Linguistics Course Descriptions

Linguistics 296 - Psychology of Language Acquisition

See Psychology 296 for description. Not offered 2008-09.
Psychology 296 Description

Linguistics 311 - General Linguistics

Full course for one semester. Intended to give a broad introduction to linguistics. The course provides sufficient background in the various aspects of the discipline to allow students to pursue more specialized courses and to read independently in the field. The course employs readings and empirical problems in a wide range of the world’s languages. Topics introduced include the nature of language and the aims of linguistic description; historical linguistics; phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax; linguistic semantics; and selected issues in pragmatics, language variation and change, and socio- and psycholinguistics. This course is open to first-year students with consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Anthropology 311.
Anthropology 311 Description

Linguistics 312 - Advanced Linguistics

Full course for one semester. An opportunity to pursue intensive readings in specialized topics in linguistics. The focus of the course shifts from analytic procedures and basic concepts developed in Linguistics/Anthropology 311 to individual research and theoretical problems in linguistics. May be repeated for credit with consent of the instructor.  Prerequisite: Linguistics/Anthropology 311 or equivalent. Conference-seminar. Cross-listed as Anthropology 312.
Anthropology 312 Description

Linguistics 313 - Language in Society

Full course for one semester. The course will introduce the study of language, both spoken and written, as a central element in the construction of social life. On the one hand, society occasions and constrains language; on the other, linguistic behavior creatively affects social relationships and the contexts of social action. The class will use both ethnographic materials and modest field investigations of its own to explore this dual relationship. Prerequisite: Linguistics/Anthropology 311, either previously or concurrently, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Anthropology 313.
Anthropology 313 Description

Linguistics 321 - Phonology

Full course for one semester. Although no two utterances sound exactly the same, speakers of a language overlook distinctions to which mechanical recording devices are sensitive, and they “hear” contrasts that are objectively not there. This course examines the nature of the complex links between abstract language-specific perceptual worlds and the real world of actual sounds in light of the major empirical approaches and theoretical currents in the study of linguistic sound systems. It will consider the relations between the articulatory gestures of language and other levels of linguistics description, notably morphology and syntax, and will also explore different models for formulating phonological rules. Prerequisite: Linguistics/Anthropology 311 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Linguistics 323 - Introductory Syntax

Full course for one semester. The goal of syntax is to characterize the (largely unconscious) knowledge that enables speakers of a language to combine words into larger units such as phrases and sentences, and to "parse" (i.e., assign a structural representation to) the phrases and sentences that they read and hear. This course—accessible to students with no previous training in linguistics—will introduce increasingly explicit grammar fragments of English. The goal is to present a range of phenomena of concern to syntax, and to explore formal devices that have been proposed to account for such phenomena. The course will consider such topics as argument structure and grammatical relations, constituent structure, subcategorization and selectional restrictions, idioms, movement and locality, case assignment, empty categories, and the interpretation of pronouns. The course also introduces central concepts and notation from contemporary theoretical syntax, focusing on the Principles and Parameters framework developed by Noam Chomsky and others. Conference.

Linguistics 324 - Advanced Topics in Syntax

Full course for one semester. This course gives students the opportunity to build on concepts and methodologies learned in introductory syntax by exploring current research problems in formal syntax. Readings for the course include influential papers from the history of generative grammar, as well as more recent contributions to the field. This course also builds on the topics discussed in Morphosyntactic Typology by considering data from a wide variety of languages, and addressing the issue of how formal syntactic theories handle cross-linguistic variation. Topics covered may include word order variation, constraints on phrase structure and movement, functional categories, and the theory of anaphora. Prerequisite: Linguistics 323 or equivalent, or consent of the instructor. Linguistics 328 is recommended. Conference.

