2023-2024 / LING0018-1

Questions of general linguistics


30h Th

Number of credits

 Master in ancient and modern languages and literatures (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in French and Romance languages and literatures : general (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in French and Romance languages and literatures : general (60 ECTS)5 crédits 


Nicolas Mazziotta

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course will focus on the work of Émile Benveniste. We will read a selection of his works, as well as papers that extend or criticize his thought. 

Émile Benveniste (1902-1976) is one of the great figures of 20th century linguistics. Continuing Saussure's ideas, he constantly recalls the fundamentals while proposing new directions of research. Benveniste's linguistic work is of utmost thoroughness, although it is rooted in reality (the world, social interactions, institutions) and not purely abstract.

We will mainly focus on two aspects of his work:

  • the foundations of structuralist linguistics and the definition of language (especially the question of the distinction between language and animal communication);
  • the initial proposals concerning the so-called "linguistique de l'énonciation" (notably concerning the question of the nature of personal pronouns), in a way, a linguistics of discourse, left aside by Saussure.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

Students will develop the following skills

  • understand a linguistic text;
  • present a linguistic reasoning;
  • present their personal views on a linguistic issue.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

General knowledge of theoretical linguistic notions is required.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Lessons and student presentation (if the health situation allows it)

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:


Recommended or required readings

  • Benveniste, É. 1966. Problèmes de linguistique générale, 1. Gallimard.
  • Benveniste, É. 1974. Problèmes de linguistique générale, 2. Gallimard.
Additional Papers at study will be shared on ecampus

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

- Remote

oral exam

Written work / report

Additional information:

Reading report on a specific question. The report will be discussed during the oral examination. 

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

Teaching in Q2, Tue, from 2PM to 4PM. Please contact the professor if you experience any problem with the schedule.


Nicolas Mazziotta, chargé de cours: nicolas.mazziotta@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs