Updated NTA UGC NET Syllabus for Linguistics (2019)



(w.e.f. June 2019)


The UGC has revised the pattern and scheme of exam from December 2018. The pattern of exam has been changed from 3 papers (Paper I, II & III) to 2 papers (Paper I & II). Now, there are 50 MCQs in Paper 1 and 100 MCQs in Paper 2. Each question carries 2 marks without any NEGATIVE marking for wrong answer.

According to NEW SYLLABUS (June 2019 onwards) and new pattern (since Dec 2018), the exam would be Online Mode. 

The UGC NET exam would be computer based like bank PO, SSC exam. the Paper 2 will have 100 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) with each question carrying two (2) marks i.e. 200 marks in total. The objective type questions will include multiple choices, matching type, true/false and assertion-reasoning type etc.

The New Syllabus of Linguistics for UGC NET Exam June 2019 onward will be as follows:


Unit-1: Language and Linguistics

Nature of Language: Language in spoken and written modes, language as written text—philological and literary notions i.e., norm, purity and their preservation; language as a cultural heritage—codification and transmission of cultural knowledge and behavior; language as a marker of social identity; language as an object i.e., notion of autonomy, structure and its units and components; design Features of language; writing system—units of writing—sound (alphabetic), or syllable (syllabic) and morpheme/word (logographic), sign language; existence of language faculty; linguistic competence, ideal speaker-hearer.

Approaches to the Study of Language: Ancient approaches to the study of language: Indian and Greco-Roman, semiotic approach—interpretation of sign; language as a system of social behaviour—use of language in family, community and country; language as a system of communication—communicative functions—emotive, conative, referential, poetic, metalinguistic and phatic; language as a cognitive system; relation with culture and thought (Linguistic Relativity); Saussurean dichotomies: signifier and signified, langue and parole, synchronic and diachronic, syntagmatic and paradigmatic.

Language Analysis: Levels and their hierarchy—phonetic/phonological, morphological, syntactic and semantic/pragmatic; their interrelations; linguistic units and their distribution at different levels; notions of contrast and complementation; -emic and -etic categorisation; notion of rule at different levels; description vs. explanation of grammatical facts.

Linguistics and other Fields: Relevance of Linguistics to other fields of enquiry—Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, Neurology, Speech Sciences, Geography, Psychology, Education, Computer Science and Literature.


Unit 2. Phonetics and Phonology


Phonetics as a study of speech sounds: articulatory, auditory, and acoustic phonetics.

Articulatory Phonetics: Processes of speech production: airstream process, oro-nasal process, phonation process, and articulatory process; classification of speech sounds: vowels and consonants, cardinal vowels (primary and secondary); complex articulation: secondary articulation, coarticulation; syllable; suprasegmentals—length, stress, tone, intonation and juncture; phonetic transcription: International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Acoustic Phonetics: Sound waves— simple and complex, periodic and aperiodic; harmonics; frequency and fundamental frequency, amplitude, duration; resonance, filters, spectrum, spectrogram; formants, transition, burst; voice onset time; aspiration; noise spectra; cues for speech sounds: vowel (monophthong and diphthong), semivowel, stop, fricative, nasal, lateral, glide, places of articulation of consonants.


Descriptive Phonology: Phonetics vs. phonology; concept of phoneme, phone and allophone; principles of phonemic analysis— phonetic similarity, contrastive distribution, complementary distribution, free variation, pattern congruity; notions of biuniqueness, neutralization and archiphoneme.

Generative Phonology: Linear and non-linear approaches: levels of phonological representation; phonological rules; distinctive features (major class, manner, place, etc.); abstractness controversy; rule ordering and types of rule ordering, markedness; principles of lexical phonology; principles of optimality theory.


Unit 3. Morphology

Basic Concepts: Scope and nature of morphology; concepts of morpheme, morph, allomorph, zero allomorph, conditions on allomorphs; lexeme and word; Types of morphemes—free and bound; root, stem, base, suffix, infix, prefix, portmanteau morpheme, suppletive, replacive; affixes vs. clitics; grammatical categories – tense, aspect, mood, person, gender, number, case; case markers and case relations; pre- and post-positions; models of morphological description: item and arrangement, item and process, word and paradigm;

Morphological Analysis: Identification of morphemes; morphological alternation; morphophonemic processes; internal and external sandhi; inflection vs. derivation; conjugation and declension.

Word-Formation Processes: Derivation (primary vs. secondary derivation, nominalization, verbalization, etc.), compounding (types of compounds: endocentric, exocentric, etc.), reduplication, back-formation, conversion, clipping, blending, acronyms, folk etymology, creativity and productivity, blocking, bracketing paradoxes, constraints on affix ordering.

Morpho-syntax: Nominalization and lexicalist hypothesis; grammatical function changing rules: causatives, passives.


Unit 4. Syntax

Traditional and Structural Syntax: parts of speech: Indian classification (naama, aakhyaata, upasarga, nipaata); basic syntactic units and their types: word, phrase, clause, sentence, karaka relations; grammatical relations and case relations; construction types (exocentric, endocentric, etc.), immediate constituent analysis.

Generative Syntax: Parameters and universal grammar, null subject parameter, innateness hypothesis, meaning of the term ‘generative’, transformational generative grammar, structure and structure-dependence, diagnostics for structure; complements and adjuncts, principles and parameters theory, X-bar theory, theta theory, binding theory; pro-drop, NP-movement, wh-movement, head movement, adjunction and substitution, constraints on movement, subjacency, government and proper government, small clauses, topicalization; unergatives and unaccusatives, VP-internal subject hypothesis; split VP and VP-shell hypothesis, cross-over phenomena; checking theory of case, copy theory of movement, inclusiveness principle.

Some Key Concepts in the Minimalist Programme: Spell-out, greed, procrastination, last resort, AGR-based case theory, multiple-spec hypothesis, strong and weak features; interpretable and non-interpretable features.

Transformational Components: The copy theory of movement, its properties, checking devices and features of convergence.


Unit 5. Semantics and Pragmatics

Semantics: Types of meaning; descriptive, emotive and phatic; sense and reference, connotation and denotation, sense relations (homonymy, hyponymy, antonymy, synonymy, etc.); types of opposition (taxonomic, polar, etc.); ambiguity, sentence meaning and truth conditions, contradictions, entailment; ‘abhidha’, ‘laksana’, ‘vyanjana’; Notions of membership, union, intersection, cardinality; mapping and functions; propositions, truth values, sentential connectives; arguments, predicates, quantifiers, variables; componential analysis; definiteness, mood and modality, specific vs. generic; definite and indefinite; compositionality and its limitations.

Pragmatics: Language use in context; communication: message model and inferential model of communication, sentence meaning and utterance meaning; speech acts; deixis; presupposition and implicature: Gricean maxims; information structure; indexicals, politeness, power and solidarity, discourse analysis.


Unit 6. Historical Linguistics

Sound Change: Neogrammarian laws of phonetic change: Grimm’s, Verner’s, Grassmann’s Laws; genesis and spread of sound change; split and merger; conditioned vs. unconditioned change; types of changes—phonetic vs. phonemic changes; assimilation and dissimilation, coalescence, metathesis, deletion, epenthesis; lexical diffusion of sound change; analogy and its relationship to sound change; reconstructing the proto-stages of languages; tree and wave models; relative chronology of different changes. Sociolinguistic approach to language change: social motivation of language change; study of sound change in progress.

Morphosyntactic and Semantic Change: Phonological change leading to changes in morphology and syntax; syncretism, grammaticalisation and lexicalisation; principles of recovering grammatical categories and contrasts; semantic change and processes of semantic change—extension, narrowing, figurative speech.

Linguistic Reconstruction: External vs. internal reconstruction: comparative method, collection of cognates, establishing phonological correspondences; reconstruction of the phonemes of the proto-language based on contrast and complementation; morphophonemic alternations as the source for reconstruction; recovering historical contrasts by comparing, alternating and non-alternating paradigms; accounting for exceptions to sound change—analogy, borrowing, onomatopoeia, the interplay of analogy and sound change; lexicostatistics.

Language Contact and Dialect Geography: Linguistic borrowing, lexical and structural; motivations, loan translation, loan blend, calque, assimilated and unassimilated loans: tadbhava and tatsama; different types of borrowing–cultural, intimate and dialect; classification of loanwords; impact of borrowing on language; pidgins and creoles; bilingualism as the source for borrowing; dialect geography: dialect atlas; isogloss; focal area, transition area and relic area.


Unit 7. Socio linguistics

Basic Concepts: Sociolinguistics and sociology of language; micro-and macro approaches to language in society; linguistic repertoire: language, dialect, sociolect, idiolect; diglossia, taboo, slang; elaborated and restricted codes; speech community, communicative competence, ethnography of speaking; language of wider communication; lingua franca; language and social inequality; language in diaspora; new linguistic world orders.

Linguistic Variability: Patterns in linguistic variation, linguistic variables and their co-variation with linguistic dimensions, social class / social network / age / gender/ ethnicity; language loyalty, social identity and social attitudes, stereotypes.

Language Contact: Bilingualism, multilingualism; code-mixing and code-switching; outcomes of language contact: language maintenance, borrowing, convergence, substratum effect, pidginization and creolization; language loss.

Language Development: Language planning, corpus and status planning, standardisation and modernisation; language movements – state and societal interventions; script development and modifications; linguistic minorities and their problems.

Language Ecology and Endangerment: Superdiversity; linguistic landscaping, linguistic vitality, language endangerment, parameters of endangerment, documentation of endangered languages, revitalisation.

Sociolinguistic Methodology: Sampling and tools; identification of sociolinguistic variables and their variants; data processing and interpretation; quantitative analysis of data; variable rules; ethnomethodology; participant observation.