Linguistics 326 - Discourse

Full course for one semester. Within linguistics, the analysis of discourse includes the study of linguistic units larger than the sentence and extends, more generally, to the study of stretches of speech (as well as written language) in the context of their use. This course will introduce a linguistic approach to discourse, touching topics possibly familiar from other disciplines: the nature of text, the determinants of style, the variety of linguistic genres, both written and spoken, and literacy and orality, including conversation and gesture. The class will use empirical materials from a variety of languages and cultural traditions to fuel this exploration. Along the way, we will consider some well-known conundrums surrounding such notions as meaning, reference, topic, coherence, and context. Prerequisite: Linguistics/Anthropology 311 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Linguistics 328 - Morphosyntactic Typology

Full course for one semester. The course provides an introduction to cross-linguistic variation and language description. We develop the notion of linguistic typology and explore proposed universals of language, based on the comparative study of the morphology and syntax of the languages of the world. We consider such topics as parts of speech, word order, case marking, grammatical relations cross-linguistically, passive and its friends, causatives, relative clauses, and configurationality—all with reference to both the familiar languages of Europe and less familiar languages of the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Oceania. Prerequisite: Linguistics/Anthropology 311, or Linguistics 323, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Linguistics 329 - Morphology

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to the study of the internal structure of words, providing an overview of contemporary morphological theory and analysis. Topics include a survey of word formation processes (such as affixation, reduplication, and stem changes); the interface between word structure and other domains of organization in the grammar, such as sound structure (phonology) and sentence structure (syntax); and the reality of morphological categories such as "morpheme." Prerequisite: Linguistics/Anthropology 311 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Linguistics 332 - Dialects of English

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to dialectology (the study of regional variation in language), with an emphasis on the survey and analysis of the varieties of English currently spoken in the world. Students will acquire a practical knowledge of major lexical and structural differences among dialects of English, and will gain hands-on experience in the planning, implementation, and analysis of a dialect survey. Forms of English to be discussed include varieties of American English (Boston, New York, Southern, "Valley Girl") and British English (BBC, Liverpool, Scottish), as well as Indian English, Australian English, Singaporean English, and other colonial dialects. Other topics include Yiddish English, English-based pidgins and Creoles, and the influence of gender on language variation. Most of the dialects will be illustrated in the classroom either by native speakers or by audiovisual material, including video clips and songs. Prerequisite: Linguistics/Anthropology 311 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Linguistics 334 - Language and Politics

Full course for one semester. This course examines some of the core issues of contemporary sociopolitical theory from a semiotic- and linguistic-anthropological perspective. We address questions such as: To what degree is power a semiotic phenomenon? In what sense are “nations” and other political communities linguistically constructed? How might states be legitimated or authorized by particular discursive forms? Is a common language necessary (or sufficient) for forming a cohesive political community? What role do the institutions of linguistic standardization play in modern statehood? What are the semiotic and linguistic mechanisms through which novel political structures are instituted? How does political rhetoric, or propaganda, “work”? Readings will include classic statements on the nature of political power—in which language often plays an essential, if implicit and routinely unnoticed, theoretical role—as well as contemporary work, both theoretical and ethnographic, on the politics of language and the language of politics. Prerequisite: Linguistics/Anthropology 311 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Anthropology 334.
Anthropology 334 Description

Linguistics 336 - Linguistic Field Methods

Full course for one semester. Through the empirical study of a non-European language, using native-speaking informants, the course explores the aims and techniques of linguistic fieldwork. Students will be expected to produce fragments of linguistic description based on individual and conjoint elicitation. Prerequisites: two courses in linguistics or consent of the instructor. Recommended: Linguistics 328, and at least one other course focusing on formal analysis (such as Linguistics 321, 323, or 329). Conference with laboratory sessions.

Linguistics 338 - Language Acquisition

Full course for one semester. A central goal of linguistic theory is to explain how children learn a first language despite significant structural and typological differences between different possible languages. The course explores patterns in the acquisition of linguistic structure, concentrating on problems posed by cross-linguistic variation. The course devotes special attention to how children acquire spatial language in comparative perspective. The course also considers the influence on acquisition of the sociocultural matrix in which language use emerges. Prerequisite: Linguistics/Anthropology 311 or consent of the instructor. Conference-seminar. Not offered 2008-09.

