2009-2010 Linguistics Courses

Fall 2009

AMST 2500 Language in the U.S.

Fall 2009
Ashley Williams 
TR 9:30-10:45

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. This course can be used to fulfill the Second Writing Requirement.

 

ANTH 3410 Sociolinguistics/ANTH 7541 Topics in Sociolinguistics

Fall 2009
Ellen Contini-Morava 
MW 11-11:50 + obligatory discussion sections

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, a final, a field project, and active participation in the obligatory discussion section throughout the semester. No background in linguistics will be presupposed.

 

ANTH 3450/7450 Native American Languages

Fall 2009
Eve Danziger
TR 9:30-10:45

This course in an introduction to the native languages of the Americas and to the methods that linguists and anthropologists have used to record and analyze them. It covers linguistic analysis and theory as a way into knowledge of languages very different from English and the frequently studied European languages. The methods of analysis learned should enable students to make intelligent use of linguistic materials on languages in other parts of the world as well. The native languages of the Americas are many, diverse and unevenly studied. Generalizations about them all can rarely be very meaningful or penetrating. The best way to gain a genuine sense of the subject is to become familiar with one of the languages . Such familiarity will give more than acquaintance with that particular language. It will give insight into the nature of the data and problems of the field as a whole (i.e. the field of study of languages which have been, for their speakers, unwritten.) To achieve this purpose, the course is designed so that each student will be working on a different language for which adequate published materials are available. The major assignments involve that work. Pre-requisite: LNGS 325 (3250) , LNGS 701 (7010) or ANTH 740 (7400). This course fulfills the Language Structure requirement for Linguistics majors and for Linguistics graduate students.

 

ANTH 3470/7470 Language and Culture in the Middle East

Fall 2009
Dan Lefkowitz 
MW 2-2:50

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. One additional hour of discussion credit per week will be required. Consult COD for undergraduate discussion times. Consult instructor for graduate student information.

 

ANTH 5410 Phonology

Fall 2009
Lise Dobrin 
T 2-4:30

Phonology is concerned with the way speech sounds are organized into systems. Which sounds occur in a given language? What are the rules for their combination? How are they realized in different positions of a word or phrase? In order to answer these kinds of questions, phonologists look not only at the patterning of segments, but also at the way that patterning can be explained in terms of more basic properties called distinctive features. They look at higher level prosodic structures like syllables that group sounds into larger units. They also study aspects of the speech signal that are in principle independent of the segment, like stress, tone, and rhythm. In this course you will gain experience analyzing phonological systems in a theoretically informed way. You will learn to appreciate what kinds of problems the field of phonology aims to account for, to argue for solutions to such problems, and to understand the significance of your analyses in terms of the broader concerns of phonological theory as it has evolved over the last century. Coursework involves reading, class discussion, and solving homework problems. Fulfills the "theory" requirement for linguistics. Prerequisite: LNGS 3250 or permission of instructor.

 

ANTH 5420 Theories of Language

Fall 2009
Ellen Contini-Morava 
TR 12:30-1:45

We will survey a number of modern schools of linguistics, both American and European, trying to understand each approach in terms of its historical context, the goals it sets itself, the assumptions it makes about the nature of language, and the relation between theory and methodology. Grades will depend on: about five short written homework assignments that ask you to make a critical response to a reading assignment or look at some linguistic data from a particular theoretical perspective; reading responses/participation in class discussion; a take-home, open book final exam. This course fulfills the Theory requirement for Linguistics majors and graduate students.

 

ANTH 5549 Topics in Theoretical Linguistics and Linguistic Anthropology: Mind in Language

Fall 2009
Eve Danziger 
R 2-4:30

Anthropologists report that across societies, different cultural attitudes exist as to the acceptability of speculating on what is taking place in another person’s mind. In certain cultural settings, speculation of this kind is considered completely inappropriate; something to be politely avoided. Meanwhile however, linguistic theories about how conversation works rely heavily on the premise that in order to function successfully, conversational interactants must constantly seek out and interpret the unstated intentions of their conversation partners. How can we reconcile the linguistic account with the anthropological observations? This seminar course covers the relevant literature from ethno-psychology and linguistc pragmatics, and considers the relationship of cultural philosophies of language, including our own, to the actual conduct of interaction. Because figurative language forms (e.g. metaphor, irony) seem especially to require intention-guessing for their interpretation, the course includes significant consideration of the role and range of such forms in different cultural contexts. Pre-requisite: one prior course in Linguistics.

