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 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)

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 all always speak the same way? There will be a series of short assignments and two exams. There are no prerequisites. (Ard)

272/Anthro. 272. Language in Society. Primarily for freshmen and sophomores. (4). (SS).

See Cultural Anthropology 272. (Mannheim)

310. Language, Cognition and Evolution. (3). (SS).

This course will review the evidence that bears upon the evolution of the capacity for language in the human species, and of the cognitive capacities that are associated with language. This evidence, although incomplete, is extremely diverse. It includes: the nature of animal communication systems, particularly among our closest animal relatives, the primates; human non-verbal communication and its relation to language; the evidence of human fossils since these may give hints about the mental and linguistic ability of early humans; archaeological remains that may suggest the stage of related non-verbal cultural attainments; the structure and function of the human brain as these relate to language and the differences between human and non-human brains; the interdependence of language and cognitive capacity in humans; deaf signing as an alternative human communication system that may illuminate the nature of our more usual verbal language; child language, since the transition that each child makes from non-verbal to verbal communication may reflect the similar transition that the entire species once made; Pidgin languages which, some believe, reveal the underlying nature of human linguistic competence; the comparative evidence of modern human languages. There will be a midterm and final examination and students will write a short term paper on a topic of special interest to them. The course has no prerequisites. It is anticipated that this course will be cross- listed in Anthropology so that credit will be possible under either Linguistics or Anthropology. (Burling)

311. Language Use in Human Affairs. (3). (HU).

The purpose of this course is to explore past and current directions in both theoretical and practical aspects of second language learning and teaching. The background of knowledge and experience it provides is intended not only for those interested in finding out about the learning and the teaching of English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) but is applicable to foreign language teaching as well. Over the past two decades, linguistic, psycholinguistic, and sociolinguistic perspectives on language and teaching have changed in some very basic ways. Significant changes in concepts about the nature of second language learning and learner processes have had a marked effect on second language pedagogy. From a learner-centered premise that second language instruction is concerned with enabling learners to use the second language effectively and comfortably to reach their own personal, educational, occupational, and social objectives, this course will examine a number of language learning/teaching paradigms and will study the changing forms and functions of methodologies, learning activities, and instructional materials involved. Perspectives on the teacher will focus on teachers as managers of language- learning experiences, not just drill-leaders and presenters of material. (Ard)

316. Discourse and Discipline. (3). (HU).

The aims of this course are: 1) to provide a structured opportunity for participants to reflect upon similarities and differences among the disciplinary and departmental cultures they have experienced; 2) to relate those experiences to the work of scholars who have examined such cultures from differing perspectives; 3) to investigate, via various techniques of discourse analysis, primary data in the U-M environment (textbooks, classes, course outlines, faculty research and citational practices, etc.); 4) to discuss findings in a range of written and spoken formats. Thus the course hopes to demonstrate the value of linguistics as an inter- disciplinary enquiry and to provide perceptions that will assist participants in becoming members of future discourse communities. There are no Linguistics prerequisites, and those from other concentrations are especially welcome. (Swales)

408/Engl 408. Varieties of English. (3). (Excl).

See English 408. (Bailey)

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. (Hook)

413. Phonology. (3). (Excl).

This is a course in phonological analysis. The structure of sound systems will be investigated primarily through problem solving. As we examine phonological data from a wide range of languages, we will focus on the types of evidence that are relevant to the solution of these data. In doing so, we will consider the relation between phonological description and explanation in contemporary phonological theory. Class sessions will consist of lectures and discussions of problem sets. The final grade will be determined by a midterm exam, final exam, and homework assignments. There are no prerequisites, but Linguistics 412 is strongly recommended. (Beddor)

