Have you ever wondered why children say “gooses” instead of “geese” or what’s “bad” about bad language? Have you ever noticed that the t sound in “city” is different than the t sound is “stop” and wondered why? Do you know what “like” means in the sentence “That’s like totally cool”? Have you ever noticed how similar languages are to one another even though we think of them as very different? If you have, Linguistics is the place for you.
Linguistics at the University of Michigan is uniquely positioned to explore these questions and in doing so to model fundamental aspects of knowledge about language. We take diverse approaches to linguistic study, including language as a human cognitive endowment and as a central component of human cultures, social action, and human perception.
The Department of Linguistics offers a series of pre-major courses designed to meet the needs of students with broad interests in language-related issues as well as those of students with more focused interests in the study of language. The department has four general introductory courses: Introduction to Language (LING 111), Language and Human Mind (LING 209), Introduction to Linguistic Analysis (LING 210), and Introduction to Symbolic Analysis of Language (LING 212). LING 111 surveys the field of Linguistics, including the core areas and other major subfields as well; LING 209/PSYCH 242 introduces students to the “cognitive revolution” in connection with the study of language. LING 210 and 212 introduce students to the methods of linguistic analysis. These courses prepare students for upper-level linguistics courses.