Data on the course

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LDA-G3103 History of Linguistics, 5 cr 
Code LDA-G3103  Validity 01.01.2017 -
Name History of Linguistics  Abbreviation History of Ling 
Scope5 cr   
TypeAdvanced studies
  GradingGeneral scale 
    Can be taken more than onceno
Unit Master’s programme Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age 

Matti Miestamo 

Target group 

Belongs to MA Programme Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age.

Belongs to module Studies in General Linguistics  (LDA-G3100).

Compulsory for students in the General Linguistics study track in case they have not had a course in the history of linguistics in their BA studies.

The course is available to students from other study tracks and other degree programmes. 






Spring term of first year of master studies, periods 3/4. The course will not be offered in the form of contact teaching every year. In those years when it is not, it may be taken as a book exam or as an independently written essay.


Learning outcomes 

Upon completing the course

  • you will have a comprehensive general picture of the history of linguistic thought and research on languages, as regards both the Western tradition and other important traditions of linguistic thought
  • the main traits of the history of linguistics in Finland and in the Nordic countries are also familiar to you, and you are able to relate them to the larger European tradition
  • you can see the most central issues and research results of contemporary linguistics in their historical context.


Completion methods 

The course will be offered either in the form of contact teaching or as a book exam or an independently written essay.

Attendance requirements will be discussed at course start.


Introduction to general linguistics and phonetics or corresponding studies.

Recommended optional studies 



The course deals with the development of linguistic thought through time. Attention will be paid not only to the Western tradition starting from Ancient Greece, but also Eastern traditions such as the Chinese, Indian and Arabic ones. The course will also address the history of linguistics in the Nordic countries and observe its connections to linguistics elsewhere in Europe. During the course, special attention will be paid to selected themes of importance in contemporary linguistic research – such as universalism or variation – examining their historical roots and their position in the development of linguistic thought.


Study materials and literature 

The following texts are to be read for the 5-credit book exam:

  • K. Allan. 2010. The western classical tradition in linguistics
  • G. Lepschy (ed). 1994. History of Linguistics. The Eastern Traditions of Linguistics
  • E. Hovdhaugen, F. Karlsson, C. Henriksen & B. Sigurd. 2000. The History of Linguistics in the Nordic Countries (selected parts)

When organized as contact teaching, the course readings will consist of a selection of texts taken, e.g., from the above-mentioned works or from publications such as the following. The literature will be communicated to the students at course start.

  • R. H. Robins. 1997. A Short History of Linguistics 
  • P. Seuren. 1998. Western Linguistics - an Historical Introduction.
  • R. Harris & T. J. Taylor. 1997. Landmarks in Linguistis Thought I. The Western Tradition from Socrates to Saussure. 
  • K. Allan (toim). 2013. The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics.



Activities and teaching methods in support of learning 

When organized in the form of contact teaching, the course will consist of lectures, group discussions, presentations by students and/or other suitable activities.


Assessment practices and criteria 

Course organized in the form of contact teaching: student presentations and/or discussion group reports and/or learning diary; other assessment methods may also apply.

Alternatively book exam or essay.

Grading scale: 0-5.

The assessment practices used are directly linked to the learning outcomes and teaching methods of the course.


Current and future instruction
Functions Name Type cr Teacher Schedule
registration period has not begun History of Linguistics /KIK-LG206  Course  Heini Arjava,
Therese Lindström Tiedemann 
11.03.20 -08.04.20 wed 12.15-13.45
wed 14.15-15.45
22.04.20wed 12.15-13.45
wed 14.15-15.45

Future examinations
No examinations in WebOodi