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This course introduces students to communication theories and models from various historical periods (e.g. Ancient Greece, Early Modern age, nineteenth and twentieth century). It will consider the ideas of such theorists as Aristotle, Plato, Locke, Saussure (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?’.

 

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Objectives


  • 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

 

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Assessment


1) Written assignment (length: 1000 words). (50%).
2) End-of-term quiz (40%).
3) Attendance of tutorials and individual participation (10%)

 

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Texts


The content of the lectures will be chiefly based on the book Signs, Language and Communication by Roy Harris (Routledge, 1996). Students do not necessarily need to read the book but are welcome to give it a try. Instead, students will be provided with a number of readings that supplement the course contents. 

 

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Last updated: 6 July 2018