2008-2009 Linguistics Courses

* Language-related courses marked with an asterisk do not apply towards a BA or MA in Linguistics.

Fall 2008

AMST 201-2 Language in the US

Fall 2008
Ashley Williams 
MW 2-3:15

Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. is not (and never has been) linguistically homogenous: from dying and revitalized Native American languages to newly arrived immigrant languages, from regional and social dialect variation to innovation among adolescents and Hip Hop, the American language situation is diverse and changing. This course invites students to investigate this not-quite-melting-pot variety both through readings in current research and through small-scale field research. Topics covered in the course will include the origins and distinctions of American English, language controversies such as Ebonics and the English-Only movement, research in language attitudes and discrimination, topics in bilingualism and education, plus the latest studies in language issues involving different ethnicities, genders, sexualities, ages, and social classes. In this course we will pull material from a variety of sources (including films, literature, the media, and recent studies), and will employ a variety of approaches (linguistic, anthropological, sociological, historical, and more) as we investigate and debate what is uniquely "American" about the language situation in the United States.

 

ANTH 240 Language and Culture

Fall 2008
Tara Sanchez 
MW 9-9:50 + obligatory discussion sections

A survey of topics having to do with the relationship between language, culture, and society. We will consider both how language is described and analyzed by linguists and how linguistic data can shed light on a variety of social, cultural, and cognitive phenomena. Topics include: nature of language, origins of language, how languages change, use of linguistic evidence to make inferences about prehistory, the effects of linguistic categories on thought and behavior, regional and social variation in language, and cultural rules for communications. Satisfies the non-western perspectives requirement in the College.

 

ANTH 347/ ANTH 747/ MESA 347 Language and Culture in the Middle East

Fall 2008
Dan Lefkowitz
MW 2-2:50 + obligatory discussion sections

This course provides an introduction to the people, cultures, and histories of the Middle East through an examination of language-use in contemporary Middle Eastern societies. The course focuses on Israel/Palestine, and the contact between Hebrew and Arabic, as a microcosm providing insight into important social processes-such as colonization, religious fundamentalism, modernization, and the changing status of women-affecting the region as a whole. Readings contrast ethnographic with novelistic representations of language, society, and identity. A primary concern will be to compare social scientific and literary constructions of self and other in the context of the political and military confrontation between Israel and Palestine. This is a lecture and discussion course. A number of feature films from the Middle East are incorporated into the course material. Requirements include four short essays and a book review. Prerequisite: previous course in anthropology, linguistics, or Middle Eastern studies; or permission of the instructor. This course fulfills the College second writing requirement.

 

ANTH 348 / ANTH 748 Language and Prehistory

Fall 2008
Eve Danziger
WF 10-10:50 + obigatory discussion sections.

This course covers the basic principles of diachronic linguistics - the study of how languages change over time - and discusses the uses of linguistic data in the reconstruction of prehistory. We will consider the use of linguistic evidence in tracing prehistoric population movements, in demonstrating contact among prehistoric groups, and in the reconstruction of daily life. To the extent that the literature permits, examples and case studies will be drawn from the Mayan language area of Central America, and will include discussion of the pre-Columbian Mayan writing system and its ongoing decipherment. This course fulfills the linguistics distribution requirement for Anthropology majors and for Cognitive Science majors. It also fulfills the comparative-historical requirement for Linguistics majors. Students enrolled in 748 meet with the instructor one additional hour per week, time TBA.

 

ANTH 504 Linguistic Field Methods

Fall 2008
Tara Sanchez 
T 3:30-6

In this course we will work with a native speaker of an "exotic" language (i.e., a language that is not commonly taught in the U.S., hence likely not to be familiar to any of the students in the class). We try to figure out the phonological and grammatical structure of the language based on data collected from the native speaker consultant in class. Attendance is therefore mandatory. Assignments include one paper on phonology, one on morphology, and one on syntax. The nature of the assignments may vary depending on the particular language being studied.

 

ANTH 542 Theories of Language

Fall 2008
Ellen Contini-Morava 
MW 3:30-4:45

Will survey a number of modern schools of linguistics, both American and European, paying attention both to theory and analytical practice, and trying to understand each approach in terms of its historical context, the questions it asks about "language", and the fit between theory and analysis. Prerequisite: A course in linguistics or linguistic anthropology, or permission of instructor. This course satisfies the "theory" requirement for both B.A. and M.A. students in Linguistics.

