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Part IIB

Theoretical and Applied Linguistics


LI5: Linguistic Theory

This paper is available for the academic year 2023-24.

The aim of the Linguistic theory paper is specifically to integrate the knowledge which Linguistics Tripos finalists acquire in their individual specialist linguistics papers and their general reading and thinking about language. It will thus be a true 'general' paper, whose purpose is to stimulate thinking about language and linguistic theory at a high level. All topics will therefore aim to do one or more of the following: to cross sub-disciplinary boundaries and/or to question them, to place the description of specific phenomena in the context of general linguistic theory, to raise questions of methodology common to more than one linguistic subdiscipline, to address the notion of linguistic theory, and to relate linguistics to its broader scientific and intellectual context.

Preparation will be primarily that for the specialist papers, with sessions in alternate weeks of the Michaelmas and Lent terms for Linguistics Tripos finalists.


More information is available from the Moodle course for this paper (link below).

Preparatory reading: 

Anderson S. and D. Lightfoot (2002) The Language Organ. Cambridge University Press.
Fromkin, V. et al (2000) Linguistics: an introduction to linguistic theory. Oxford: Blackwell.
Jackendoff, R. (2002) Foundations of Language. Oxford University Press.
Newmeyer, F. (2005) Possible and Probable Languages. Oxford: OUP.
Radford, A. et al. (1999) Linguistics: an introduction. Cambridge:CUP.
Smith, N. (1999) Chomsky: Ideas and Ideals. Cambridge University Press.

Teaching and learning: 

The paper's Moodle site can be found here.


Assessment will be take home coursework assessment.

Two essays to be submitted online during the exam period (each essay should be no more than 1500 words). Each answer contributes half of the total mark.

Course Contacts: 
Prof Napoleon Katsos