In the first part of the course the main lines of the historical-comparative linguistic paradigm, the structuralist and the generative-transformational paradigm will be treated.
From the historical-comparative paradigm the different way of conceiving the reconstructive process will be analyzed starting from the first generation of the comparatists, and then in the linguistics of naturalistic imprint and in the Neogrammarian's school.
Of the classical structural paradigm (De Saussure and the Schools directly connected to him) the notions of system and structure and the problems posed by the dichotomy synchrony / diachrony will be illustrated, as well as by the overcoming of that dichotomy in the subsequent linguistic reflection.
The problem of variation, directly connected to that of change, will be treated above all in the generational-transformational paradigm. Particular space will be dedicated to the work that can be considered as the foundation of the analysis of linguistic change, the essay by Weinreich / Labov / Herzog, Empirical Foundations for a Theory of Language Change, in Lehmann, W.P. / Malkiel, Y. (Eds), Directions for Historical Linguistics, Austin, University of Texas Press 1968, 95-195.
Subsequently, some phenomena of linguistic change that characterize modern European languages will be examined and the possibility of explanation according to the three different currents of thought studied in the first part of the course will be illustrated.