 

ANTH 549A Multilingualism and Language Contact

Fall 2008
Tara Sanchez 
TR 9:30-10:45

In the generative tradition within linguistics, the model of an ideal monolingual speaker is often assumed. However, most of the world's citizens experience language as bi- or multilingual individuals, and many of these live in multilingual communities. This course considers what happens to language at both the individual and community levels in circumstances of multilingualism and language contact. We will examine different types of contact, and their specific structural effects on each level of language, from phonetics to discourse-pragmatics. General topics will include pidiginization, creolization, language transfer, borrowing (lexical and structural), diglossia, codeswitching, and the speech community (e.g. How does one define a "multilingual speech community", if such a thing is even possible?).

 

*ASL 475 Topics in Deaf Studies

Fall 2008
Christopher Krentz 
MW 2-3:15

Examines such topics as American Deaf history; ASL linguistics; Deaf education; cultural versus pathological views of deaf people; controversies over efforts to eliminate sign language and cure deafness (eugenics, oralism, cochlear implants, and genetic engineering); ASL poetry and storytelling; deafness and other minority identities; and the international Deaf community. The class is taught in English with an interpreter; no prior knowledge of ASL or the Deaf community is required.

 

ENMD 801 Old English

Fall 2008
Peter Baker
MWF 11-11:50

In this course, the primary task will be to learn the language written in England before the year 1100 and to read a number of texts in Old English, starting with simple prose and ending with such poems as The Battle of Maldon, The Wanderer, and The Dream of the Rood. Students with some experience in foreign language study will find the course easier than those without. In addition, the course is an introduction to the literature of the Old English period: we will supplement language study and reading Old English with discussion and reading in secondary sources. Written work will include bi-weekly quizzes on the language, one paper, an oral report, and a brief final exam. Note that this course is a prerequisite for ENMD 820, Beowulf.

 

FREN 339 Phonetics

Fall 2008
Gladys Saunders
MW 3:30-4:45

This course, conducted in French, is designed to introduce basic concepts in phonetic theory and to teach students techniques for improving their own pronunciation. We shall examine the physical characteristics of individual sounds, the relationship between sounds and their written representations, the rules governing the pronunciation of "standard French", and the most salient phonological features of selected regional varieties (e.g. le francais meridional). Working independently and regularly with audiotapes in the language laboratory, and as a group with the instructor in the classroom, students will have opportunities for oral practice in the production of French sounds (in isolation, in syllabic combinations, in rhythmic groups and in phrases). Requires much memorization.

 

LNGS 325 Introduction to Linguistic Theory and Methodology

Fall 2008
Mark Elson
MWF 11-11:50

Introduces sign systems, language as a sign system, and approaches to linguistics. Emphasizes the application of descriptive techniques to data. This course is a requirement for the B.A. and M.A. students in Linguistics. NOTE: There will be a graduate section meeting at the same time as LNGS 325, with additional meetings to be arranged. During the enrollment period, graduate students should enroll in LNGS 325.

 

PHIL 550 Philosophy of Language

Fall 2008
Ilhan Inan 
M 4:30-7

Philosophical problems can often be either solved or dissolved by scrutiny of the language in which they are couched. What is more, language and linguistic interaction themselves raise questions of the deepest conceptual kind, answers to which illuminate cognition and social interaction. For these reasons language has been the premier area of inquiry among philosophers in the last century. That inquiry has been driven by two distinct questions: In virtue of what is language meaningful, and How shall we characterize that meaning? Topics to be covered include the relation between thought and language; the possibility of an essentiall private discursive realm; the view that one somehow "structures" reality; the method of solving or dissolving traditional philosophical problems by scrutiny of the language in which they are couched; the nature of linguistic meaning and the relation thereof to truth and to "language games"; questions about the definition of language; the nature of interpretation and the role that it plays in organizing our understanding of the world. Prerequisite: Symbolic Logic (Philosophy 242) or equivalent. (Note: This prerequisite is *firm*.)

 

PSYC 404 Acquisition of Syntax

Fall 2008
Sandra Wood
TR 11-12:15

This course will investigate the acquistion of syntax in language development from empirical and theoretical perspectives. Questions about what it means to know language and how language is acquired will be explored in depth, along with discussions involving acqusition/development of language, which will include sign language and development of homesigned "language".

 

SPAN 309 Spanish Linguistics

Fall 2008
Instructor TBA 
MWF 4-4:50 

This course offers a rigorous introduction to the formal study of the Spanish language. Topics include: articulatory phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, historical linguistics and dialectology. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 311 or equivalent.

 

SPAN 310 Phonetics

Fall 2008
Fernando Tejedo Herrero
TR 9:30-10:45 

This course offers a detailed analysis of the sound system of Spanish, including its Peninsular and Latin American varieties. Topics include: articulatory phonetics, phonology and basic dialectal differences in the Spanish-speaking world. A considerable amount of time in class and in the language lab is dedicated to pronunciation drills. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 202 or equivalent.

