The course program

Introductory part: the language as a system

History of linguistics

  • What it is all about
  • Synchrony and diachrony
  • Semiotics
  • Properties of linguistic signs
  • Language units
  • Linguistic models and levels
  • Homonymy at various levels

Origins and functions of the natural language

  • Origins of language
  • From the languages of animals to the human language
  • Redundancy in the natural language
  • Properties of the natural language
  • Properties of the natural language
  • Langue and parole
  • Social forms of languages
  • Standard language and dialects
  • Dialect continuum

World languages

  • The comparative method in linguistics
  • Regular sound correspondences
  • Glottochronology
  • Language families
  • A survey of world languages
  • The major writing systems

Grammar and lexicon

  • Lexical vs. grammatical meanings
  • Properties of grammatical meanings
  • Grammaticalization and lexicalization
  • Grammar categories
  • Integral description of the language


  • The basic terms of phonetics
  • Articulatory phonetics
  • Acoustic phonetics
  • Phonology


  • The morpheme
  • The main types of affixes
  • Derivation and inflexion
  • Grammatical means of the languages
  • Morphological typology
  • Historical morphology


  • Sentence and utterance
  • Syntactic structures
  • Consituent grammars
  • Dependency trees
  • Hybrid structures
  • Types of syntactic relations in the Meaning↔Text model
  • SynTagRus, a syntactically tagged corpus of Russian
  • Properties of syntactiс relations
  • Properties of syntactiс structures
  • Syntactic features
  • The depth hypothesis

Lexical semantics

  • History of semantics
  • The ideas of modern semantics
  • Homonymy and synonymy
  • Homonymy and polysemy
  • Types of polysemy
  • Language and mind
  • Linguistic relativity and world view

Semantics and pragmatics

  • Sense and meaning
  • Theory of descriptions
  • Sentence and utterance
  • Propositional attitude, dictum and modus
  • Types of anomalies
  • Presupposition and assertion
  • Communicative structure
  • Modal frame
  • The Gricean maxims of conversation


  • History of lexicography
  • Explanatory dictionaries
  • Systematiс lexicography principles
  • Natural metalanguages
  • Natural Semantic Metalanguage
  • Moscow Semantic School
  • Case study: lexicon of everyday life

Corpus linguistics

  • Linguistics before computer era
  • The computational revolution in linguistics
  • Text corpora and corpus linguistics
  • The National Corpus of the Russian Language