Courses in Linguistics (Division 423)

102. First Year Seminar (Humanities). (3). (HU).
Section 001 Words and Their Uses: Studying Vocabulary in Time, Space, and Social Life.
The general focus of this course is on the origin and history of words in languages, with special reference to the vocabulary of English. We look at the sources of our vocabulary in early forms of English and in other languages (such as French and Latin) and at the differences between American and British usage. We also consider the relation of words in language to what they stand for in the real world (semantics), the range of meanings that a single word may have, and the changes of meaning that lead up to present day usage. We will then move on to study various aspects of the use of words by speakers and 'jargon,' metaphor, poetic usage, and the use of language by politicians and journalists. Amongst other things we will consider the effects of feminism and 'political correctness' on current usage. Later in the course we will consider the activities of language 'mavens' and the effect of notions of correctness on the use of words. Students will be expected to possess a good etymological dictionary and should preferably have access to a thesaurus, such as a recent edition of Roger's Thesaurus. (Milroy)

104. First Year Seminar (Introductory Composition). (4). (Introductory Composition).
Section 001 The Literate Imagination.
This course explores the role of literacy reading and writing our lives, throughout history, and in different cultures. To accomplish this we read autobiographies and historical accounts as well as visit such campus resources as the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and the Rare Book Room. (Keller-Cohen)

112. Languages of the World. (3). (SS).

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 systematically addresses many of the questions which most fascinate us about language, thus widening our intercultural horizons and enhancing our sophistication about our own language and culture. It therefore serves those who wish to learn about both our own and other societies, particular languages or regions of the world, and the nature of the human mind. (Sands)

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 insight into "human nature." This course is an analytic introduction to the methods linguists use for describing languages (although general training in analytic thought is our ultimate goal). Drawing on examples from a large number of the world's languages, we will look at the sounds of language, how they are produced, and how they pattern into words; we will study the diverse ways in which individual languages approach processes of word and sentence formation, while we ask whether there are processes universal to all languages. By focusing simultaneously on language data and on the techniques used by linguists to make sense of these data, we will see that our understanding of the object of inquiry (language) is influenced by our methods of inquiry. Requirements include problem-solving assignments, quiz(zes), midterm and final exams; no prerequisite except an interest in language and thinking. (Toon)

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 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 American Sign Language and its role in Deaf culture. Course work includes eight short homework assignments, one midterm, and a final exam. (van Hoek)

313. 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. (Duanmu)

314. Text, Context, and Meaning. Sophomore standing. (3). (Excl).

Discourse, written or spoken, is the strategic deployment of meanings, carried out in the context of genres with their own conventions and rules (an action novel, a sermon, a lover's quarrel). All discourse implies or presupposes as much as it states, so we need a theory of "pragmatics" to understand how it is processed. Moreover, the "meaning" even of direct statements turns out to be elusive, to the consternation of logicians; the semantics of ordinary language is highly "metaphorical." The course will focus on meaning systems and discourse structure, with emphasis on conversation and other genres of spoken discourse. When transcribed and analyzed, the pleasant dinner conversation we have just enjoyed can be seen as a set of strategic "moves" in which roles and dominance relations are acted out. Whether our immediate experiential evaluation or our analytic dissection is more "truthful" is an open question. We will conclude by analyzing transcripts of a set of psychotherapeutic interviews; both the therapist and the patient will be dissected. At the end of the term students will be organized into a small number of interest groups and will do individual projects within this context; sample topics include joking, telephone conversation, sermons, cross-cultural discourse, and metaphor. (Lawler)

350. Perspectives on Second Language Learning and Second Language Instruction. (3). (Excl).

The purpose of this course is to explore past and current directions in both theoretical and practical aspects of second/foreign language learning and teaching. The course will examine a number of language learning/teaching paradigms and focus on the changing forms and functions of methodology, technique and approach as the emphasis of language pedagogy has shifted from teacher directed, drill and pattern practice to learner focused, task based instruction. Students will have an opportunity to reflect upon and analyze their own language learning experiences and begin to critique and understand the instructional needs of varying language learning populations. (Morley)

410/Anthro. 474. Language and Discrimination: Language as Social Statement. (3). (SS).

In this course we examine the interplay between language and ideological processes which function below the level of consciousness. We are concerned with the suppression of linguistic variation; that is, with the development of a standard language ideology, which is understood to be a bias toward an abstracted, idealized, (but ultimately unattainable) homogeneous spoken language, modeled on variants favored by the white, middle American mainstream. This ideology is one of many social practices on which people depend without close analysis of underlying assumptions. In this class, we will look into those assumptions linguistic and social. We will examine the way in which these behaviors are institutionalized by the media, the entertainment industry, school systems, business community and the judicial system, all of which promote standard language ideology and underwrite assimilatory and often discriminatory - practices, the goal of which is to suppress perfectly functional language variation intimately linked to homeland, race, and ethnicity. We will look at issues of language choice and accent as legal issues in the courts. This course should be of interest to those concerned with non-mainstream language varieties as a cultural resource and asset, historical heritage and potential complication in supra-cultural communication. An introductory linguistics course would be helpful but is not essential. (Lippi-Green)