 

SPAN 492 Spanish in the United States

Fall 2008
Fernando Tejedo Herrero
TR 11-12:15

This seminar focuses on the main varieties of Spanish spoken in the United States. We will review the history of the Spanish language in what is now the United States. We will study the main linguistic characteristics of the main varieties (vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar), and look at some sociolinguistic topics related to English-Spanish contact situations: language policy issues, linguistic borrowing, or code-switching. We will also explore aspects related to Spanish-Spanish contact situations (i.e. how does intensive contact among varieties of Spanish affect each other?). Throughout the course, students will prepare short written and oral summaries of assigned readings, and a longer research paper. Taught in Spanish. Pre-requisites: (1) SPAN 311, and (2) SPAN 309, SPAN 310, or any linguistics course.

 

Spring 2009

AMST 201B Chinese American Language, Identity, and Culture

Spring 2009

Ashley Williams

TR 9:30-10:45

Historically, the identity of those who are ethnically Chinese and live in the United States has continuously evolved as they experienced both discrimination and acceptance. Language has often been an important part of this development – whether a monolingual Chinese immigrant, bilingual 2nd generation Chinese American, or English-speaking American-born Chinese, what language an individual speaks in a Chinese American community often places him or her in a particular category. How exactly do identity and language influence each other, and how does culture change as a result? What makes someone identify as Chinese, Chinese American or American?

Pulling material from a variety of sources including films, literature, the media, and recent studies, we will employ linguistic, anthropological, sociological and historical approaches to investigate this intersection between identity, language, and culture. While we will focus primarily on the language and history of the ethnically Chinese in the U.S., we will also consider other Asian/ Pacific American groups, and student projects can also vary accordingly (and as such, this course makes no assumptions about students’ knowledge of Asian/ Pacific American Studies, history, or linguistics). By studying a combination of the social meanings, perceived expectations, and historical and contemporary presumptions involved in communities’ and individuals’ levels of language and identity, we will come to a better understanding of what it means to be “American” in the context of today’s multilingual/ multicultural society and current global political climate. This course can be used to fulfill the Second Writing Requirement.

 

ANTH 242 Language and Gender

Spring 2009
Tara Sanchez 
MW 1-1:50 plus obligatory discussion sections 

This course introduces students to the study of language and gender. We begin with biological differences between the sexes and consider how these affect language (voice quality, language abilities). Since biological differences cannot fully account for the variation we see, we turn to social explanations. We will consider both how language varieties reflect social conditions (e.g. socioeconomic class, status of women in society), and how women and men construct gender and gendered identities through their use of language varieties. The relevant aspects of these language varieties may be from any level of language (phonetics/phonology, morphology, syntax, discourse-pragmatic structure). We will examine various approaches to the study of language and gender (deficiency model, dominance theory, biological difference, socialization/cultural difference, and social constructivist approaches). We will consider language and gender in societies around the world. Specific issues include gender differences in language use, gendered language development in children, the role of women in language change, multilingualism and language choice, verbal politeness, sexist language, the language of sexual harassment, and the discourse of sexual assault trials.

 

ANTH 341 Sociolinguistics

Spring 2009
Adam Harr 
MWF 11-11:50

Every "single" living language is in practice an unbounded array of linguistic forms, functions, and feelings distributed unequally among speakers. Sociolinguists take such variety and inequality as starting points for investigating language as a crucially social (rather than essentially mental) phenomenon. In this introductory course, we will survey how languages vary through time, across space, and among social groups while also examining how times, spaces, and social groups are themselves shaped by linguistic variation. We will be concerned throughout the semester with links between language and social inequality. Course grade will be based on a midterm exam, an end of term essay, and active participation throughout the semester. No background in linguistics will be presupposed.

 

ANTH 349 Language and Thought

Spring 2009
Eve Danziger
WF 10-10:50 plus obligatory discussion sections

There is almost always more than one way to think about any problem. But could speaking a particular language make some strategies and solutions seem more natural than others to individuals? Can we learn about alternative ways of approaching the external world by studying other languages? The classic proposal of linguistic relativity as enunciated by Benjamin Lee Whorf is examined in the light of recent cross-cultural psycholinguistic research. We highlight the interplay between social intelligence, linguistic structure and general cognition. In the course of this discussion we approach the question of how language-specific cognitive preferences could develop in the course of children’s language acquisition. Finally, we ask how culturally-particular ways of talking about language itself might reflect and reinforce the "common-sens"’ ideas about the nature of language that underlie most linguistic research. Course fulfills Theory requirement for Linguistics majors.

