Courses in Linguistics (Division 423)

112. Languages of the World. (3). (SS).
Section 001.
This course is intended for those who are curious about human language but who have not had courses or formal training in linguistics. Students will learn about the structures of a number of different types of languages from around the world; the emphasis will be on how to put sentences together. Additionally, there will be an introduction into the methodology of linguistics, how linguistics analyze the grammar and sound systems of languages. There will be eight problem sets, two midterms, and a final exam. No prerequisite. WL:2. (Myhill)

Section 002. Language is a central concern of humankind and with good reason. As the conduit for most communicative and expressive needs as well as other tasks, it pervades virtually every aspect of human existence. Few realize, however, how truly rich the linguistic universe is until they consider the variety of distinct linguistic devices and practices employed by speakers of the 5000+ individual languages that have been identified to date. Appreciating and being able to explain the range of variety of spoken and written language among various peoples of the world is an essential key to understanding human culture and diversity. This course will focus on two central aspects of language, sounds and structures. In particular, we will examine how languages may differ in their sound systems and structures as well as the common aspects in the sound systems and structures of all human languages. There is no pre-requisite for this course. WL:2. (DeGraff)

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

Nothing is more distinctly human than our ability 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. 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 studying these various aspects of language structure, we will focus our attention on such questions as: How does a linguist decide what ought to be studied in a given language? How do we go about collecting data? What techniques do we have for making sense of our data? What kinds of conclusions are we led to and how do we justify these conclusions? What do we do if our methods lead us to different accounts of the same phenomenon? Our answers to these questions will show us the extent to which our understanding of the object of inquiry (language) is influenced by our methods of inquiry. Requirements: (1) weekly exercises (40% of course grade), (2) midterm exam (25%), and (3) final exam (35%). Exercises will be weekly problem-solving assignments, involving analysis of phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactic, or historical data from various languages. WL:2 (Lawler)

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 effects on others. In this course, we will explore the human capacity for language, beginning with the ways language differs from animal communication and with how children acquire language. We will then review major aspects of language structure (sounds, words, sentences) and apply them to discussions of the origin of language, the history of the English language, as well as to discussions of current dialects of English such as Black English. After a brief investigation of the relationship between language and thought, we will consider social attitudes toward language. Here we will debate questions such as: Is sign language a real language or just pantomime? What is "Standard English" and is it better than "dialects" of English? Is there any linguistic evidence supporting the notion of English as a racist and sexist language or is this notion purely an imaginary construct devised to create controversy? The course concludes with an examination of the importance of nonverbal communication (body language) in every day interactions and with an examination of how language is subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) manipulated in advertisements. Course work includes eight short homework assignments, one midterm examination and weekly participation in a computer conference. The final exam is optional. WL:2. (van Hoek)

305/Comm. 305. Political and Advertising Discourse. Junior standing. (3). (Excl).

Magazine advertisements, political communications, and sermons are one-sided and persuasive. They are one-sided in sharply distinguishing a speaker/producer and an audience yet they often work best by creating the appearance of dialogue. They are persuasive in attempting to influence the audience's behavior but while some aim squarely at "closing," others merely attempt to induce an initial predisposition. Furthermore, messages directed to large audiences are most effective when they contain an element of ambiguity, allowing individuals to interpret them and respond to them in different ways. We will start by studying how ads are experienced by readers flipping through magazines how the eye "enters" and explores, the roles of color and composition, the rhetoric of humor, and the interaction of text ("copy") and picture. We then discuss sermons and speeches, showing how the text unfolds and how speaker-audience roles are manipulated directly by means of response elicitation ("amen!"), but also symbolically by means of pronouns, quotations, questions, and poetic devices. Finally, we study debates as a hybrid genre (half oratory, half conversation). Several short written assignments will involve close analysis of actual ads, and of transcriptions and tapes of speeches, sermons, and debates. WL:2 (Heath)

313(312). Sound Patterns. Sophomore standing. (3). (SS).

