LIN 201 Introduction to Language and Linguistics (also ) Fall/Spring
An introduction to the scientific analysis of the structure and uses of language. Core areas covered include phonetics and phonology, morphology, the lexicon, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, with data from a wide range of languages. Topics include the biological basis of language, language and cognition, the neurology of language and language disorders, and first and second language acquisition. C. Fellbaum
LIN 208 Origins and Nature of English Vocabulary (See CLA 208)
LIN 209 Introduction to the History of the Russian Language (See RUS 209)
LIN 212 Human Language: A User's Guide Not offered this year
Where does language come from? How do we know that you can't say it that way? And who has the authority to tell you? Why are some sentences better than others? Why do the same words differently organized have different effects? This course is about human language, its nature, use, users, and origin, based primarily on English. Major topics include the structure of sentences, paragraphs, words; language and thought; and the historical and biological origins of language. Two 90-minute classes.
LIN 216 Language, Mind, and Brain (also ) Not offered this year
This course examines the complex mental and neurological processes that underlie linguistic knowledge and behavior. It will be concerned with the precise description and measurement of language activity, with its governing principles, and with available indices for the associated neural computations and their location in the brain. Seminar. Staff
LIN 235 Mythbusting Language Spring
As educated users of language, many of us have strong feelings on language, including how we should use it ("That isn't what 'literally' means!") and why we should do so. Which of these feelings are valid and which are closer to folklore? In this class, we investigate several language myths, objectively explore their validity, and make conclusions about how human languages can (not) be described. Myths we may address include: women talk more than men, children learn languages better than adults, legalese is more linguistically precise, dolphins use language, all languages/dialects are equally sophisticated, and bilingualism makes you smarter.
LIN 250 Language in Its Contexts Fall
This course investigates language in its social, cultural, political, and historical contexts. Does your native language influence your perception, your behavior, and your culture? How does your identity influence properties of your language? What happens when unrelated languages come into contact for prolonged periods? How are new languages born? Why isn't English the official language of the United States, and should it be? We will explore these questions (and more) by engaging with the often contradictory opinions of specialists and the public, as well as with the empirical realities behind these different language situations.
LIN 260 Languages of Africa (also ) Fall
About 2000 of the world's 6000 to 7000 languages are spoken in Africa. The diversity that characterizes these languages is exceptional, but very little is known to non-specialists. In this course, we will learn about the languages of Africa: the diversity of their linguistic structures (including famous features that are found nowhere else, e.g. click consonants), their history and the history of their speakers (from ca 10,000 BP to the (post) colonial period), and their cultural contexts, among other topics. This course has no prerequisites, and is open to anyone with an interest in African languages or the African continent. F. Lionnet
LIN 301 Phonetics and Phonology Spring
The analysis of sound patterns of human languages. Examination of articulatory phonetics as incorporated into a system of phonological rules accounting for these patterns. Survey of basic concepts and relations including levels of representation (phonetic versus phonemic), types and ordering of rules, and phonological change. Three classes. Prerequisite: 201 or instructor
LIN 302 Syntax Fall
Methods of syntactic analysis of natural language (primarily English, with brief consideration of other languages). Foundations of a theory of generative grammar, covering phrase structure, transformations, and conditions on rules and representations. The general principles of syntactic structure that determine the form and interpretation of sentences are a major focus. Two 90-minute classes. Prerequisite: 201 or instructor's permission.
LIN 303 Linguistic Semantics Not offered this year
The central issues and leading theories of linguistic semantics for natural languages. Analyses of specific linguistic phenomena will be used to illustrate the interaction of syntax and semantics, the relation between language and the world, and the role of linguistic meaning in communication and understanding. Prerequisite: 201 or instructor's permission.
LIN 304 Introduction to Machine Translation (See TRA 301)
LIN 306 The Structure and Meaning of Words Not offered this year
The structure of words and the overall lexicon for human languages. Topics include word formation rules; the relation between syntax and the lexicon; the psychology of the lexicon, especially word storage and access; the semantics of complex words; the phonology of word formation; lexical redundancy and the learning of the lexicon. Two 90-minute classes. Prerequisite: 201 or instructor's permission.
LIN 308 Bilingualism (also ) Spring
Covers the linguistic, psycholinguistic, neurolinguistic, and sociolinguistic aspects of bilingualism. Topics include: language acquisition in mono- and bilingual children; the "critical age" for first and second language acquisition; definitions and measurements of bilingualism; effects of bilingualism on other cognitive domains; neurolinguistic evidence comparing language processing in mono- and bilingual individuals; and the origins and circumstances of bilingualism and language death. Also addresses the contrasting societal and governmental attitudes towards multilingualism in countries like India and the U.S. Two 90-minute lectures. C. Fellbaum
LIN 309 Psychology of Language (See PSY 309)
LIN 310 Intonation: Melody in Language Fall
Methods of exploration and analysis of English melodic patterns, addressing questions such as: How do you pronounce a question differently from a statement? How do you pronounce a comma? Students learn how to analyze prosodic data (intonation, phrasing, and prominence) using computer software and standard annotation conventions, leading to student-run research. Comparisons of the English intonational system to systems of other languages of the world.
LIN 314 Linguistics and Language Acquisition (also ) Not offered this year
What does it mean to know a language? Is it something we learn or something the brain "grows?" What aspects of language are innate? Is parents' speech important in language learning? An examination of the properties of child language through the lens of current linguistic theory. Two 90-minute classes. A. Goldberg
LIN 316 Second Language Acquisition: Theory and Praxis (See GER 316)
LIN 336 Introduction to Indo-European (See CLA 336)
LIN 346 Introduction to Formal Semantics (See PHI 346)
LIN 355 Field Methods in Linguistics Spring
In this course, students learn both the logistical components of doing field research as well as tools for conducting effective elicitations with native speakers, including background in linguistic typology and methods for elicitation. To develop these skills, approximately half of this course will be dedicated to linguistic elicitation with a native speaker of the language chosen for the semester. This course is designed to be beneficial to students interested in pursuing both documentary/descriptive linguistic work as well as those interested in incorporating linguistic data into research in theoretical linguistics.
LIN 360 Linguistic Universals and Language Diversity Fall
Linguistic theory accounts for what the grammars of all human languages share in common (linguistic universals) and the ways they differ (language diversity). The universality and diversity of syntactic subject, topic, voice, case, word order, and of constructions involving causatives, nonfinite verbal categories, relative clauses, and impersonal sentences. Two 90-minute classes.
LIN 408 Situated Language Usage: Conversations, Dialogues, and Other Goal-Based Communications (also
From ordering a cup of tea from a barista to exchanging abstract ideas with coursemates, human interactions are frequently goal-based and collaborative. To achieve shared goals, people exchange information and coordinate joint action using some form of spoken, gestured, or written language. In this course we will cover our current understanding of how people use and learn to use language in situated interactions and how this sheds light on our language abilities and language's relationship to general cognition. We will cover topics that range from speech production and comprehension, word usage, pragmatic inference, and learning. Staff
LIN 412 Advanced Syntax Not offered this year
Development of a modular theory of grammar involving subtheories of case, government, predicate/argument structure, and binding. Investigation of parametric variation across languages for principles of grammar. Two 90-minute classes.
LIN 445 Introduction to Sanskrit (See CLA 445)
LIN 475 Introduction to Sanskrit (See CLA 475)
LIN 476 Introduction to Sanskrit II (See CLA 476)