 

ANTH 504 Linguistic Field Methods

Spring 2009
Tara Sanchez 
T 3:30-6

In this course we will work with a native speaker of an "exotic" language (i.e., a language that is not commonly taught in the U.S., hence likely not to be familiar to any of the students in the class). We try to figure out the phonological and grammatical structure of the language based on data collected from the native speaker consultant in class. Attendance is therefore mandatory. Assignments include one paper on phonology, one on morphology, and one on syntax. The nature of the assignments may vary depending on the particular language being studied. The course fulfills the Structure of a Language requirement for linguistics majors and M.A. students.

 

ANTH 529 Speech Play and Verbal Art

Spring 2009
Dan Lefkowitz 
M 2-4:30

This seminar examines the linguistics and politics of poetics. We will explore cross-cultural and cross-linguistic diversity in ideas about what can be considered poetic in language, and we will link such formal analyses to ideas about what can be considered rhetorically effective and politically (or ideologically) powerful in language. Requirements will include seminar presentations and a research paper. Prerequisite: some coursework in both anthropology and linguistics, or permission of the instructor.

 

ANTH 740 Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology

Spring 2009
Eve Danziger 
R 3-5:30

This is an advanced introduction to the study of language from an anthropological point of view. No prior coursework in linguistics is expected, but the course is aimed at graduate students who will use what they learn in their own anthropologically oriented research. Advanced undergraduate students may also enroll in the course. Topics include an introduction to such basic concepts in linguistic anthropology as language in perception and world-view, the nature of symbolic meaning, universals and particulars in language, language in history and prehistory, the ethnography of speaking, the nature of everyday conversation, and the study of poetic language. Through readings and discussion, the implications of each of these topics for the general conduct of anthropology will be addressed. Evaluation is based on take-home essays and problem-sets which are assigned throughout the semester. The course fulfills the linguistics distribution requirement for Anthropology graduate and undergraduate students. It also counts toward the Linguistics major for graduate and undergraduate students. Class fulfills Theory requirement for Linguistics MA students (open to graduate students only).

 

ENLS 303 History of the English Language

Spring 2009 
Peter Baker
TR 2-3:15

This course will study the history of English from the earliest period to the present. Topics will include why and how languages change; the relationship of English to other Indo-European languages; changes in the syntax, inflections and vocabulary of English; English dialects; differences between American and British English; American dialects and their relationship to regional, racial and class distinctions in modern culture. Work for the course will include frequent exercises, midterm and final exam, and a short paper.

 

FREN 485 Seminar in French Linguistics: “La langue française n’est pas une langue comme les autres (or Mysteries of the French Language)”

Spring 2009 
Gladys Saunders
TR 11-12:15

This seminar explores some of the ways in which the French language is “talked about” or “represented” in French publications, by the French themselves, as well as by outsiders (English speakers, in particular). We will inventory the claims (some of which go back to the 17th century; others are contemporary), try to understand the motivations underlying them, and then seek out the facts (linguistic or extra-linguistic) which will enable us to corroborate or refute these “visages du françaisHere are some examples: “le français est une langue de prestige”, “…une langue universelle”, “…une langue pure”; “… un trésor à chérir”; but also “le français est une langue pathologique”, “une langue rongée de l’intérieur” and even “…un instrument de l’oppression bourgeoise”. Course conducted entirely in French. Previous course in linguistics helpful. Students should feel comfortable speaking French in class.

 

LING 509 Teaching English as a Second Language

Spring 2009 
Robb McCollum 
TR 12:30-1:45

Provides an introduction to theories, problems, and methods in teaching English as a second language. Two theoretical streams provide the foundation for work in the course. The first, describing language, addresses English phonology and structures and draws on concepts from general linguistics. The second, acquiring language, considers how language is learned and the nature and role of culture. The two theoretical streams inform an examination of teaching methods, classroom practices, materials development, and assessment. The course includes a review of professional resources and standards, assessment instruments, and teaching contexts.

 

LNGS 222 History and Structure of Black English

Spring 2009 
Mark Elson
MWF 11-11:50

An introduction to the history and structure of Black English. The primary goal of this course is to introduce students to the phonology and grammar (morphology and syntax) of what has been termed Black English Vernacular or African American Vernacular English. We will also be concerned with the external and sociolinguistic factors which led to the emergence of this variety of English, as well as its present role in the African-American community and its relevance in education, employment, and racial stereotypes. No prerequisites, but some background in linguistics (example ANTH 240, LING 325) will be helpful.

