GATE 2021 Exam Syllabus for Linguistics (XH-C3) 

Linguistics (XH-C3)

C3.1 Language and Linguistics: Language spoken, written and signed; description and prescription; language and cultural heritage; language and social identity; language as an object of inquiry – its structure, units and components; design features; writing systems; biological foundations and language faculty; linguistic competence and performance; levels of grammar; contrast and complementation; rules – context dependent and context free; levels of adequacy for analysis; interdisciplinary approaches; schools of linguistic thought (European, American) and the Indian Grammatical Tradition.


C3.2 Levels of Grammar and Grammatical Analysis:

  1. Phonetics and Phonology: vocal tract anatomy; phonation; articulatory parameters; classification of sounds; gestural theory of speech production; cardinal vowels; secondary and co-articulation; suprasegmentals – length, stress, tone, intonation and juncture; IPA; basic physics of sound and of phonation and articulation; acoustic cues for speech sounds; organisation of phones into phonemes; phoneme inventories and cross-linguistic properties; syllable structure and phonological properties; principles of phonological analysis – phonetic similarity, contrastive and complementary distribution, free variation, allophones; linear and non-linear approaches; levels of representation; phonological rules; distinctive features (major class, manner, place, etc.); feature geometry; rule ordering, markedness and unspecified featural values; core principles of lexical phonology, optimality theory, autosegmental phonology and prosodic morphology.
  2. Morphology: Concepts of morpheme, morph, allomorph, zero allomorph, conditions on allomorphs; lexeme and word; types of morphemes – structural and functional; affixes vs clitics; grammatical categories; morphological theories – generative, lexicalist, process and distributed morphology; identification of morphemes and parts of speech; alternation; morphophonology; inflection vs. derivation; conjugation and declension; word creation and word formation rules and processes; creativity and productivity, blocking, bracketing paradoxes, constraints on affix ordering; mental lexicon; lexical categories; valency changing operations.
  3. Syntax: Basic syntactic units and their types: word, phrase, clause, sentence and their description and generation; grammatical and case relations; key ideas from syntactic theories, Generative Grammars including Minimalist Program, HPSG, Relational Grammar and Lexical Functional Grammar; phrase structure rules (including X-bar theory); universal grammar and cross-linguistic properties; idea of grammaticality judgements; solving the language acquisition problem; diagnostics of structure; syntactic phenomena such as movement, binding, ellipses, case-checking, islands, argument structure etc.; unergatives and unaccusatives.
  4. Semantics and Pragmatics: Types of meaning, lexical and compositional; syntax- semantics interface (semantic roles, binding, scope, LF etc.);sense and reference, connotation and denotation, lexical semantic relations (homonymy, hypo/hypernymy, antonymy, synonymy, ambiguity); prototype theory and componential analysis; sentence meaning and truth conditions, contradictions, entailment; basic set theory; propositions, truth values, sentential connectives; arguments, predicates, quantifiers, variables; in/definiteness, mood and modality; language use in context; sentence meaning and utterance meaning; speech acts; deixis; presupposition and implicature: Gricean maxims; information structure; politeness, power and solidarity; discourse analysis.


C3.3 Historical Linguistics: Neogrammarian laws of phonetic change such as Grimm’s, Verner’s, Grassmann’s Laws; genesis and spread of sound change; split and merger; conditioned vs. unconditioned change; lexical diffusion of sound change; analogical changes and paradigm levelling; relative chronology of different changes; study of sound change in progress; morphosyntactic (syncretism, grammaticalisation and lexicalisation) and semantic change (extension, narrowing, figurative speech); linguistic reconstruction – external vs. internal: the comparative method; lexicostatistics; language contact and dialect geography – borrowing and impact of borrowing; pidgins and creoles; bi- and multilingualism as the source for borrowing; dialect geography – dialect atlas; isogloss, focal, transition and relic areas.


C3.4 Sociolinguistics: Micro-and macro approaches to language in society; linguistic repertoire language, dialect, sociolect, idiolect; diglossia; taboo, slang and euphemism; elaborated and restricted codes; speech community and communicative competence;  ethnography of speaking; lingua franca; diasporic language; linguistic variables and their co- variation along linguistic/social dimensions; language policies and development (especially in India); language contact and outcomes (language loss, pidginization and creolization); code- mixing and code-switching; language movements – state and societal interventions; script development and modifications; linguistic minorities; language ecology and endangerment linguistic vitality, language endangerment (EGIDS scale), parameters of endangerment, documentation and revitalisation.


C3.5 Areal Typology, Universals, Cross-linguistic Features: morphological types of languages agglutinative, analytical (isolating), synthetic fusional (inflecting), polysynthetic (incorporating) languages; formal and substantive universals, absolute and statistical universals; implicational and non-implicational universals (Greenberg); linguistic relatedness—genetic, typological and areal classification of languages; universals and parametric variation; word order typology; salient features of South Asian languages – Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic, and Tibeto-Burman language families; Linguistic Survey of India; contact induced typological change.


C3.6 Methods of analysis: Experimental and non-experimental methods; sampling and tools; identification of variables and their variants; data processing and interpretation; quantitative analysis of data; ethnomethodology; participant observation; field methods and elicitation; document creation; ethics.


C3.7 Applied Linguistics

(Can be expanded to include Interdisciplinary areas that focus on language and Language Teaching depending on interest and requirement.)

Example: Psycholinguistics: the study of how humans learn, represent, comprehend, and produce language. Topics include word recognition and storage, sentence production and comprehension, reading, speech perception, language acquisition, neural representation of language, bilingualism, and language disorders.