cod. 1011071

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - First semester
Domenico Giuseppe MUSCIANISI
Academic discipline
Glottologia e linguistica (L-LIN/01)
Filologia, linguistica e letteratura
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit


Learning objectives

The course Indo-European Civilization mod. B aims at an introduction to Indo-European languages and culture, after an investigation of inherited linguistic and cultural aspects (society, religion, poetry). A specific focus deals with Sanskrit (and Old Indo-Aryan) with a literary insight on the episode od Śakuntalā, the heroine of the Indic “Iliad” (Mahābhārata), whose recognition consists of the turns the outcome of the cosmic war as told in the epics. At the end of the course students will be able with (1) the identification of the cultural treats that distinguish the Indo-European languages and peoples, (2) the recognition of the most important linguistic aspects of Proto-Indo-European and Indo-Aryan, in particular, and (3) the reconstruction of the most common Proto-Indo-European roots.


No specific requirements.

Course unit content

– Foundations of historical linguistics: language families and genealogical classification.

– Indo-European languages and culture: description, geography, history and sources.

– Proto-Indo-European and Sanskrit (Old Indo-Aryan): foundations of linguistics and reconstruction, introduction to the devanāgarī script.

– Śakuntalā: love, rejection and recognition in classical Sanskrit epics.

Full programme

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– In-class notes, teaching materials and exercises on Elly2023.

– MILIZIA, Paolo. 2002. Le lingue indoeuropee. Roma: Carocci. ISBN 978-88-430-2330-1.

– ROSSELLA, Daniela (a cura di). 2002. Storia di Śakuntalā (Mahābhārata 1, 62–69). Venezia: Marsilio. ISBN 978-88-317-5505-4.

Further personal readings:

– LURAGHI, Silvia. 2016 [2021]. Introduzione alla linguistica storica. 2ª ed. Roma: Carocci. ISBN 978-88-290-0531-4.

– TRAUTMANN, Thomas R. 2014. La civiltà dell’India. Bologna: Il Mulino. ISBN 978-88-15-24807-7.

Teaching methods

Traditional lecture with in-class and home exercises of analysis and reconstruction. Because the course is both introductory and technical, students are warmly invited to an active participation.

Assessment methods and criteria

Final oral examination based that aims at testing (1) the knowledge of the comparative and historical method within Indo-European studies, (2) linguistic analysis and reconstruction skills, and (3) clear exposition and argumentation with the use of the technical vocabulary. More in detail:
– a fail depends on a lack of knowledge of the basic fundamental contents, a lack of technical vocabulary and failure in resolving the proposed exercises, a lack of autonomous judgement, analysis, argumentation and communication of the contents;
– scores 18–23/30 reveal minimal performance;
– scores 24–25/30 reveal an adequate performance;
– scores 28–30/30 reveal a very good performance and 30/30 cum laude reveals an excellent performance.

Other information

Lectures and in-class exercises consist of an occasion for strengthening and self-evaluation of the program. Students who cannot regularly attend lectures can download all the materials from Elly2022 and can autonomously use the textbooks indicated as "further readings" in the bibliography section. Thus, they can take the exam as described in the specific section of this syllabus.