This course explores two fundamental aspects of the sounds of human languages: speech sounds as physical entities (phonetics) and speech sounds as linguistic units (phonology). In viewing sounds as physical elements, the focus is articulatory descriptions: How are speech sounds made? What types of articulatory movements and configurations are used to differentiate sounds in the world's languages? In this part of the course, the goal is to learn to produce, transcribe, and describe in articulatory terms many of the sounds known to occur in human languages. In the next part of the course, the focus is on sounds as members of a particular linguistic system. Phonological data from a wide range of languages are analyzed that is, regularities or patterns in sound distribution are extracted from the data set and then stated within a formal phonological framework. We will also construct arguments to support the proposed analyses, and will find that phonetic factors play a crucial role in validating phonological analyses. Throughout the course, a major emphasis is that speech sounds are simultaneously physical and linguistic elements, and that these two aspects of sound structure are interdependent. Class sessions will consist of lectures, phonetic practice, and discussion of phonological data sets. Course grades will be based on weekly assignments, midterm, and take-home final exam. Linguistics 210, 211, 411, or permission of instructor is required to take the course. WL:2 (Duanmu)

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

In this course we will explore variety and regularity in the ways languages organize words into phrases and sentences. We will consider approaches to the study of the sentence as a unit of human language and we will attempt to formulate a theory of how languages may differ, what ways languages must be the same, and (an obviously related question) how humans go about the difficult task of learning a language. The requirements will include regular, short written assignments, and participants will submit a short paper analyzing an unfamiliar language. WL:2 (van Hoek)

317(313). Language and History. (3). (HU).

All languages evolve in the context of a society. This course will focus on the ways in which the study of language history and political or social history can complement each other. The first part of the course will examine how the findings of linguistic reconstruction can aid the historian in describing the culture of earlier society or determining prehistoric migrations and homeland of different peoples. The second half of the course will examine how major events in social and political history affected the development of the languages which were the affected culture's vehicle of expression. Both halves will be illustrated with examples from various languages and cultures of Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. There will be two exams and a term paper. Readings will be made available in handouts. Knowledge of a foreign language is not necessary. WL:2. (Solnit)

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

For Fall Term, 1993, this course is jointly offered with Linguistics 551. 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. No prior course work in second language acquisition is necessary. The course is intended for all students interested in knowing more about how second languages are learned. Undergraduates should register for Linguistics 351 and graduates for 551. Both courses will meet together with additional sessions and work for 551 credit. This course can be taken to fulfill the Junior/Senior Writing Requirement. Cost:2 WL:2 (Selinker)

354. Language and the Public Interest. (3). (Excl).
Section 001 Language and the Public Interest.
Every day we come into contact with written information that is intended to inform us as consumers from labels on cleaning solutions to applications for checking accounts. This course is aimed at understanding how these types of information are structured, how people use them, what problems they encounter and how to create more effective materials. To accomplish this, the course is divided into two main components. First, there will be an overview of different types of written information, their structure, function and use. The types of information investigated include product assembly instructions (e.g. how put together a computer or a backyard swing), product use instructions (e.g., how to program a VCR or use a particular medication),interactive documents (e.g., how to apply for a checking account or use a money machine) and advisory information such as product warranties. In the second part of the course, students will work in small groups on the redesign of one body of written information. The course will include homework assignments and a final project. WL:2 (Keller-Cohen)

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

See English 406. (Cureton)

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

This course is an introduction to the objectives and methods of modern linguistics. We will be especially concerned with phonetics and phonology (the nature and organization of the sounds of language) and with morphology and syntax (the formation of words and the organization of words into larger phrases and sentences). We will consider how all these aspects of language vary from one dialect or language to another, from one social group to another, and from one situation to another, and we will ask how and why they change through time. Some attention will also be given to semantics and pragmatics (how languages convey meanings, and how meanings interact with situations) and language acquisition. Students will be required to submit short problems from time to time, but grades will be based upon two hour exams and a final. (Burling)

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

This course introduces students to the nature of speech sounds. One goal of the course is to provide an overview of the type of speech sounds occurring in the world's languages, and to train students in the production and transcription of these (sometimes "exotic") sounds. Practice with and exposure to these sounds is accomplished through native-speaker presentations, in-class exercises, language laboratory tapes, and computer-facilitated demonstrations. A second goal is to arrive at an understanding of the speech process, which involves transmission of an acoustic signal from a speaker to a listener, and a corresponding description of speech sounds in terms of their articulatory (speaker-based), acoustic, and perceptual (listener-based) characteristics. In achieving this goal, students are introduced to basic principles of phonetic theory through readings, lectures, and hands-on experience in the phonetics laboratory. A third goal is to investigate interactions among these 3 types of phonetic properties and to consider their possible consequences for the structure of sound systems. Articulatory, acoustic, and perceptual properties are viewed as imposing a set of simultaneous constraints on the notion of "possible speech sound" and as contributing to the definition of "possible speech sound system" for human languages. 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. WL:2 (Beddor)

