G-LSUD4 LingSp498 Language Change

Course type



The course aims to shed light on the various factors (causes, mechanisms) –of both an external and an internal nature– that play a role in language change. We also address some of the central problems in the study of syntactic/phonological/morphological/semantic change: stability and change, the role of sociolinguistic factors, first language acquisition and “internal” change, how languages begin and end.


A. The inevitability of language change

  1. Studying changes in progress

B. Transition

  1. Syntactic change
  2. Phonological change
  3. Morphological change
  4. Semantic change

C. Causation

  1. Sociolinguistic causes
  2. Inherent causes
  3. Therapeutic changes
  4. Chain reaction changes

D. Origin and ending

  1. Language birth
  2. Language death

 Learning outcomes and competences:

  1. Understanding how languages change; discuss reasons for language change; identify and analyse changes in the use of spoken language at discourse, sentence and word level;
  2. Mastering the methods of describing linguistic changes; discuss and analyse data concerning the origin and spread of language change;
  3. Practically apply historical linguistic methodology to analyse linguistic data; understand the principle of how changes diffuse: through a speech community, from language to language, and through language structure.

Assessment: Final written exam and optional assignments.


Teaching hours: 3 | Credits: 3 | ECTS: 6

The course is not currently offerred.