Analysis of a less-familiar language

This course is part of the programme
Master's Degree Programme Humanities Studies

Objectives and competences

Students will face an unknown language and will have to analyze it using various (in class) field methods. Learning about a different language and its unfamiliar patterns gives a whole new perspective on language and the universal grammar linguistics is after.


This course is related to all other courses, in particular to those in the language curriculum. Before taking this course the students have to take the three mandatory courses (Phonetics & phonology, Syntax, and Semantics).


In this course we will be studying an unfamiliar language with the help of a native speaker. We'll try to determine some basic phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic properties of that particular language.
During recitations, the students may work with the native speaker on their project.

Intended learning outcomes

-Description of a small and well-defined portion of the structure of a lesser known language at a particular grammatical level: phonology, morphology or syntax.


  • Grammar of concrete language.
  • Articles and monographs dealing with concrete language.
  • Any other literature related to the specific language.


Attending lectures, a ca. 15-page term paper, active participation in in-class discussions, homework.

Lecturer's references

STEPANOV, Arthur, STATEVA, Penka. Countability, agreement and the loss of the dual in Russian. Journal of linguistics. Nov. 2018, vol. 54, no. 4, str. 779-821.

STEPANOV, Arthur, STATEVA, Penka. Interrogative Slifting : more syntactic, less parenthetical. Glossa. 2016, vol. 1, iss. 1, str. 1-33.

STEPANOV, Arthur, MUŠIČ, Manca, STATEVA, Penka. Asymmetries in sub-extraction out of NP in Slovenian : a magnitude estimation study. V: ILC, Gašper (ur.), et al. Sodobne smernice v tvorbenem jezikoslovju = Current trends in generative linguistics. Ljubljana: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete: = Presses scientifiques de la Faculté des Lettres, 2016. [letn.] 56, str. 253-271