LING 209 - Language and Human Mind
Section: 001
Term: FA 2012
Subject: Linguistics (LING)
Department: LSA Linguistics
Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
ID
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course is designed to introduce students to the “cognitive revolution” and its impact on the contemporary study of language. The course reviews the Chomskyan shift away from speech behavior or “languages” as the object of inquiry to the experimental and theoretical study of the cognitive mechanisms underlying our unique human capacity for language, the exercise of which permeates virtually every aspect of human life, including what you are now doing! In every household, all of the children, barring pathology — but none of the dogs, cats or other organisms (nor the inanimate objects!) — acquire the language spoken (or signed) by the adults. There is some biological property of humans that makes this feat possible.

  • What do we know when we know a language?
  • What does it mean to say that humans have an innate capacity for language?
  • Why has this innateness claim generated so much contentious debate?
  • How do languages differ, and why?
  • How is it that you are now scanning text with your visual system, and converting little squiggles you perceive into meanings?
  • What is a meaning?
  • Given that you can perform this squiggle-to-meaning conversion, how does your converter work?
  • How do speakers of sign languages (again, humans but not dogs) convert moving hand shapes into meaning?

Isn’t it true that the conversion to meaning you are now performing allows your mind to now know what my mind was thinking when I wrote this? That is, through this process aren’t you acquiring knowledge of my thoughts, (thereby facilitating educated guesses as to what this course and this Prof. will be like?) or is that crazy talk about “mind reading”?

LING 209 - Language and Human Mind
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 
22379
Open
9
 
-
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (DIS)
P
22380
Open
2
 
-
F 10:00AM - 11:00AM
003 (DIS)
P
22381
Closed
0
 
-
F 10:00AM - 11:00AM
004 (DIS)
P
22382
Open
1
 
9Enrollment Management
-
F 11:00AM - 12:00PM
005 (DIS)
P
22383
Open
1
 
-
F 11:00AM - 12:00PM
006 (DIS)
P
22384
Open
1
 
-
F 1:00PM - 2:00PM
007 (DIS)
P
22385
Open
2
 
-
F 9:00AM - 10:00AM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.


ISBN: 0465054625
Patterns in the mind : language and human nature., Author: Ray Jackendoff., Publisher: Basic Books [Nachdr.] 1994
Required
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for LING 209 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi