Courses in Linguistics (Division 423)

210. Introduction to Linguistics. (3). (SS).

Nothing is more distinctly human than our ability to talk, to use language. Because of that, we expect that the study of language can provide us insight into the things that combine to make "human nature." Since language is a product of what we call "mind," "culture," and "society," it provides us with concrete data through which we can study those very abstract things. This course is an introduction to the methods which linguists have developed in the process of analyzing and describing human languages. Our study will draw on examples from a large number of the languages of the world (including observations of the language habits of University of Michigan students and faculty). We will look at the sounds of language, how they are produced, and how they are patterned into words. We will study the diverse ways in which individual languages approach the processes of word and sentence formation, while we try to decide if there are processes which are universal to all human languages. In spite of this, we will focus our attention on the methods of inquiry: How does a linguist decide what ought to be studied in a given language? How do we go about collecting data? When do we know we have enough? What techniques do we have for making sense of our data? What kinds of conclusions are we led to, what do we do if our methods lead us to different accounts of the same phenomenon? In other words, our focus will be on the processes of analysis and the methods of critical thinking as they apply to the study of language. Daily exercises will afford opportunities to collect data, define problems and propose tentative solutions. Class lecture/discussions and longer bi-weekly assignments will present methods of argumentation and develop problem solving skills. There will be a midterm and a final exam. The only prerequisites are good will and enthusiasm. (Toon)

211. Introduction to Language. (3). (SS).

This introductory course will help you answer some basic questions about language, such as: 1) What's so special about human languages? How are they different from computer languages and animal communication systems? Is sign language really language? 2) Why does it seem so hard to learn a new language? Children don't seem to have any problems, do they? 3) What am I really doing when I'm speaking, listening, reading or writing? 4) What is language used for and how is it used? How do advertisers and politicians use it? Does language really discriminate against groups such as women? 5) What's the difference between speaking and writing? How was writing invented, anyway? 6) Why are there differences in languages? Why don't we always speak the same way? There will be a series of short assignments and three exams. There are no prerequisites. (Ard)

351. Second Language Acquisition. (3). (SS).

This is an introductory course in second language acquisition, dealing with how people learn foreign/second languages. We will first examine methodological issues necessary for the interpretation of second language data. The major part of the course will focus on topics of recent second language acquisition research, especially those that enable us to test proposed models of second language acquisition. Through data analysis problems students will have first-hand experience dealing with second language data. Given the introductory nature of this course, no prior coursework in second language acquisition is necessary. A course pack made up of selected readings will serve as the readings. The course is intended for all students who are interested in knowing more about how second languages are learned. (Selinker)

401. Grammatical Categories and Linguistic Analysis. (3). (SS).

This course is an introduction to the methods and analysis of grammatical categories and construction in natural languages. The course will begin with a discussion of the goals of grammatical analysis, and the nature of linguistic data as evidence for linguistic analysis. Then we will proceed through each of the major facets of grammatical structure: syntactic and morphological categories, constituent structure, grammatical relations, and word order. For each facet of grammatical structure, we will examine: what the range of the phenomenon is in natural languages; different proposals for how to analyze the phenomenon; and the methods of argumentation for and against the proposed analyses. Assignments will involve describing and analyses. Assignments will involve describing and analyzing the relevant grammatical phenomena in English and other languages. No prerequisite is required. (Croft)

406/English 406. Modern English Grammar. (3). (HU).

See English Language and Literature 406. (Cureton)

409/Anthro. 472. Language and Culture. (3). (HU).

See Anthropology 472.

410/Anthro. 474. Nonstandard English. (3). (SS).

In this course we will deal first with the development of the concept of the language standard in American and British English. We will consider the relationship of the standard to non-standard varieties of the spoken language, focusing on the issues of authority, prescription and attitude. While we will not focus exclusively on Black English Vernacular (BEV), we will consider in some detail the historical development, characteristics and stratification of this language variety which is the mother tongue of many Black Americans. Included in our examination and discussion of psychological and social implications for speakers of BEV will be consideration of BEV as an education issue. This course should be of interest to those interested in non-standard language varieties as a cultural resource and asset, historical heritage and potential complication in education and supra-cultural communication. Because we will be dealing with specific features in the phonology and syntax of various non-standard language varieties, an introductory linguistics course of familiarity with basic linguistic concepts is recommended. Evaluation will be based on short assignments, a midterm, and a final exam. (Lippi)

411. Introduction to Linguistics. Not open to students with credit for Ling. 211. (3). (SS).

An introduction to the objectives and methods of linguistics. The course surveys phonetics and phonology (the nature and organization of the sounds of language), morphology and syntax (the construction and organization of words and sentences), semantics and pragmatics (how language conveys meanings and how meanings interact with situations). The course considers the way languages vary, from one time to another, one social situation to another, and one language family to another. Students can expect to develop a preliminary understanding of the organization of language and the methods by which linguists learn about language. (Dworkin)

412. Phonetics. (3). (Excl).

An introduction to phonetics (the study of the nature of speech sounds). This course will focus on 1) the description of speech sounds in terms of their articulatory, acoustic and perceptual characteristics and 2) the production and transcription of sounds that occur in languages of the world. Each class meeting will include a lecture (on articulation, acoustics or perception) and a drill (in producing and transcribing a particular class of speech sounds). Course grades will be based on transcriptions, midterm and final exams (and a language project for graduate students). There are no prerequisites, but an introductory linguistics course is strongly recommended. (Beddor)

414. Semantics and Pragmatics. Linguistics 401. (3). (HU).

This course is an introduction to the linguistic analysis of the meaning and use of words and sentences in languages. Semantics is the study of language as symbol: how words express concepts, alone and in combination with grammatical inflections and other words. We will discuss general issues in semantic analysis, including prototypes, polysemy, conventional implicature and compositionality. We will then survey the semantics of the major word classes, noun, verb, and adjective, and the grammatical categories associated with them. Pragmatics is the study of language as action: how people use words to communicate information is inferred from sentences, including logical inference, presupposition and implicature. We will then turn to speech acts and the planning of discourse, i.e., how communication is integrated into general human activity. Linguistics 210, 211, 411, or permission of the instructor is required to take this course. (Croft)

492. Topics in Linguistics. (3). (Excl). May be elected for credit twice.

Indo-Europeans and Anatolians: their homelands, migrations, cultures. Reconstruction of Proto-Anatolian, the most archaic daughter-language of Indo-European. Phonology of Anatolian: vowels, stops, laryngeals, etc. Anatolian morphology and syntax. Anatolian lexics. Problems of Anatolian dialectology. Comparative analysis of Anatolian daughter-languages: Hittite, Cuneiform Luwian, Hieroglyphic Luwian, Palaic, Lycian, Milyan, Lydian, Carian, Sidetic, Pisidian. Onomastics: linguistic analysis. Samples of texts in Anatolian languages (Hittite, Lycian, Lydian). Short discussion of Anatolian writing system (cuneiform, hieroglyphic, alphabetic). Interpretation of borrowings. Recent discoveries: stress in Anatolian languages, etc. Problems which remain to be solved. Students will be evaluated by frequent home works and one class presentation (critical report on chosen linguistic works). (Shevoroshkin)


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