LING 209 - Language and Human Mind
Section: 001
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Linguistics (LING)
Department: LSA Linguistics
Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
ID
Waitlist Capacity:
99
Enforced Prerequisites:
Not available to students who have completed LING 103 (courseID 020035), Topic: Language and Mind,(Topic #6).
Other Course Info:
Does not count toward the requirements for the Psychology major.
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, recognizing the text as symbols, and converting these perceived symbols into meanings?
  • What is a meaning?
  • Given that you can perform this text-to-symbol-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 or is that crazy talk about “mind reading”?

LING 209 - Language and Human Mind
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 
19386
Open
7
 
-
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (DIS)
P
19387
Closed
0
 
-
F 9:00AM - 10:00AM
003 (DIS)
P
19388
Open
2
 
-
F 10:00AM - 11:00AM
004 (DIS)
P
19389
Open
3
 
-
F 1:00PM - 2:00PM
005 (DIS)
P
19390
Closed
0
 
-
F 11:00AM - 12:00PM
006 (DIS)
P
19391
Open
1
 
-
Th 5:00PM - 6:00PM
007 (DIS)
P
19392
Open
1
 
-
F 12:00PM - 1:00PM
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: Jackendoff, Ray, 1945-, Publisher: BasicBooks 2010
Required
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 014198077X
Language Instinct, the : How the Mind Creates Language, Author: Pinker, Steven., Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd 2015
Optional
Other Textbook Editions OK.
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.

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