LING 349 - Words and Word Systems
Section: 001
Term: FA 2010
Subject: Linguistics (LING)
Department: LSA Linguistics
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course is about the nature of words and the way they combine to form lexical domains such as emotions, color, kinship, flora-fauna, and action verbs. It uses methods from cognitive linguistics, anthropology, and psychology. We will look in depth at how lexicographers from ancient times to the present have structured their dictionaries, thesauruses, and online lexical databases. Some questions to be raised: Are basic lexical meanings ('red', 'father', 'come', 'bird', 'eat', 'harvest’, ‘thanks') universal, or are the meanings encoded by (for example) Americans, Australian Aboriginals, and African villagers specific to their cultures? In Hebrew and Arabic, does the "root-and-pattern" system of word morphology mean that the notion of "word" is not valid? How do linguists determine the etymology of a word? What can reconstruction of the vocabulary of Proto-Indo-European and other proto-languages tell us about proto-cultures, and where they were spoken? How do meanings evolve across time and space? How and by whom were the first great dictionaries of English (such as the Oxford English Dictionary) made, and what were their ideological underpinnings? How is the transition from printed alphabetical dictionaries to multimedia internet databases transforming lexicography, whether of English or of endangered native languages?

Course Requirements: Midterm exam 25% (combination of short questions and short essays), final paper 40%, weekly homework assignments 35%.

LING 349 - Words and Word Systems
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
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