Courses in Linguistics (Division 423)

112. Languages of the World. (2). (SS).

See Linguistics 112 (Spring Term).

211. Introduction to Language. (2). (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, how children acquire language and the role of the brain in speech. 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. Next we will consider social attitudes toward language (including "low prestige" dialects and sign language) and how sexism and racism are reflected in language. The course concludes with an examination of language as a political entity and the current movement for official English in the United States. Course work includes weekly homework assignments. The final exam is mandatory.

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