Courses in Linguistics (Division 423)

112. Languages of the World. (3). (SS).
Section 001.
Language pervades virtually every aspect of human existence. This course helps the student to appreciate and understand the range of variety of language among various peoples of the world. In particular, we will examine how languages may differ in their structures and sound systems, and what common aspects all human languages share. Real language data from various parts of the world will be used for classroom analysis. Cost:1 (Duanmu)

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. (Myhill)

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. (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. (Keller-Cohen)

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

See Anthropology 272. (Burling)

314. Introduction to Word Analysis. (3). (Excl).

This course will investigate the relationship between the use of linguistic devices and context. Contextual phenomena we will address include politeness, topicality, new vs. old information, genre, narrative, viewpoint, and paragraph structure. Linguistic topics to be discussed include pronoun usage, discourse markers, word order, voice, modality, and aspect. Students will be required to write three papers relating contextual factors and linguistic representation, taking their data from written texts. (Myhill)

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. Cost:1 (Hook)

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 practicl 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. (Madden)

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) homogenous 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 langauge 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)

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:1 (Burling)

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

Phonology studies the sound system of human speech. We will examine the fundamental elements of sounds, the intrinsic structures among the elements, and higher levels of sound organization. We will also discuss the nature of sound change, both synchronically and through time, and the diversity and commonality among different human speeches. In addition, we will ask what phonology can tell us about the human mind. Both theory and problem solving ability will be emphasized. Prerequisite: Linguistics 412 or by permission of the instructor. (Duanmu)

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

The Principles-&-Parameters 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. In theory, these rules fall under two components of grammar: the principles and the parameters. The former are innate, thus universal, and form the common grammatical basis from which every language is learned. As of the parameters, their settings are deduced on a language-by-language basis, from the linguistic data available to the language learner from its particular environment such parameters would be, inter alia, what account for the diversity exhibited among languages of the world. This course will introduce the Principles-&-Parameters framework, along with its particular modes of argumentation and linguistic analysis. We will explore syntactic and semantic regularities from a number of languages, and consider how these generalizations can be expressed using 'principles' and 'parameters'. (Course requirements include weekly assignments, two exams and a final paper.) Cost:2 (Degraff)

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. (Shevoroshkin)

455. Introduction to Cognitive Grammar. One of the following: Ling. 210, 211, 411, Psych. 447, or 451; or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

What goes on in your head when you talk, or listen to someone else talk? This course will present the grammar of English from a cognitive perspective, based on psychological models of the storage and processing of concepts in the mind. In this perspective, grammar is a cognitive system that evolved in response to two major adaptive pressures: (1) constraints imposed by the structure of the human mind and (2) the need to encode, transmit and decode meaning in words and sentences. Language is a symbolic system, and the structure of the symbol (i.e., the sentences) can be explained in large part as a reflection of how we conceptualize the world. Grammar appears to be a gigantic network of stored constructions in the mind, and the processes of expression and understanding are ones of categorizing concepts in the "right" place in the network. We will explore the cognitive grammar of English, with occasional comparisons to other languages. (van Hoek)

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

Seection 001 Creole Languages & Caribbean Identities. Creole languages spoken in the Caribbean are among the off-spring of colonization's interbreeding of African and European cultures. Haitian Creole, for example, takes its primary roots from both Niger-Congo languages and varieties of French, as spoken on 17th and 18th century plantations. Through a sample of linguistic case studies, we will explore creolization from a historical and comparative perspective, tracing Caribbean creoles back to their African and European ancestors. Are Caribbean creoles simply `dialects' of European languages? Or, in the opposite extreme view, are most creole grammatical structures inherited from their African progenitors, with the European contribution limited to providing words? With such questions as a back-drop, we will evaluate various hypotheses about Creole genesis, and explore the creative aspects of creolization, namely, creole structures which seem absent from the source languages. Then, we will examine the socio-cultural ramifications of creolization and their intrinsic syncretism, as expressed through religion, music, literature, etc. We will also address questions of identities and (mis-)identifications by looking at creole speakers' attitudes toward race and toward the African and European components of their languages and cultures. Parallels and differences will be drawn with facets of African-American society. (Materials for analysis will include texts, recordings and films.) (Degraff)


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