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

This is an introduction to phonetics (the study of the nature of speech sounds). The course will focus on (1) the description of speech sounds in terms of their articulatory, acoustic and perceptual characteristics and (2) the production and translation of sounds that occur in languages of the world. Class meetings will comprise lectures on articulation, acoustics or perception and drills in producing and transcribing particular classes of speech sounds. Weekly labs will include computer analysis of speech. Course grades will be based on transcriptions, lab assignments, midterm and final exams (and a language project for graduate students). No prerequisites, but an introductory linguistics course is strongly recommended. (Sands)

415. Generative Syntax. (3). (Excl).

The Principles-and-Parameters (P and P) approach to syntactic theory, most prominently brought forward by Chomsky and his colleagues, aims at representing certain areas of linguistic knowledge as 'mathematical-like' proof systems consisting of formal rules. Some of these rules are innate, thus universal, and form the common grammatical basis from which every language is learned: these are the 'principles.' Other rules allow for cross-linguistic variation via the settings of 'parameters' on a language-by-language basis. P and P rules are partitioned into intricately-interacting modules (phrase-structure (X-bar) theory, Case theory, etc.) applying at various levels of representations. This course introduces P and P and explains the workings of these modules and representations, as well as the philosophy, data and arguments justifying their theoretical status. Students are trained to use these modules in accounting for various syntactic and semantic patterns within and across languages. Course requirements include weekly assignments, two exams and a final paper. Text: Introduction to Government and Binding Theory, by L. Haegeman, Blackwell 1991.

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

This course explores the nature of historical relationships between languages, processes of linguistic change (a universal feature of all living languages) and the assumptions, methods, and tools employed by linguists in studying this phenomenon. Insofar as possible, examples of linguistic change and analytical techniques will be illustrated through a study of the history of several major language families, including Indo-European. There will be frequent discussions in class, as well as short written assignments. (Milroy)

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

Text has become a recurrent metaphor for the way we make sense of our world. This course explores how textuality has been interpreted in various disciplines and how the analysis of texts can be useful in answering different types of questions. Students can expect to gain a basic knowledge of various ways of analyzing both spoken and written texts. The course examines a variety of topics including why the concept of text is a useful and necessary way to think about human communication; how experience is encoded differently in speaking versus writing; different methods of analyzing texts; and how the analysis of texts enables us to understand such social problems as communication in families, doctor-patient interaction, and courtroom testimony. This course is seminar in format. A high level of student participation is expected. The course requirements include regular writing in response to course readings, homework assignments, and a final paper. Some background knowledge of linguistic concepts is important. (Keller-Cohen)

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

Language variation is present in all societies. Sometimes speakers choose to vary the language they use and sometimes they vary dialects of the same language. Many social factors such as gender, place of origin, level of education and social class affect a speaker's choice of language or dialect and how they use it. At the same time the language or dialect which a person speaks is crucial in determining their position in society, both in terms of economic achievement and in terms of personal social relationships which contribute to a sense of identity. The class will discuss such relationships between language and society and how they might be studied objectively. We will focus on issues directly affecting a person's everyday life, such as attitudes towards different languages and dialects and historical and social reasons for these attitudes; questions about why different groups of speakers in the same society use language differently and how this difference is evaluated; use of minority languages whose survival seems to be threatened and governments' language policies. We will look at how different societies deal with these issues to provide students with different perspectives . The required work for the class is three short (5-7 pp.) papers for undergraduates. Graduate students will be required to write two papers of 5-7 pp. and one of 18-20 pp. The second paper will be a report of a limited data-collection and analysis project. (Milroy)

447/Psych. 445. Psychology of Language. Psych. 340. (3). (Excl).

What does the mind have to do with language? What happens when we read or hear speech? How are abstract ideas changed into physical sounds? Can we know more about our own language than we think we know? How do babies ever learn such a complicated system? Is some knowledge of language really innate? Does linguistic knowledge derive from general intelligence, or is it a special kind of knowledge all its own? How is this knowledge located in the brain? And above all, how can we possibly develop satisfying answers to such questions? In this course you will learn how psycholinguistics attempts to do precisely this, through a careful study of data from a range of sources: observations of children's behavior, collection of slips of the tongue, controlled experiments of speech perception and sentence understanding, investigations of sign language, work with people with brain damage, and scans of brains in action. (Myers)

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

See Psychology 451. (Tardif)

492. Topics in Linguistics. (3). (Excl). May be elected for credit twice.
Section 001 Description and Analysis of Speech Characteristics.
This course examines speech characteristics with the use of computerized tools. Each student will measure and describe his/her own speech characteristics through lab work. Then, we will discuss and compare characteristics of different speakers. The course intends to help students understand and explore current and potential applications of speech technology in various fields. Some science or linguistics background will be helpful. Prerequisite: interest in speech. (Duanmu)


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