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 its prerequisites are, and how they align with everyday personal experience. Students will be introduced to some of the key thinkers (in linguistics and philosophy) 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 such theorists as Aristotle, Plato, Locke, Saussure, Grice (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 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?’.
- To enable students to gain an insight into how linguists and philosophers theorize communication
- To foster students’ critical thinking about theory
- To enable them to put historical discourses into their proper place and context
- To encourage them to rely on their own communicational experience as language-users in assessing theories of language and communication
- To enable them to understand the differences between ‘integrationist’ and ‘segregationist’ theories of communication
1) Written assignment (length: 1000 words). (45%).
2) End-of-term quiz (40%).
3) Attendance of tutorials and individual participation (15%)
Harris, Roy. 1996. Signs, Language and Communication. London: Routledge.