 

LNGS 500 Applied Linguistics for Teachers of Foreign Languages

Spring 2009 
Mark Elson
MW 8:30-9:45 (subject to change)

This course considers basic linguistic concepts relating to sound, grammar, stylistics, and their application to the teaching of foreign languages as well as English as a second language. Its goal is to provide prospective teachers with background which will enable them to do research in the pedagogy and structure of their target languages, and to make informed decisions about how to undertake the development of communicative competence in their students.

 

PHIL 750 Philosophy of Language

Spring 2009 
Mitch Green 
MW 11-12:15

Philosophical problems can often be either solved or dissolved by scrutiny of the language in which they are couched. What is more, language and linguistic interaction themselves raise questions of the deepest conceptual kind, answers to which illuminate cognition and social interaction. For these reasons language has been a premier area of inquiry among philosophers for over a century. This course will examine topics that have been given the most intense treatment, and which all flow from the question, In virtue of what is language meaningful? Topics to be covered include the relation between thought and language; the possibility of an essentially private discursive realm; the view that one's linguistic framework somehow "structures" reality; the method of solving or dissolving traditional philosophical problems by scrutiny of the language in which they are couched; the nature of linguistic meaning and the relation thereof to truth and to "language games"; questions about the definition of language; the nature of interpretation and the role that it plays in organizing our understanding of the world; the relation between human and non-human forms of communication. Course requirements include two papers, problem sets, and active participation in class discussion. The course should be of interest not only to philosophy students, but also to those in linguistics, psychology, cognitive science, literature, anthropology, and computer science. Prerequisite: At least one course in symbolic logic (Phil 242 or equivalent). Qualified undergraduates who are interested in taking the course may contact Professor Green to discuss possible enrollment.

 

PSYC 408/708 Evolution of Language

Spring 2009 
Sandra Wood
TR 9:30-10:45

We will examine the evolution of language in humans from linguistic and cognitive perspectives. Gesture, newly-developed sign languages, home sign systems, and creolization will be studied to understand the evolutionary path of language. We will also discuss the literature in research regarding the origin and emergence/evolution of language in humans.

 

PSYC 411 Psycholinguistics

Spring 2009 
Filip Loncke 
M 3:30-6

Course description to follow.

 

PSYC 555 Developmental Psycholinguistics

Spring 2009 
John Bonvillian 
TR 9:30-10:45

Examines current research and theoretical models of children's language acquisition. Topics include typically developing children's acquisition of spoken language, sign language acquisition in deaf children, and communication in autistic children and other groups with language disabilities.

 

SPAN 309 Introduction to Spanish Linguistics

Spring 2009 
TBA 
TR 2-3:15 

This course offers a rigorous introduction to the formal study of the Spanish language. Topics include: articulatory phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, historical linguistics and dialectology. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 311 or equivalent.

 

SPAN 310 Phonetics

Spring 2009 
Fernando Tejedo Herrero
MWF 11-11:50 

This course offers a detailed analysis of the sound system of Spanish, including its Peninsular and Latin American varieties. Topics include: articulatory phonetics, phonology and basic dialectal differences in the Spanish-speaking world. A considerable amount of time in class and in the language lab is dedicated to pronunciation drills. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 202 or equivalent.

 

SPAN 492 Structure of the Spanish Language

Spring 2009
Joel Rini 
TR 11-12:15

Seminar in Spanish linguistics. Taught in Spanish. Class fulfills Structure requirement for Linguistics. Students interested in taking the course for graduate credit should contact the instructor.

 

SPAN 732 Social History of the Spanish Language

Spring 2009
Fernando Tejedo Herrero
T 3:30-6

This course is an introduction to the history of the Spanish language from the sociolinguistic viewpoint. We will explore some of the most important social and linguistic aspects related to the development of Spanish as a standard language from the Early Middle Ages to the 18th century. Topics covered are: how did Spanish become a prestigious norm in a multilingual territory? The metalinguistics of language names (romancecastellano and español); the development and description of linguistic features that were incorporated into/rejected from the standard norm; social and cultural issues that have affected the configuration of the standard variety (printing, literature, intellectual elite; contact with other languages); and the diffusion and acceptance of the ideology of language standardization as manifested in works produced during this period (grammars, dictionaries, language treatises) or in descriptions of language by (modern) linguists. Course is based on discussion of readings and commentary of relevant texts (mostly selected from the M.A. and Ph.D. Spanish programs’ reading lists). Assessment: in-class exams, short papers and a longer research paper. Taught in Spanish.