 

EDHS 5010 Clinical Phonetics

Fall 2009 
LaVae Hoffman 
T 1-3:45

In this course, we introduce the IPA and practice broad transcription skills from the word to sentence level. The purpose of this course is to provide basic phonetics information at the undergraduate level to students who plan to pursue careers in speech language pathology, or who have been admitted to the Communication Disorders Program graduate program without a background in communication disorders. Note: a maxiumum of 6 credits from outside the College can be applied toward the College degree.

 

EDHS 8090 Language Disorders I

Fall 2009 
Filip Loncke 
T 10-12:45

Coverage includes language differences, language delays, language deviancies, and specific language impairment with topics ranging from language sampling to linguistic analysis, to intervention and counseling. Topical coverage also include linguistic diversity, bilingualism, early intervention, literacy acquisition, dyslexia and hyperlexia. Prerequisite: A course in language development or instructor permission. Note: A maxiumum of 6 credits from outside the College can be applied toward the College degree.

 

FREN 4020 History of the French Language

Fall 2009 
Gladys Saunders
MWF 11-11:50

In this course we examine some of the ways in which the French language has changed over time – from its Indo-European origins to the present day -- with respect to pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, meaning, discourse, and the like. Social, cultural, political, environmental, as well as purely linguistic, factors that have played some part in language change will also be considered. Our approach will be non-traditional and somewhat novel. We begin with an inventory of penetrating questions, for example: Why did “nos ancêtres les Gaulois” ‘bequeath’ so few of their words to the French lexicon? Why do we call French a Romance language? Why do the French use the vigesimal “quatre-vingts-dix” instead of the decimal “nonante”? Why is the plural of ‘cheval’ chevaux(and cf. ‘animal ~ animaux, bail ~ baux’, but ‘vache ~ vaches’, 'pied ~pieds', 'femmes' ~ 'femmes', etc.)? What can ‘non-standard’ utterances like “t’as pas dix balles?” tell us about language change —and when was the language conventionalized anyway? . . . Answers to such questions will provide the impetus for a more in-depth study and discussion of some of the major (underlying) diachronic changes and currents in the language. Required text: Michèle Perret,Introduction à l' histoire de la langue française (2008). Assignments will include: daily active class participation; two exams; and a linguistics project. Course conducted in French. Counts for major credit in French and in Linguistics; fulfills Historical requirement for the linguistics major. Prerequisites: FREN 339 + good reading, writing and speaking ability in French.

 

LNGS 3250 Introduction to Linguistic Theory and Methodology

Fall 2009 
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 3250, with additional meetings to be arranged. During the enrollment period, graduate students should enroll in LNGS 3250.

 

PSYC 4500-6 Acquisition of Syntax

Fall 2009 
Sandra Wood
TR 11-12:15

We will investigate the acquisition 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 acquisition/development of language, which will include sign language and development of homesigned "language". Prerequisites: PSYC 215 and PSYC 305. Instructor permission required. 

 

SPAN 3000 Phonetics

Fall 2009 
Joel Rini 
TR 3-4:15 

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 class is dedicated to pronunciation practice. Taught in Spanish.

 

SPAN 4200 History of the Language

Fall 2009
Fernando Tejedo-Herrero
TR 9:30-10:45

This course surveys the main linguistic developments in the history of Spanish from the earliest period to the present. Topics covered include changes in the sound system, changes in word forms and syntactic structures of Spanish; vocabulary influences from other languages; differences between peninsular and Latin American Spanish, and differences within the Latin American varieties of Spanish. Throughout the course, students will take in-class exams, turn in written assignments regularly and write a longer research paper. Prerequisite: at least one course in linguistics. Taught in Spanish. Course meets the History requirement for B.A. in Linguistics.

 

SPAN 7220 History of the Spanish Language

Fall 2009
Joel Rini 
TR 12:30-1:45

This course is intended to provide the student with an introduction to the history of the Spanish language and to familiarize the student with the structure of Old Spanish in order to facilitate the reading of Old Spanish texts. The point of departure for class lectures and discussions will be selected texts, most of which come directly from the Spanish M.A. reading list. The grade will be based on several in-class exams.

 

Spring 2010

ANTH 2400 Language and Culture

Spring 2010
Ellen Contini-Morava 
MW 2-2:50 + obligatory discussion section

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 evidence from language can shed light on a variety of social, cultural, and cognitive phenomena. Topics include: nature of language, origins of language, how languages change, writing systems, 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 communication. Satisfies the College Non-Western perspectives requirement.