415. Generative Syntax. Linguistics 401. (3). (SS).

This course will introduce students to different formal syntactic models: Government and Binding; Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar, Lexical Functional Grammar, and Relational Grammar. This class has three main goals: to enable students to critically read primary literature within these frameworks, to teach them how to systematically analyze data, and to teach them how to advance arguments for and against certain analyses. In the initial stages of the class, lectures and reading assignments from secondary sources will be used to introduce students to the essentials of each of these frameworks; later, they will read primary sources, and these sources will be used as the basis for in-class argumentation concerning the validity of certain proposed analyses. At the same time, students will do regular assignments involving data analysis within the different frame- works, the aim being to develop in the students a fluency in shifting from one framework to another. Specific topics to be covered will include thematic relations, grammatical relations, binding theory, case-marking, anaphora, filters, movement and extraction, and empty categories. Students taking this course should have taken some previous course involving syntactic analysis (e.g., Linguistics 315 or 401) or should have the consent of the instructor. (Myhill)

416. Field Methods in Linguistics. One course in phonetics or phonology and a course in syntax, or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

The course will be devoted entirely to working with a native speaker of a non-Western language and to learning as much about this language as is possible during a single term. During the first few weeks we will focus on the phonology of the language but once we know enough about phonology to transcribe consistently, we will turn to syntax and, to the extent that time allows, to other areas of the language. Students will have the opportunity to work with the informant both during class time and in small group sessions. All the information that individual students collect will be shared with all class members in order to make sure that we all have access to a substantial corpus of data. There will be no examinations but students will be required to write at least two papers. One of these, due after about one third of the term has passed, will describe the phonology of the language. A second and more substantial paper, due later in the term, will deal with a topic in an area such as syntax, typology, or socio-linguistics, in accordance with the student's special interest. (Burling)

418. Functionalism and Typology. Linguistics 401. (3). (HU).

This course provides an introduction to the cross-linguistic study of grammatical systems and their explanation. We will begin by describing the role of cross-linguistic comparison in linguistic theory, and then examine in detail the types of similarities and patterns of variation among languages that have been discovered. We will then examine the types of explanations, functional and historical, that have been proposed for the typological patterns. Coursework will involve short homework assignments and one or two in-class exams. There is no official prerequisite for this course, but prior coursework in syntax or semantics (especially Linguistics 401) would be useful. (Croft)

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

In this course we will be examining language in relation to the community and culture of the people using it. As a departure point, we will discuss the theoretical framework of sociolinguistics as it contrasts and complements earlier linguistic theory, particularly classical dialectology and structuralism; and concurrent theory, such as generative grammar and social dialectology. We will consider concepts such as accent, dialect and standard; prescription of language use, standardization and authority in language and attitude; the role and dynamics of pidgins and creoles; and the social marking of speech for gender, age and other social group language norms, as well as the rejection or acceptance of such norms, both in urban and rural settings. Finally, we will be considering field methodology and quantitative methods. We establish our social identity every time we engage in conversation; this course is designed to make its students aware of this process. Prerequisite: Linguistics 411, equivalent, or permission of instructor. Grading will be based on occasional problem sets, midterm and final. Text: Hudson, SOCIOLINGUISTICS; course pack. (Lippi)

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

Section 001 PERSPECTIVES ON THE L2 LEARNER AND L2 TEACHER. The purpose of this course is to explore past and current directions in both theoretical and practical aspects of second language learning and teaching. The background of knowledge and experience it provides is intended not only for those interested in finding out about the learning and the teaching of English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) but is applicable to foreign language teaching as well. Over the past two decades, linguistic, psycholinguistic, and sociolinguistic perspectives on language and teaching have changed in some very basic ways. Significant changes in concepts about the nature of second language learning and learner processes have had a marked effect on second language pedagogy. From a learner-centered premise that second language instruction is concerned with enabling learners to use the second language effectively and comfortably to reach their own personal, educational, occupational, and social objectives, this course will examine a number of language learning/ teaching paradigms and will study the changing forms and functions of methodologies, learning activities, and instructional materials involved. Perspectives on the learner will focus on learners as active creators in their learning process, not as passive recipients. Perspectives on the teacher will focus on teachers as managers of language-learning experiences, not just drill-leaders and presenters of material. Graduate students will complete an additional project. (Morley)


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