Reference Points for theDesign and Delivery of Degree Programmes in Linguistics

Catrin S. Rhys, Manuel Celio Conceicao, Istvan Kenesei, Nemira Macianskiene, Stefan Oltean, Jon Ortiz de Urbina, Paul Rowlett, Jan-Wouter Zwart

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


The document, Reference Points for the Design and Delivery of Degree Programmes in Linguistics, is an attempt to chart the main characteristics of linguistics as an academic discipline practised in universities across Europe, and to articulate the main features of degree programmes in linguistics and related areas of study. Modern linguistics is distinguished by an emphasis on the highly structured nature of language and linguistic behaviour and the development of a range of discipline specific methodologies to elucidate these structures from a formalist or functionalist perspective. Moreover, a range of viewpoints on language emerge from formal, sociological and psychological perspectives, as well as from practical concerns such as language teaching. Because of this, much of linguistics is interdisciplinary in both the issues it addresses and the methodologies brought to bear. Linguistics is thus represented in the document as including a vital core of the systematic, theoretical and empirical study of the structure, function and use of language in all its forms (spoken, written and signed), along with sub-disciplines that apply this structured perspective to questions of language acquisition, language production and processing and language variation and change. In addition to these sub-disciplines of linguistics, it is recognized that a linguistic perspective may be applied to the analysis of language in the context of other areas of human activity (inter alia: technology; education; translation; intercultural communication; language disorders). The present document is thus, by definition, a very broad-based account of academic practice in our field of study. It is not meant to provide a checklist of academic standards, but rather to capture the vital core of linguistics as a subject area whilst also allowing for the diversity in curriculum design that stems from the variability in perspective, emphasis and degrees of specialisation evident in different institutional contexts as well as different national contexts. In this sense, our document is descriptive and aspirational rather than prescriptive.The document has been prepared by a team of experts from across Europe, representing a broad spectrum of academic specialisms and a diversity of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and operating both within their specific cultural and academic traditions and across political and linguistic boundaries in international and transnational contexts. The composition of the team has ensured that our work has been informed by a broad range of subject expertise as well as by practical experience of academia at different levels and in a variety of political, cultural, and educational contexts; at the same time, however, if you have any comments, please direct them to Ingrid van der Meer (
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUnknown Publisher
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2012


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