Students should have taken introductory (BA-level) courses in Linguistics.
Our focus in this course is on the internal structure of words. We start with the following question: “What exactly is a word?” To answer this question, we will examine the structure of words by considering theoretical and empirical research. Furthermore, we will study the core concepts in morphology, as well as a wide range of possible word-formation processes, both derivational and inflectional. This course will pay specific attention to case studies of word formation that pose a challenge for linguistic analyses (and, as an extra topic, computational language models). The course aims to help you reflect on, as well as explain how current morphological theories contribute to a better understanding of what human language actually is.
By the end of this course, students will have gained:
In-depth knowledge of recent developments in theoretical linguistics;
Insight into the importance of data in morphological theorising;
Insight into the structural aspects of word-formation processes;
Refined analytic skills;
The ability to structure complex information (on the study of words and word formation) orally and in writing.
Mode of instruction
Weekly two-hour seminar.
Presentation, in-term assignments, classroom participation (30%)
Final essay (70%)
The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average. In order to pass the course, a minimum of a 5.5 is required for the final essay.
If the mark for the essay is a 5.49 or lower, a resit essay must be submitted during the resit exam period, with a new topic. There is no resit for presentations and in-term assignments.
Inspection and feedback
Students are entitled to view their marked essay within a period of 30 days, following publication of the results.
Most of the reading will be based on selected chapters from the following book:
Haspelmath, Martin & Andrea Sims. 2010. Understanding Morphology. 2nd Edition.
The book is electronically and physically available through the University Library. Additional reading (book chapters and articles) are available through the Leiden Library Catalogue.
Brightspace will also be used for general information.
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website
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