Students are brought up to date on the range of theories in linguistics and communication studies, their points of overlap and differences among them, and current debates. The course is the entry class for the Research Master's programme Language and Communication; it aims to provide students with an explanation for why these two fields are best combined.
At the end of the course, the student can
- understand the relationship between language and communication;
- describe recent theorizing on the origin of language as a means of human communication;
- describe the contribution of linguistics and communication sciences to the description and explanation of language and language use;
- evaluate contributions to the academic debate and defend positions.
In this course, we focus on language as a uniquely human instrument and introduce various perspectives on how it is studied. We start with the state of the art on what has made human communication possible and why and how it has probably come about. Next, we survey the various different traditions in linguistics and the communication sciences, concentrating on how they could be seen as natural and complementary counterparts. However, we also look at explanations of the language faculty in the domain of linguistics in which the communicative function of language plays no role, and approaches to communication that do not privilege language as the primary vehicle for conveying meaning.