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122224 SE Linguistics Seminar (historical & descriptive linguistics) (2012W)

What it's like to be a word (... or any other constituent of a language, really)

10.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work

Oral presentations will be given at a seminar conference taking place from Fri 30-11-2012, 14.00 to Sat 01-12-2012, 16:00. Full participation in the conference is mandatory, so please bear this in mind when registering for the course.

Registration/Deregistration

Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first serve).

Details

max. 18 participants
Language: English

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Monday 08.10. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Monday 15.10. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Monday 22.10. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Monday 29.10. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Monday 05.11. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Monday 12.11. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Monday 19.11. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Monday 26.11. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Friday 30.11. 16:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Raum 4 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-19
Saturday 01.12. 09:00 - 16:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Raum 4 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-19
Monday 03.12. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Monday 10.12. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Monday 17.12. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Monday 07.01. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Monday 14.01. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Monday 21.01. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09
Monday 28.01. 11:00 - 13:00 Raum 2 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-09

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

In this course we explore the possibility of viewing languages - or rather their constituents - as mental viruses that 'infect' human brains and govern human behaviour for the ultimately 'selfish' purpose of their own reproduction. Since this view differs radically from the familiar common-sense notion that languages are best understood as tools that humans use for communication and cognition, we shall base our discussion on a generalised version of Darwinian Evolutionary Theory, so as to keep it sufficiently constrained and disciplined. Participants will select supposedly well-understood linguistic phenomena of their own perference and attempt to reconceptualize them from the point-of-view of the linguistic constituents they involve. Please note that this seminar questions and challenges beliefs that most of us will be used to and that some of us may even hold dear. It may therefore cause (transitory) states of confusedness and intellectual disorientation, and addresses participants with little or no fear of the unknown.

Assessment and permitted materials

Assessment will take the following aspects into account:
Classroom participation, bibliographical work, project design, reports on project work, oral presentations at the seminar conference, and a written seminar paper.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

To develop an awareness of the fact that there is nothing 'god-given' or 'natural' about established approaches to language which try to understand them almost exclusively from the point of view of their speakers, to develop our skills at the disciplined application of clearly defined theoretical assumptions in order to develop new and truly surprising perspectives on language, and to free our minds from the intellectual prison of common-sense.

Examination topics

Classroom introduction to generalised evolutionary theory, guided excercises in the deconstruction and reconceptualisation of apparently well-understood linguistic phenomena, oral presentation of research projects and critical discussion, guided production of written papers.

Oral presentations will be given at a seminar conference taking place from Fri 30-11-2012, 14.00 to Sat 01-12-2012, 16:00. Full participation in the conference is mandatory, so please bear this in mind when registering for the course.

Reading list

Will be announced. For introductory purposes, look at a video talk by Daniel C. Dennett
under <http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_dennett_on_dangerous_memes.html>

and/or consult

Blackmore, Susan. 1998. The meme machine. Oxford: University Press.
Dawkins, Richard. 1976. The selfish gene. Oxford: University Press.
Dennett, Daniel C.. 1998. Memes: Myths, Misunderstandings and Misgivings. <http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/MEMEMYTH.FIN.htm>
Ritt, Nikolaus.1995. Language change as evolution: looking for linguistic ‘genes’. VIEW[z] 4. 43-56. <http://anglistik.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/dep_anglist/weitere_Uploads/Views/views951.pdf>
Ritt, Nikolaus. 1996. Darwinising historical linguistics: applications of a dangerous idea. VIEW[z] 5.27-46. <http://anglistik.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/dep_anglist/weitere_Uploads/Views/views96.pdf>

Association in the course directory

Studium: Diplom 343, UF 344, ME 812;
Code/Modul: Diplom 222, 226/228, 236/238, 721-723, 821, UF 4.2.3-222, M04
Lehrinhalt: 12-0145

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:33