 

ANTH 2430 Languages of the World

Spring 2010
Lise Dobrin 
TR 11-11:50 + discussion section

This course introduces students to the diversity of human language and the principles of linguistic classification. How many languages are spoken in the world, and how are they related? What features do all languages share, and in what ways may they differ? In surveying the world's languages, we will focus on the structure and social situation of a set of representative languages for each geographic region covered. We will also discuss the global trend of shift from the use of minority languages to large languages of wider communication, and what this means for the future of human diversity. Course work includes problem sets, essays, and a final paper on the linguistic features and social situation of a minor language. Prerequisites: one year of a foreign language or permission of instructor.

 

ANTH 3490 Language and Thought

Spring 2010
Eve Danziger
MW 10-10:50 plus obligatory discussion section

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. This class fulfills the Linguistics requirement for Anthropology and for Cognitive Science majors. It fulfills the Theory requirement for Linguistics majors.

 

ANTH 5040 Linguistic Field Methods

Spring 2010 
Lise Dobrin 
M 5-7:30

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 papers on the phonology, morphology, and syntax of the language. The precise nature of the assignment will 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 5430 African Languages

Spring 2010 
Ellen Contini-Morava 
TR 2-3:15

An introduction to the linguistic diversity of the African continent, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. For about three-fourths of the course we will discuss linguistic structures (sound systems, word-formation, and syntax) among a wide variety of languages; the classification of African languages; and the use of linguistic data to reconstruct prehistory. For the last fourth of the course we will address a range of sociolinguistic topics, including language and social identity, social functions of language, verbal art, the politics of language planning, and the rise of ÒmixedÓ languages among urban youth. While lectures address general and comparative topics, each student will choose one language to focus on, using published materials available in the library. This language will be the basis for the major assignments. Some prior experience with linguistics is desirable (such as LNGS 3250/7010, ANTH 2400 or ANTH 7400), but the course will also be accessible to highly motivated students who have not taken a previous linguistics course. The course fulfills the Language Structure requirement for Linguistics majors and graduate students.

 

ANTH 5470 Language and Identity

Spring 2010 
Dan Lefkowitz 
M 2-4:30

This seminar explores the relationship between language and identity. In anthropology, where identity has become a central concern, language is seen as an important site for the construction of, and negotiation over social identities. In linguistics, reference to categories of social identity helps to explain language structure and change. The course explores the overlap between these converging trends by focusing on the notion of discourse as a nexus of cultural and linguistic processes related to identity. Readings will juxtapose social theoretic with linguistic treatments of identity, toward identifying theoretical frameworks that generate promising means for investigating and describing the phenomenon of identity. Prerequisite: some coursework in both anthropology and linguistics, or permission of the instructor.

 

ANTH 7400 Linguistic Anthropology

Spring 2010 
Eve Danziger 
W 2-4:30

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. 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 is required for Anthropology graduate students. It fulfills the Theory requirement for graduate students in Linguistics.

 

CLAS 3559/5559 Introduction to Indo-European Linguistics

Spring 2010 
Coulter George 
MWF 12-12:50

Languages as superficially different as English, Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit in fact all developed from a single "proto-language," called Proto-Indo-European. This course will explore the following questions: What was this proto-language like? How do we know what it was like? By what processes did it develop into the various daughter languages? How can we trace words as diverse as wit, idea, video, and Veda back to a common source? Familiarity with Greek or Latin is recommended but not required. Course fulfills the historical requirement for Linguistics.

 

ENLS 3030 History of the English Language

Spring 2010 
Peter Baker
MWF 11-11:50

This course will introduce you to the history of the English language from several perspectives: we will be concerned with the language's "internal history" (what actually happened to its sounds, grammar and vocabulary). But we will also study how and why languages change and, more specifically, the "external history" of English (the cultural and historical contexts that have produced change). The course begins with the Indo-European and Germanic background of English, and we will spend some time with the language as it developed in the British Isles. In the second half of the term we will study the development of American English: its divergence from British English, the development of regional, racial and ethnic varieties, and the emergence in the twentieth century of a national "standard." At all times we will bear in mind that language is an aspect of social interaction, and when we study language change we are also studying social change.