Unit 8. Areal Typology and South Asian Language Families

Language Typology, Universals and Linguistic Relatedness: Language typology and language universals; morphological types of languages—agglutinative, analytical (isolating), synthetic fusional (inflecting), infixing and polysynthetic (incorporating) languages. formal and substantive universals, absolute and statistical universals; implicational and non-implicational universals; linguistic relatedness—genetic, typological and areal classification of languages.

Approaches for Study: Inductive vs deductive approaches; universals of language and parametric variation; word order typology; Greenberg’s characteristics for verb final and verb medial languages and related features in the context of South Asian Languages.

Salient Features of South Asian Languages: Phonetic, phonological, morphological, and syntactic features of Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic, and Tibeto-Burman language families of South Asia; Linguistic Survey of India as a source of information; contact induced typological change; convergence and syntactic change.

India as a Linguistc Area: The notion of linguistic area; language contact and convergence with special reference to the concept of ‘India as a Linguistic Area’; features of retroflexion, vowel harmony, aspiration, reduplication, echo formation, onomatopoeia, explicator compound verbs, anaphora; India as a sociolinguistic area, India as a semantic area; notion of microlinguistic area.


Unit 9. Interdisciplinary and Applied LinguisticsI (Psycholinguistics, Language Learning and Language Teaching)


Basic Concepts: Basic issues in psycholinguistics, brain language relationship, the different theoretical orientations: empiricist-behaviourist, biological-nativist, and cognitive-interactionalist, biological foundations of language; language acquisition and stages; critical period hypothesis.

Language Processing: The processes of perception, comprehension and production; evidence of language production; steps in comprehension; mental representation of language and lexicon; relationship between comprehension and production.

Clinical Psycholinguistics: Normal and pathological language; aphasia; dyslexia; stuttering; language in the hearing-impaired; language in mental retardation.


Language Learning and Language Teaching:

Language Teaching and Language Learning: First and second language learning; behaviouristic and cognitive theories of language learning; social and psychological aspects of second language acquisition; methods of language teaching; materials and teaching-aids in language teaching; computer assisted language teaching (CALT); language testing: types of tests; validity, reliability and standardization of tests; Interlanguage.

Language Teaching Analysis: Goals of language teaching; factors in the preparation of a language teaching syllabus: linguistic theory, social and psychological factors, needs analysis, class-room presentation; text-book evaluation; types of syllabus: structural, communicative, notional; the role of the teacher and teacher training; role of self-access packages; socio-linguistic and psychological aspects of language teaching and learning.

Contrastive Analysis: Error analysis and interlanguage; basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) and cognitive advanced language proficiency (CALP);

Unit 10. Interdisciplinary and Applied LinguisticsII (Translation, Lexicography, Computational Linguistics, Stylistics, Language and Media)


Paraphrase, translation and transcreation; translation of literary text and technical text; use of linguistics in translation; linguistic affinity and translatability; untranslatability; units of translation; equivalence of meaning and style; translation loss and gain; problems of cultural terms; scientific terms; idioms, metaphors and proverbs; false friends and translation shifts; evaluation of translation; fidelity and readability; types of translation—simultaneous interpretation, machine aided translation, media translation (dubbing, copy-editing, advertisement, slogans, jingles, etc.)


Making of a Dictionary: Linguistics and lexicography, dictionary entries—arrangement of information; meaning descriptions—synonymy, polysemy, homonymy, antonymy and hyponymy; treatment of technical terms vs. general words.

Types of Dictionaries: Literary, scientific and technical; comprehensive and concise, monolingual and bilingual; general and learner’s. historical and etymological, dictionary of idioms and phrases, encyclopaedic dictionary, electronic dictionary, reverse dictionary, thesaurus and other distinguishing purposes and features of various types; computational lexicography.

Computational Linguistics

Artificial intelligence and language; natural language processing (NLP); computational linguistics and its relation to allied disciplines; machine language; parsing and generation; parsers; compilers; interpreters—information processing, structuring and manipulating data; corpus building; attempts of NLP and corpus work in India: Anusāraka parsing: morphological recognizers, analyzers and generators for Indian languages; designing code, building of machine translation systems (MTS); hyper grammars, building of word nets, The Kolhapur Corpus of Indian English, the TDIL Corpus Project.


Style— individual style, period style; style as choice, style as deviation, style as ‘rīti’, style as ‘alankāra’; style as ‘vyanjanā’ (‘vakrokti’); Foregrounding; Parallelism; Text as grammar: structure and texture, cohesion and coherence; semiotic aspects of a literary text; stylistics of discourse; levels of stylistic analysis—phonological, lexical, syntactic and semantic; stylistic devices in literary texts.

Language and Media

Mass media: print and electronic, types of language used in mass media: news, editorials, advertising, writing and editing for print and electronic media, impact of mass media on language.


Updated NTA UGC NET Syllabus for Linguistics (2019) (PDF)



Click hereFree Study material for NTA UGC NET Paper 1

Solved Papers of UGC NET exams

Updated NTA UGC NET Syllabus of All Subjects (2019)

Previous Question Papers of UGC NET Exams


Please comment below for any clerical mistakes, suggestions, clarifications, or queries.