*Note: Students admitted in 2020-21 or before may choose LCOM1003. Students admitted in 2021-22 and thereafter may only choose ENGL1058.*
This course offers an overview of the major currents in linguistic theory with a focus on communication theory, i.e. how the fact of (human) communication is explained, what assumptions underlie the various theories, and how they align with everyday personal experience. Students will be introduced to some of the key thinkers who have theorized communication, and will be asked to engage and interact with each one of them by drawing on their critical reflection and lay experience.
This course introduces students to communication theories and models from various historical periods (e.g. Ancient Greece, Early Modern age, nineteenth and twentieth centuries). It will consider the ideas of Aristotle, Plato, John Locke, C.S. Peirce, F. Saussure, H. Grice and Roy Harris (among others) and subject them to critical scrutiny. Emphasis will also be placed on discussing alternative theories of language and communication which attempt to take into account the individual’s lay experience, and therefore also foster a discussion of the importance of communication in our lives. The overarching question of this course, in fact, will be: ‘What is communication, and why does it matter to know?’.
This course will enable students
- to critically engage with the contents and (future) applicability of the course
- to engage critically with communication and language theory
- to develop an understanding of how to put historical discourses into their proper place and context
- to learn to trust their own communicational experience in assessing communication theories
- to acquire an understanding of the differences between ‘integrationist’ and ‘segregationist’ theories
1) A 500-word reflection on the course (20%)
2) A short essay (length: 1000 words) (40%).
3) In-class quiz (30%).
4) Attendance of tutorials and individual participation (10%)
Harris, Roy. 1996. Signs, Language and Communication. London: Routledge