Courses in Linguistics (Division 423)

112(111). Languages of the World. (4). (SS).

This course is an introduction to the variety of languages of the world and the ways these languages have been described and classified. There will be emphasis on non-European languages and on linguists who have studied these languages. There will also be work with sound systems and grammars so students can share the intellectual challenge of language description and classification. Students will be expected to complete problem sets, readings, a midterm, and a final exam. No prerequisites. (SECTION 001 - Heath; SECTION 002 Staff)

114. A World of Words. (3). (HU).

The English language is said to have almost a quarter-million words; words for everything from aardvark to zygotes. There are a lot of questions to ask about words: Do we really have all the words we need? How do we know what they mean? Why is English spelling so weird (or is it weird)? Why are some words considered "bad" and others "good"? Where do words come from, anyway? In this course we will study and attempt to answer these and other questions about the English language and its vocabulary. Topics covered include: morphology and phonetics (the internal structure of words); etymology (word history); Indo-European linguistics (how English is related to other languages); lexical semantics (how words mean); and social and cultural implications of our vocabulary and its use. In the process we can expect: (1) some vocabulary development, with particular attention to Greek and Latin roots in common use in English; (2) an increased sensitivity to words of all sorts and to their use and probable meanings; (3) an improved understanding of how words are used to name and describe various concepts and things and how they can be misused as well; (4) a novel and interesting viewpoint on the position of our language and culture in world history and geography, as a result not of official political or institutional events, but of its continuing evolution. Assignments include readings, homework problems, three papers at monthly intervals, participation both in class and in a computer conference, and a term project. (Lawler)

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

This is a Collegiate Fellows course, emphasizing critical thinking. See page 3 of this COURSE GUIDE for a complete list of Collegiate Fellows courses.

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 U of M 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, Croft)

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

From time immemorial human beings have been curious about language - about its structure, its diversity, its use, and its effect on others. In this course we will explore the phenomenon of language as it is studied by various kinds of linguists. We will begin with contemporary English conversation, for this is the kind of language most familiar to us. We will then move to speech events such as consultations and lectures, which can be more related to communicative goals, and then to differences between speech and writing. In doing so, we will draw upon examples from English and other languages. The first half of the course ends with a discussion of varieties of written text, in which we will relate that variation to factors we have been studying. In the second half we will survey some of the major perspectives that linguists bring to the phenomenon of language, such as the role of language in society, the processes of first and second language acquisition, and the ways in which languages change, grow, and decay. There will be a course pack, and participants will carry out a small investigative project. There will also be a midterm and a final. No prerequisites. (Swales)

315. Introduction to Sentence Analysis. (3). (Excl).

The aim of this course is to explore various types of syntactic regularities that language exhibit that is, those which underlie the organization of words into phrases and sentences, the relatedness between sentence types, etc. We focus on a number of syntactic constructions, in English as well as in other languages, with the purpose of identifying regularities in structure, forming and testing hypotheses about them, and constructing rules that will capture the nature of these regularities. The requirements will include weekly assignments, as well as a midterm and a final exam. (Zec)

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 Analysis. (3). (Excl).

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.

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

See English 406. (Cureton)

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

See Anthropology 472. (Burling)

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

See Anthropology 474.

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

An introduction to the objectives and methods of linguistics. It will survey 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. (Burling)

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)

417/Anthro. 476/German 417. Principles and Methods of Historical Linguistics. Ling. 411 or equivalent. (3). (Excl).

This course explores the assumptions underlying the establishment of historical relationships between languages. Techniques of internal and comparative reconstruction of related languages and types of linguistic change will be considered. (Wiegand)

451(350)/Psych. 451. Development of Language and Thought. Introductory psychology. (3). (SS).

See Psychology 451. (Gelman)

473/Anthropology 473. Ethnopoetics: Cross-Cultural Approaches to Verbal Art. Two courses in anthropology, linguistics or literature, or permission of instructor. (3; 2 in the half-term). (Excl).

See Anthropology 473. (Mannheim)


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