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Linguistics Program

Fall 2024 Linguistics Courses

What is language? How does language make us who we are? This introductory course addresses issues of linguistic relevance to your daily life: What is language? Are human language and animal communication really that different? Is English a global language? Who speaks the best English? What does our speech say about who we are, where we come from, and where we are going? How do children learn language? Why is it so hard to learn a second language? How do we process language? What does language look like in our brains?

Examine world history and political events through the lens of language! Learn how international and local political and ethnic conflicts can be better understood through the lens of language, how language plays into the politics of power and social difference, and how linguistic minorities have struggled through conquest, colonization, immigration, enslavement, and class distinctions.

This course introduces students to linguistic and anthropological concepts through the lens of South Korean popular culture. Through its survey of cultural genres and products recognized as part of the global Korean Wave (hallyu), including television serials (dramas), popular music (K-pop), and dishes (sundubu jjigye), the course will acquaint students with scholarly perspectives on code-switching, crossing, accent, language competence, hybridity, authenticity, transnationalism, and globalization, in addition to examining how Korean popular culture intersects with social dimensions of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Students will be required to learn basic phonological, syntactic, and pragmatic aspects of the Korean language.

What is language and how does it define us? Language is both a system and creative entity. It lives in our brains but is shaped by society as a social convention. Come learn how the cognitive and social sides work together and help shape us as human beings.

How does English work? Why is there no “proper English”? This course provides an introduction to the field of linguistics through an in-depth exploration of many facets of the English language. We will examine the English sound system (phonetics and phonology), word structure (morphology), grammar (syntax), and meaning and usage (semantics). We will also consider other aspects of English, including its acquisition by children, its history as a language, and its social functions as a local and global language. LING 305.001/

Not your parents’ Spanish class, and not like any you’ve had before! Analyze and practice pronunciation based on the study of Spanish speech sounds and processes. Your pronunciation will improve dramatically, including such obvious markers of nonnative status as the pronunciation of vowels and trilled rr. To top it off, you will more easily recognize and identify different accents and dialects, and improve general listening comprehension.

How language defines us and our cultural background; how it places us in society In this introductory course we will be exploring the relationship between language, culture, and communication as it has been theorized and analyzed within linguistic anthropology, one of the four main fields of American Anthropology. You will learn about what scholars have had to say on the subject, past and present, as well as gain hands-on-experience in what linguistic anthropologists actually do.

We will survey work on non-literal language use conducted in linguistics, experimental pragmatics, and the philosophy of language over the last 40 years. Much of this work has been centered on irony, sarcasm, and metaphor, although, more recently, attention has turned to other figurative uses, such as hyperbole, metonymy, and litotes. This course is premised on the notion that literal and non-literal uses of language belong on a continuum, with strictly literal uses on one end and highly poetic uses on the other, and that ordinary language usage is rarely strictly literal. We will look at the work of cognitive linguists, such as Lakoff & Johnson, who think that not only language but thought itself is shot through with metaphor. We will also look at alternative accounts, such as those offered by Relevance Theory, neo-Gricean pragmatics, and Conceptual Blending Theory. We will look at work on the development of metaphor and irony comprehension in children, as well as at experimental studies on the production and comprehension of non-literal language by adults. The aim of this experimental work is to delineate the mental faculties underlying non-literal language use. Finally, we will look at recent work on metaphor that uses corpus methods to study patterns of metaphor use in various contexts (e.g., the use of metaphor in end- of-life care and in science popularization).

Not your high-school grammar course! Have you ever heard about descriptive grammar? This course will introduce you to grammar patterns emerging from a million-word written and spoken corpus. By the end of the course, you should be familiar with grammatical terms and be able to explain grammar rules, diagram English sentences, carry out editing, and perform linguistic analysis at discourse level.

Bilingual language development, social and cultural aspects of bilingualism, the bilingual brain, bilingualism throughout the lifespan.

The course will discuss language change during the history of the English language, covering the Old, Middle, and Modern English periods. Attention will be paid primarily to phonology and morphology, but also to syntax and semantics. The role of dialects and the emergence of the standard language will be treated. The relationship of English to the other Germanic languages (German, Scandinavian, etc.) will be discussed.

(taught in Spanish) Qué es, para qué lo usamos y cómo funciona. ¿Qué significa “saber una lengua”? El objetivo principal de este curso es una comprensión lo más amplia posible del lenguaje humano: ¿Qué significa “saber español”? ¿En qué difiere el español de las otras lenguas? ¿En qué se parece? ¿Debemos seguir hablando de una lengua, “el español”, o de varios “españoles”? Este curso presentará a los estudiantes las diferentes áreas en que está dividida la lingüística española y los problemas de los que se ocupa cada área.

 Theories of speech perception, linguistic theories of syntax and semantics, the brain mechanisms underlying language, the development of language in children, and the role of language in thought



Previous courses: 

Fall 2023 [pdf]

Spring 2023 [pdf]

Fall 2022

Spring 2022

Fall 2021

Spring 2021

Fall 2020

Spring 2020

Fall 2019

Spring 2019

Fall 2018

Spring 2018

Fall 2017

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.