Did you ever wonder why humans speak and animals don’t? Why we have such weird things as subordinate sentences, suffixes and agreement? And how come that the basic matter human language is made of (about 20 to 60 different sounds) is enough to create a multi-volume bestseller such as Harry Potter?
If yes, you will enjoy this basic lecture in (contact) linguistics, the scientific approach to human language(s), which also includes a geographical perspective. We will read and discuss some key texts of the discipline, and learn some basic terminology and linguistic reasoning in order to prepare your next steps into the world of human language, with (individual departments for English, German, Romance, Slavic languages etc.) or without (general linguistics, computational linguistics etc.) a focus on a specific language (family). This class allows you also to acquire credits for any BA program at UZH which linguistics is a part of (except Italian).