UCL Module Catalogue


Foundations of Linguistics (PLIN0048)

Key information

Faculty of Brain Sciences
Teaching department
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences
Credit value

Alternative credit options

There are no alternative credit options available for this module.


A selection from the following topics will be covered:

  • Linguistics as a branch of the cognitive sciences.
  • The history of modern linguistics
  • Key concepts in theoretical linguistics
  • Different approaches to language acquisition
  • Biological and ethological approaches to language
  • Language vs. Communication
  • Mental modularity
  • Natural language and the language of thought


The main module aims are:

- To introduce Linguistics as part of cognitive science.

- To provide background on the philosophical and theoretical foundations of linguistics.

- To make links between the different sub-disciplines of linguistics.


The main module objectives are:

- That students appreciate the scientific methodology of theoretical linguistics.

- That students are aware of different philosophical and theoretical positions regarding the nature of human language.

- That students have some sense of the overall architecture of the human faculty of language and its place in the mind.

- That students learn about the history of theoretical linguistics.

- That students are able to both write about and make presentations about issues in theoretical linguistics.


Module deliveries for 2020/21 academic year

Intended teaching term: Terms 1 and 2     Postgraduate (FHEQ Level 7)

Teaching and assessment

Mode of study
Methods of assessment
100% Portfolio of coursework
Mark scheme
Numeric Marks

Other information

Number of students on module in previous year
Module leader
Dr Richard Breheny
Who to contact for more information

Last updated

This module description was last updated on 5th March 2020.