed on how various strands of sociolinguistic theory deal with language (and how in turn it relates to communication).
Students will study a selection of influential Western theories of language and communication, as proposed by semioticians, linguists, sociologists and communication scholars. The emphasis will be on a critical reflection of what (often unstated) assumptions underly these theories (i.e. their philosophies of language), and how the theories came into being at all. At the end of this course students will able to assess the merits and shortcomings of thinking about language and (verbal) communication in a variety of ways.
The primary requirements for this course are an in-class test (40%) and an individual research paper (60%).
Last updated: 19 July 2016