Courses in Linguistics (Division 423)

112(111). Languages of the World. (4). (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. We will examine selected languages from various parts of the world to see what they can tell us about human languages in general: How are they alike and how do they differ? How do they change? How do they help structure the worlds and societies of their speakers? At the same time students will gain some insight into how linguists proceed in their task of analysis and explanation. They will also learn how to confront texts in languages they do not know. There are weekly problem sets, readings, and two hour exams. No prerequisites.

Section 002. This course is intended for those who are curious about human language but who have not had courses or formal training in linguistics. We will examine selected languages from various parts of the world to see what they can tell us about human languages in general: How are they alike and how do they differ? How do they change? How do they help structure the worlds and societies of their speakers? At the same time students will gain some insight into how linguists proceed in their task of analysis and explanation. They will also learn how to confront texts in languages they do not know. There are weekly problem sets, readings, and two hour exams. No prerequisites. (Myhill)

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). Cost:1 WL:4 (Alexander)

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, 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 some of the world's writing systems and nonverbal communication ("body language"). (Cooper)

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

See Anthropology 272. (Mannheim)

305/Communication 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. Cost:2 WL:3 (Heath)

314. Text, Context, and Meaning. An introductory course in linguistics. (3). (Excl).

This course is an introduction to aspects of semantic and pragmatic systems in natural language. Seven topics will be covered: (1) lexical semantics, which will deal with phoenoma of word meaning and what it shows about features and the structuring of cultural and experiential concepts in language, including closed semantic sets, predicate categorization, and feature theory; (2) logical and formal systems, which will introduce basic concepts of propositional calculus, predicate calculus, and elementary modal logic and model theory, with their implications for the analysis of sentence meaning; (3) reference and coreference, which will treat the semantic and syntactic behavior of nouns and pronouns in language units of various sizes; (4) presupposition and entailment, which will deal with the pragmatic and logical aspects of phenomena like factivity and implication; (5) metaphor and cognition, which will explore the relation between language and mental representation, including imagery and its effect of semantic categories; (6) pragmatics, which will analyze the interpersonal dimensions of language use and their implications for linguistic meaning and structure); and (7) text analysis, which will treat the structure of larger units of language, as evidenced in such concepts as topic, focus, and coherence, and their relation to other linguistic structures. Emphasis in the course will be on data analysis. Prerequisite: an introductory course in linguistics. Cost:2 WL:3 (Lawler)

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 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 features and developments of earlier societies. The specific examples to be used are proto-Indoeuropean and early Roman culture and society. 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 vehicles of expression. Illustrations to be used include the spread of Christianity, the fall of the Roman Empire, the Norman conquest of England, the cultural impact of the Renaissance, the invention of printing, the Protestant Reformation, and the French Revolution. There will be two exams and a term paper. Readings will be made available in a course pack. Knowledge of a foreign language is not necessary. (Dworkin)

318. Types of Languages. One course in linguistics. (3). (Excl).

Human languages, especially those of unfamiliar cultures, appear to be very different on the surface. But closer examination reveals that languages differ in systematic ways, so that they can be divided into a relatively small number of basic types. In this course, you will discover and learn about some of these basic patterns. We will then explore the reasons why these patterns exist, seeking explanations in the communicative function of language, and the evolution of languages. The course will introduce students to basic grammatical structure and function by (1) having them investigate unfamiliar languages through published descriptive grammars and (2) relating this direct experience to the principal findings of contemporary linguistic researchers. Coursework will consist of a midterm, a final, and a series of regular assignments requiring students to consult a grammar (or grammars) to gather data on specific linguistic features. Through these assignments students can expect to develop some familiarity with a number of non- Western languages during the course. Prerequisite: a course in linguistics. (Hook)

319(316). Discourse in the Academic Disciplines. (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 research and citational practices, etc.); and (4) to discuss findings in a range of written and spoken formats. Thus the course hopes to demonstrate the value of linguistics as an interdisciplinary enquiry and of future discourse communities. There are no prerequisites, and those from other concentrations are especially welcome. (Olsen)

339/CAAS 339. African American Languages and Dialects. (3). (Excl).

This course is an introduction to the languages and dialects of people of African ancestry living in the New World. We will specifically focus on Black English Vernacular, but there will also be readings and discussion of English-based creoles spoken in places such as Jamaica, Guyana, and the Sea Islands off Georgia, as well as languages spoken by African Americans related to French (e.g., Haitian Creole, Louisiana Creole) and Portuguese (e.g., Vernacular Brazilian Portuguese). Students will be introduced to the basic structures and features of these languages, and we will discuss and read about their histories and present-day status. Aside from the more traditional usages of these languages for such purposes as day-to-day interaction, oral literature, and popular entertainment, we will also consider recent trends toward using them in the mass media, education, and government. There will also be a section of the class discussing some of the ancestral languages of the earliest Africans in the New World, such as Twi and Igbo, and elements and traits of these languages retained in African American languages to the present day. The course requirements are a midterm and final exam and a 15-20 page term paper. No prerequisite. (Myhill)

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. 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. Students will have opportunities to reflect upon and analyze their own language learning experiences, past/present, and those of others. (Madden)

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. Cost:2 WL:4 (Downing)

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 based on weekly homework, assignments, a midterm and a final. There are no prerequisites (Linguistics 412 is recommended). Cost:2 WL:4 (Downing)

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

This course will introduce students to the concepts and methods of syntactic analysis and argumentation. We will explore syntactic regularities in a wide range of data taken from English, as well as a number of other languages, and consider how these generalizations are to be expressed in a formal theoretical framework. The requirements include weekly assignments, and a final paper analyzing the structure of an "exotic" language. Cost:1 WL:4 (Alexander)

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

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). (Excl).

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 each 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. (Preston)

447(353)/Psych. 447. Psychology of Language. Introductory psychology. (3). (Excl).

See Psychology 447. (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)

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


Section 002 AMERICAN INDIAN LANGUAGES. American Indians and their languages: prehistory and history (short review of studies). Grouping of languages based on typological data. Grouping of languages based on the correspondences conditioned by genetic relationship. Application of the comparative-historical method to the languages of native America. Analysis of some studies (L. Campbell, I. Goddard, V. Golla, A. Manaster-Ramer et al.). Recent attempts to reconstruct proto- languages: Hokan, Penutian, Uto-Aztecan, Pano-Tacanan, etc. Some perspectives. J. Greenberg's concept of: recent discussions. Corroboration of Greenberg's thesis that neither Eskimo-Aleutian nor Na-Dene languages belong to "Amerind." Objections to his thesis that "Almosan-Keresiuan" languages belong to "Amerind. The necessity to reconstruct "intermediate" proto-languages before reconstructing proto-Amerind. Emergence of interdisciplinary studies: collaboration of linguists, archaeologists, geneticists and mathematicians. Pluses and minuses of this new approach. Students will be evaluated on their knowledge of the materials they get to read and analyse, and on the results of many exercises (both in class and at home). Cost:1 WL:3 (Shevoroshkin)

541/CS 595/EECS 595. Theory of Natural Language Structure. CS 492. (3). (Excl).

See Computer Science 595.

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