414. Semantics and Pragmatics. A course in Linguistics, junior standing, or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

Semantics is the study of meaning, ranging from the conceptual representation of "red" and "come" to bracketing problems in larger structures like "Everybody didn't come" vs. "Nobody came". It overlaps with syntax, cognitive science, and cognitive anthropology. Pragmatics is the study of how meaning interacts with context; it overlaps with discourse analysis and parts of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. Many of the key ideas in semantics/pragmatics originated in philosophy and were later brought into linguistics. This course offers exposure to several basic topics and research traditions (speech-acts and performatives, quantifiers and negation, natural-language logic, prototypes and extensionism, metaphor and metonym). It will, however, put more than usual emphasis on cross-linguistic analysis of grammatical categories (demonstratives and other deictics, number, diminutive/augmentative, gender, noun-class, numeral classifiers, discourse categories like contrastive topic, possession, case, tense/aspect, mood, negation, voice), and it may therefore be useful to students with interests in comparative grammatical systems (typology) or in cultural relativism (Whorf and his critics). Geared to beginning grad students (in any relevant department); well- prepared undergraduates interested in the course should consult the instructor. WL:2 (Heath)

418. Functionalism and Typology. (3). (Excl).

Linguistics is about languages; and language structure should be explained by language function. These two principles underlie the approach to the analysis of language presented in this course. We will compare the grammatical structure of a variety of languages and discover what is universal about grammar. You will get a general feel for what is typical and what is atypical of language structure. Turning to explanation, we will account for universal patterns in language structure in terms of evolutionary adaptation to the communication function of language. Course work will involve weekly assignments and a take-home exam. This course can be used to satisfy the undergraduate syntax/typology requirement. WL:2 (Hook)

419. Discourse Analysis. A course in linguistics, junior standing, or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course is an examination of the way speakers and writers use language to convey meaning. We will begin with a consideration of the importance of the notion text in contemporary scholarship in many different fields. We will then turn to a study of written as well as spoken texts. We will explore issues in the representation of texts (e.g., the writing down of spoken texts and the format of written texts.) Other topics covered include: norms of interaction (e.g., turn-taking) and textual relations . We will also examine genre as it affects text structure and function. Assignments will include periodic homework as well as independent projects. WL:2 (Keller-Cohen)

442/Anthro. 478. Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Ling. 411 or equivalent. (3). (Excl).

Language variation is present in every society; ethnicity, gender, social class, education, and place of origin all play a role in determining which language or dialect a person speaks and how they use it. At the same time, the language or dialect a person speaks is a crucial factor in determining the position of that person in society, both in terms of professional achievement and in terms of their understanding of their own identity. This class will discuss this mutual dependency of language and societal role. We will focus on issues directly affecting the lives and thoughts of most Americans: attitudes toward different languages and dialects and the historical and social motivations for these attitudes, questions about why different ethnic and gender groups use language differently and how this is evaluated, preservation of ancestral languages, and language policy. We will also look at how other societies deal with these issues to provide students with alternative perspectives. The required work for the class is three short (6-8 pp.) papers. (Myhill)

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

See Psychology 451. (Shatz)

492. Topics in Linguistics. (3). (Excl). May be elected for credit twice.
Section 001 The Politics of English.
For Fall Term, 1993, this course is jointly offered with English 309. (Bailey)

541/CS 595/EECS 595. Natural Language Processing. Senior standing. (3). (Excl).

This course will be a survey of computational models for the syntax and semantics of natural languages. We will cover some of the historical models as well as current ones, such as unification-based grammars, parsing, and a range of semantic models from case or frame-based semantics to current ones, such as situation semantics. Contrary to the current catalog, we will not assume a prerequisite of EECS 492 (Artificial Intelligence), and programming will be optional. There will, however, be an opportunity to experiment with software for natural language processing. Non-EECS students are particularly encouraged to attend. A project will be required, but this may be either a term paper or a programming project. Text: Allen, Natural Language Understanding, Addison-Wesley. (DeGraff)


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