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. Additional topics include language acquisition, language and the brain, and language change. F. Lionnet, C. Fellbaum
LIN 205 Beginning American Sign Language (also ) Fall
The primary goal is to build a strong foundation for acquiring American Sign Language (ASL) and understanding Deaf culture. Students will acquire basic vocabulary and grammar through interactive activities in order to develop conversational skills in ASL. Students will also focus on developing visual skills, which are critical to attaining proficiency in ASL, through various exercises. In addition, the basics of Deaf culture and Deaf American history will be discussed. N. Buchholz
LIN 206 Beginning American Sign Language II (also ) Fall
This course aims to improve conversation skills in ASL, review and refine knowledge of basic grammar, broaden vocabulary, develop ASL-English translation skills, and increase awareness of Deaf culture. Students will develop their ASL skills through interactive activities in class and interacting with Deaf people out of class. N. Buchholz
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 210 Introduction to Historical and Comparative Linguistics (also ) Fall
This course provides an introduction to the study of language change and language families. We will examine different types of language change (sound change, syntactic change, meaning change), and look at the explanation of such change. We will learn the core methodologies of Historical Linguistics, especially the Comparative Method, and apply it to a wide variety of languages. We will also examine a number of case studies of language change due to the contact with other languages, and the many different results which take place (language shift, linguistic convergence, pidginization/creolization, etc.). Staff
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 Fall
As educated users of language, many of us have strong feelings about it, such as how we should use it ("That isn't what 'literally' means!") and why. Which of these feelings are valid and which are closer to folklore? In this class, we investigate many preconceptions about language, objectively explore their validity as myth or fact, and make conclusions about how human languages can(not) be described. Topics may include whether: women talk more than men, children learn languages better than adults, legalese is more precise, dolphins use language, all languages/dialects are equally sophisticated, and bilingualism makes you smarter.
LIN 250 Language in Its Contexts Spring
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
This course is an introduction to the science of speech sounds (phonetics) and sound systems (phonology). Students will 1) learn how sounds from a wide variety of languages are produced, and learn to produce and transcribe them; 2) understand and analyze the acoustic properties of speech sounds using (free) software; 3) understand the unconscious knowledge speakers have of the rules and constraints that govern their native language's sound system; 4) extract phonological generalizations from phonetic data from various languages; 5) learn about the similarities and differences between the sound systems of the world's languages.
LIN 302 Syntax Fall
Syntax is the aspect of human language involved in building phrases out of words. How do words combine - like beads on a string? Are words the smallest building blocks of phrases? How can we make predictions about what is possible and impossible in these structures? This course aims to answer these questions while focusing on the methods linguists use to analyze natural language expressions. Explorations of universal properties of language structures, as well as the ways in which those structures can vary. Strong emphasis on building and testing hypotheses on the basis on language data and foundational field principals.
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 Spring
This course delves into the internal composition of words (morphology) across languages. What is a word? What can be inside of a word? Do all languages build words in the same way(s), with the same sorts of ingredients? How similar is word-building to sentence-building? We will engage deeply with both the empirical and theoretical side of this topic, exploring not just morphology, but also its interactions with phonology (sound systems) and syntax (sentence structure). This class is highly interactive and hands-on. Students will develop tools of analysis and argumentation that are applicable in all areas of linguistics and beyond.
LIN 308 Bilingualism (also ) Spring
This course covers the linguistic, psycholinguistic, neurolinguistic, and sociolinguistic aspects of bilingualism. We examine language acquisition in monolingual and bilingual children, the notion of "critical age" for language acquisition, definitions and measurements of bilingualism, and the verbal behavior of bilinguals such as code-switching. We consider the effects of bilingualism on other cognitive domains, including memory, and examine neurolinguistic evidence comparing the brains of monolinguals and bilinguals. Societal and governmental attitudes toward bilingualism in countries like India and the U.S. are contrasted. C. Fellbaum
LIN 309 Psychology of Language (See PSY 309)
LIN 310 Intonation: Melody in Language Fall
What is intonation? How can we measure it, transcribe it, an analyze it? What kinds of contributions does it make to a sentence's meaning? This class focuses on American English melodic patterns, addressing questions such as: What is the difference between English-style intonation and Mandarin-style tone? Do all questions have the same intonation? What does a comma sound like? Students learn how to analyze prosodic data using laboratory methods, computer software, and standard annotation conventions. They also learn how prosodic features interact with other aspects of language to convey a variety of meanings.
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 334 Semantics (See PHI 334)
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
This course provides a thorough intro to the principles and practice of linguistic fieldwork. Students will be trained in methods of language description and analysis based on data provided by a native speaker of an unfamiliar language. A wide range of topics will be covered, from data collection techniques to the theoretically informed analysis of the collected data, and all major subfields of linguistics will be involved. This course is designed for students interested in documentary/descriptive linguistic work and those interested in incorporating linguistics data into research in theoretical linguistics.
LIN 360 Linguistic Universals and Language Diversity Spring
This course delves into linguistic typology: How do we classify languages? ow much can languages differ from each other? What linguistic properties (if any) are shared across all languages? The course will demonstrate that, contrary to initial impressions, languages of the world do not differ arbitrarily and without limit. All human languages share a common core (universals). We must therefore explain why there are linguistic universals and along what parameters languages can vary (diversity). To do so, we will look at a wide range of linguistic phenomena across unrelated languages, many of which are endangered.
LIN 412 Advanced Syntax Not offered this year
This course develops students' syntactic reasoning abilities beyond the introductory level, providing new tools for analyzing the syntactic components of linguistics phenomena. We read and discuss both classic and contemporary syntactic research on a variety of topics, including syntactic issues in word order, pronunciation, and interpretation. Students apply these tools to a broad set of linguistic data, from a variety of languages, both in and out of the classroom. The course culminates in each student writing a "squib", in which they test multiple hypotheses on a syntactic phenomenon of their choice.
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)