Linguistics 341 - Semantics

Full course for one semester. The course will introduce the systematic study of meaning in language, ranging from problems in the semantic structure of lexical systems, and syntactic and morphological contributions to sentence meaning, to competing theories of truth-conditional semantics, situational semantics, and putative universal semantic primitives for integrated linguistic description. Prerequisite: Linguistics 323 (taken prior to, or concurrently with, the present course), or consent of the instructor. Students who wish to take Linguistics 341 concurrently with Linguistics 323 must have already completed Linguistics/Anthropology 311. Conference-seminar. Not offered 2008-2009.

Linguistics 344 - Historical Linguistics

Full course for one semester. This course will introduce the classical comparative method for identifying and comparing related languages. It will consider sound change, grammatical and semantic change, and the diffusion of linguistic features. It will consider further perspectives on language change, including structuralist (-functionalist) views, generative and variationist perspectives, and notions of lexical diffusion. Prerequisite: a previous course in linguistics or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Linguistics 348 - Languages of the Americas

Full course for one semester. The study of the language families of the Americas has been a central focus of both linguists and anthropologists. The diversity of the languages, their exotic nature compared to Indo-European, and the richness of materials available makes especially rewarding intense study of particular groups of languages. This course will concentrate, in any given year, on one such family. Beginning with typological considerations that locate the languages of the family within wider parameters of linguistic description, the course will include detailed syntactic treatment of at least one member of the family. We shall try to evaluate competing descriptive mechanisms in light of the structure, both syntactic and semantic, of the languages in question. May be repeated for credit with consent of the instructor. Prerequisite: Linguistics/Anthropology 311 or consent of the instructor. Conference-seminar. Cross-listed as Anthropology 348. Not offered 2008-09.
Anthropology 348 Description

Linguistics 352 - The Phonetics, Phonology, and Pragmatics of Prosody

Full course for one semester. This course will explore linguistic prosody from a range of theoretical, structural, and functional perspectives. We will begin by first contextualizing prosodic research historically, philosophically, and academically—focusing on the long-term relative neglect of prosody in the 20th century linguistic theory—and, second, constructing a (more or less) theory-neutral metalanguage appropriate to the cross-linguistic description and analysis of prosody. We will turn our attention to the major prosodic features and structures (e.g., length, stress/accent, tone, intonation) in terms of their phonetic manifestation, their phonological organization, and their pragmatic function. We will compare, contrast, and critically evaluate the most important contemporary theoretical perspectives on prosody and, finally, investigate the potential utility of a distinctly semiotic-anthropological approach to its study. Prerequisite: Linguistics/Anthropology 311 and one other linguistics course. Conference.

Linguistics 354 - Fundamentals: Key Topics in Modern Linguistic Theory

Full course for one semester. This course will explore the key controversies, philosophical debates, theoretical commitments and guiding assumptions that frame contemporary linguistics. The specific thematic focus will differ each time the course is offered, in accordance with the interests of both faculty and students. The course may be concerned primarily with comparing and contrasting the methodological, analytic, and theoretical features of functional as opposed to formal approaches to language and linguistics; or it may closely examine philosophically rationalist as opposed to empiricist approaches, as represented today by the perennial controversy over the nature, status, and specificity of "innate" linguistic structures, capacities, or faculties. Prerequisites: Anthropology/Linguistics 311 and one other linguistics course. Conference.

Linguistics 393 - Psycholinguistics

See Psychology 393 for description.
Psychology 393 Description

Linguistics 395 - Advanced Psycholinguistics – Embodied Language

See Psychology 395 for description. Not offered 2008-09.

Linguistics 411 - Performance and Performativity

See Anthropology 411 for description. Not offered 2008-09.
Anthropology 411 Description

Linguistics 430 - Signs

See Anthropology 430 for description. Not offered 2008-09.
Anthropology 430 Description

Linguistics 439 - Psycholinguistic Research: Bilingualism

See Psychology 439 for description.

Linguistics 470 - Thesis

Full course for one year.

Linguistics 481 - Independent Reading

One-half or full course for one semester. Open only to upper-class students with special permission.

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