 

ENMC/MDST 4559 The Politics of Vernaculars in Contemporary Literature and Media

Spring 2010 
David Golumbia 
MW 5-6:15

This class explores the role of so-called nonstandard or vernacular languages in contemporary worldwide texts and media. Vernaculars include languages and "dialects" that are widespread in culture but usually not taught in schools. Examples of vernaculars that we will touch on include African-American English, Appalachian English, Hawaiian "Creole" English, Haitian Creole, Taglish, and others. In many cases, these practices, while full and complete languages in every diagnostic and linguistic sense, remain the target of intense cultural prejudice. We will explore commonalities and differences in the presentation of these linguistic practices across several genres and places, using the fault lines between languages as a way to see in to the stakes of other cultural and political divisions. Short theoretical readings by Bakhtin, Labov, Ngugi, Lott and others; novels by Lois-Ann Yamanaka, R. Zamora Linmark, Alan Warner, Irvine Welsh, Patricia Powell, and Ken Saro-wiwa; This class is conducted primarily through vigorous student discussion that reflects thorough preparation before class sessions. Two short response/review papers and a final research paper. Intended for advanced English, Media Studies, or Linguistics majors, though others with appropriate background will be admitted.

 

FREN 3030 French Phonetics

Spring 2010 
Gladys Saunders 
TR 11-12:15

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.

 

LING 5090

Spring 2010 
Robb McCollum 
TR 12:30-1:45 plus discussion section

Studies the theory, problems, and methods in teaching English as a second language, with attention to relevant areas of general linguistics and the structure of English. Prerequisite: LNGS 325 and instructor permission.

 

LNGS 2240 Southern American English

Spring 2010 
Mark Elson
MW 11-11:50 plus obligatory discussion section

This course is an introduction to the English spoken in the southeastern part of the United States. We begin with a unit covering basic linguistic concepts, following which we spend several weeks discussing those aspects of sound structure, grammar, and lexicon which characterize southern English and distinguish it from the English of other areas in the United States. We conclude with a unit discussing the sociolinguistics of southern English (e.g., the attitude of southerners towards their own speech) and theories of its origin including its relationship to Black English. Interested graduate students should speak to the instructor.

 

PSYC 4110 Psycholinguistics

Spring 2010 
Filip Loncke 
W 9-11:30

This course focuses on the psychological processes that underlie the acquisition and the use of language. There is an emphasis on the interaction between linguistic skills and other cognitive skills. The course also looks at flexibility of language and language use, and the influence of psycholinguistic processes on reading and writing, the social use of language, and language in other modalities.

 

PSYC 4120 Psychology of Reading

Spring 2010 
Beverly Adams 
TR 9:30-10:45

People do not think much about the reading process. If you ask the typical person about how reading works, a typical response is that it just does. You just look at words on a page and then the sounds come out of your mouth. Under certain circumstances, however, a deeper level of evaluation is forthcoming and people report that it is a very complicated process. I don't know how I do it, but for as long as I can remember I could do it. When we listen to someone who has some type of reading impairment, when we observe young children as they are learning to read, when we are unsure about the meaning of a passage (Did the main character insult a minor character or was it the other way around?), when we debate the pronunciation of a word (greasy, Roanoke, Staunton, theater, insurance) or when we read a passage in a second language, we are making evaluations/decisions during the reading process. For the most part, we feel that we just "read." The focus of this class, Psychology of Reading, is the study of the reading process; what happens when we process the squiggles on the page to create meaningful information that we can use. This includes word processing, sentence processing, speed-reading, text comprehension, etc. All of this is related to how we think. We will read basic/historical information from texts, review recent psychological experiments that address reading data from bottom-up processing models, top-down processing models, and interactive models, and consider some hands-on experiences related to the reading process. The psychology of reading is an interesting mix of experimental & cognitive psychology and structural linguistics. But it is also related to neurology, phonetics, anthropology, sociology, education, and so on. Prerequisites: PSYC 305 or permission of instructor. Enrollment is restricted to Psychology, Cognitive Science, and Linguistics majors or 4th year minors.

 

PSYC 4500 Evolution of Language

Spring 2010 
Sandra Wood 
MW 2-3:315

We will examine the emergence of language in humans from linguistic and cognitive perspectives by studying and discussing selected research literature on gestures, homesigned systems, primates, and nonprimates.

 

SPAN 3000 Phonetics

Spring 2010 
Joel Rini
MW 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 class is dedicated to pronunciation practice. Taught in Spanish.

 

SPAN 3200 Introduction to Spanish Linguistics

Spring 2010 
Fernando Tejedo-Herrero
MWF 12-12:50 

This course offers an introduction to the formal study of the Spanish language. Topics include: articulatory phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 3020.

 

SPAN 4203 Structure of Spanish

Spring 2010
Joel Rini 
MWF 12-12:50

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 4530 Special Topics Seminar: Spanish in the U.S.

Spring 2010
Fernando Tejedo-Herrero
MWF 2-2:50

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 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 3020, and (2) SPAN 3200, SPAN 3010, or any linguistics course.