Basics of language Science

By Prof. Rajesh Kumar   |   IIT Madras
Learners enrolled: 1690
Language is an integral part of our identity in the sense that it defines our being. This course offers answers to most of the curiosities that comes to our mind when we think about how we acquired the capacity of language as a child. This course leads us into understanding the relationship between language, our mind, and the society that we live in. This course helps us deal with the three major aspects of language namely, structure at the level of sounds, words, and sentences, acquisition or learning of it, and the variations within and among languages.

MA, BA, and Research Scholars in the area of language, linguistics, and language teaching
INDUSTRIES  SUPPORT     : Any company, institute, or organization dealing with language and/or artificial intelligence will value this course.
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit Points : 3
Level : Undergraduate/Postgraduate
Start Date : 24 Jan 2022
End Date : 15 Apr 2022
Enrollment Ends : 07 Feb 2022
Exam Date : 23 Apr 2022 IST

Note: This exam date is subjected to change based on seat availability. You can check final exam date on your hall ticket.

Page Visits

Course layout

Lecture 1 - Introduction of the Course
Lecture 2 - What is linguistics? What is language? How do we study language?
Lecture 3 - Language and arbitrariness, and language and dialect
Lecture 4 - E vs I language, Language as a rule-governed system
Lecture 5 - Language faculty, Language in human mind
Lecture 6 - How do we learn language?
Lecture 7 - Language acquisition
Lecture 8 - Innateness: Some essential concepts
Lecture 9 - Structure of language at the level of sounds
Lecture 10 - Sounds (vocal apparatus)
Lecture 11- Places and manners of articulation
Lecture 12 - Word formation / phonotactic rules
Lecture 13 - Rules of word formation (singular – plural)
Lecture 14 - Sentence: An introduction
Lecture 15 - Making of a sentence (components)
Lecture 16 - Grammaticality and acceptability
Lecture 17 - Subject and verb in a sentence
Lecture 18 - Sentence: Objects and verbs
Lecture 19 - Phrase structure
Lecture 20 - X-bar theory
Lecture 21 - Specifier and complement
Lecture 22 - Compliments and adjuncts
Lecture 23 - VP components
Lecture 24 - Category selections, Selectional restrictions on verbs
Lecture 25 - Thematic relations
Lecture 26 - Case
Lecture 27 - Morphological and abstract case
Lecture 28 – Structural case
Lecture 29 - Exceptional Case Marking
Lecture 30 - Movement
Lecture 31 - Motivations for movement
Lecture 32 - Questions and movement
Lecture 33 - Passives and NP movement
Lecture 34 - Movement and raising
Lecture 35 – Binding theory and NP interpretations
Lecture 36 - Principles of binding theory
Lecture 37 - Constraints on movements
Lecture 38 - Structure of language and negation
Lecture 39 - Negation and negative polarity items
Lecture 40 - Structure, language, cognition and pragmatics
Lecture 41 - History of generative paradigm in the study of language
Lecture 42 - Language in society, education, and culture

Books and references

Government and Binding Theory by Lilian Heageman (Blackwell)

Instructor bio

Prof. Rajesh Kumar

IIT Madras
Rajesh Kumar, PhD (Illinois) 
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Chennai 600 036, TN, India
Phone : +91 (44) 2257 4537

For more details click here.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 23 April 2022 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras .It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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