The languages of Latin America: a typological introduction

Course Code :1116FLWTLA
Study domain:Linguistics and Proficiency
Academic year:2019-2020
Semester:2nd semester
Contact hours:20
Study load (hours):84
Contract restrictions: No contract restriction
Language of instruction:English
Exam period:exam in the 2nd semester
Lecturer(s)Olga Krasnoukhova

3. Course contents *

The course will offer a linguistic tour of South America and its native languages. From the history of early human migrations we know that the South American continent had been populated last of all. Despite this fact, South America harbors the greatest linguistic diversity in the world: its 420 living indigenous languages fall into more than 100 language families! Interestingly, half of those constitute ‘one-member’ families, or so-called isolates – a language with no known relatives. Despite this genealogical diversity, many unrelated languages show similarities in their grammatical structure. And some aspects of grammar are quite unusual from a cross-linguistic perspective. Take here, for instance, the encoding of a tense distinction on the noun instead of the verb, or encoding of shape or posture by demonstrative pronouns. Thus, we will also take a look at the indigenous languages of South America from a typological (comparative) perspective. Finally, during the course we will get hands-on experience with reading grammatical descriptions and get a deeper insight into language structures of some South American languages in focus.