Current Courses

Fall 2020

ANTH 2400         Language and Culture

M 5-7:30

Grace East

This course will engage with how we can understand the world, ourselves, and each other through the lens of language. We will examine a range of topics that will challenge us to consider how linguistic practice intersects with various conceptions of identity, including race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, and more cross-culturally. How do we create and shape language and how does language create and shape us? This course strives to utilize otherwise abstract linguistic concepts and ground them in accessible subject matter and lived human experience. Throughout this course we will challenge each other to 1) engage with and take seriously the perspectives of those who have been too often left out of the conversation, 2) acknowledge our own biases, positionality, and power, and 3) consider how we can operationalize these ideas in both theoretical and methodological pursuits. Anthropology and linguistics have their origins in exploitative colonial practices. We must acknowledge these realities and do the work to learn the histories and presents that are often backgrounded or erased all together. How do we both accept and acknowledge these origins, while also making real efforts to be better thinkers, listeners, advocates, and human beings?


ANTH 2430         Languages of the World

MW 1-1:50

Armik Mirzayan

This class introduces students to the diversity of human language. It surveys a range of similarities and differences shared by languages and presents three different ways that linguists use these similarities and differences to group languages together -- to classify them. In the course of a geographically organized tour of the world's languages, we will explore language families, language areas, and language types both large and small. For each region, we will focus on the structure and social situation of a set of representative languages. Finally, we will discuss the ongoing loss of linguistic and human diversity due to the global trend of shift from the use of minority languages to large languages of wider communication. Prerequisite: one year of a foreign language or permission of instructor.


ANTH 2440         Language and Cinema

MW 9:30-10:20 + obligatory discussion section

Daniel Lefkowitz

This course looks at how dialogue, speech, and language work in Hollywood movies. We will cover the artistic controversies, aesthetic theories, and technological challenges that attended the transition from silent to sound films as a backdrop to the main discussion of how gendered, racial, ethnic, and national identities were (and are now) constructed and reproduced through the representation of speech, dialect, and accent. The course provides an introduction to socio-linguistics and film semiotics but assumes no prior knowledge of either linguistics or film studies.


ANTH 2541-002               Language, Culture and Healing

MWF 10-10:50

Anna Eisenstein

When someone who is sick seeks care, they initiate a series of interactions with caregivers and with their own body and mind – a healing process. In this course we will explore the interplay of language and healing through a cross-cultural approach. We will map the ways that particular therapeutic contexts (like hospitals, homes, religious spaces, and halfway houses), ways of speaking (like asking questions, telling stories, complaining, and giving instructions), and interactional roles (like patient, relative, health practitioner, and researcher) shape medical authority and decision-making across a range of historical and ethnographic settings and scales. In doing so, we will chart arguments over the relationship between language and the body – arguments at the heart of both anthropological theory and medical practice.


ANTH 2541-003                Narrative and Everyday Life

MWF 9-9:50

Anna Eisenstein

Do the stories we tell about ourselves and others matter? What difference does it make who tells a story, to whom, when, and how? How do stories come to shape who we are and what we do? Exploring the narratives embedded in everyday chit-chat, gossip, songs, news, and novels, this course considers how storytelling shapes subjectivity, community, and politics – and how language establishes the foundation and medium through which this becomes possible. Class meetings will largely be discussion-based, and will include bi-weekly hands-on workshops in narrative analysis.


ANTH 3480 / 7480        Language and Prehistory

TR 3:30-4:20 + obligatory discussion section

Eve Danziger

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 prehistory 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 Historical requirement for the Linguistics BA and MA.


ANTH 3541        Topics in Linguistics: Language and Music 

TR 12:30-1:45

Ida Hoequist

This course covers material from sound studies, linguistics, and anthropology. We will address traits that language and music each use in distinctive ways (rhythm, tone, meaning, structure, and embodiment), as well as work through case studies of overlap between language and music (genres of songs, talking drums, whistled speech, and musical replacement of speech), to illuminate the relationship between the two categories.


ANTH 4420/7420         Theories of Language

W 2-4:30

Mark Sicoli

We will survey 20th and 21st-century schools of linguistics, trying to understand each approach in terms of their historical settings, the goals its adherents set for themselves, the assumptions they made about the nature of language, and the relation between theory, methodology and analytical practice. The main focus is on theories of grammar, but we will also discuss some phonological theories whose theoretical concepts have been applied to grammar, and relationships between theories of language and theories of a general semiotics. This course fulfills the theory requirement for Linguistics majors and graduate students.


ANTH 5475         Multimodal Interaction

M 2-4:30

Mark Sicoli

Students will build knowledge and practice of the analysis of peoples’ joint-engagement in embodied interactions. We examine the history of the use of film and video in interaction analysis and the affordances of these media for examining spatiotemporal configurations of talk, techniques of body action, and tool use in social interaction. How does action weave together multiple sensory modalities into semiotic webs linking interactions with more durative institutions and scales of social life? What are the theoretical consequences for science of language that takes the multimodal construction of meaning seriously? Course includes workshops on video recording, and the transcription and coding of both verbal and non-verbal actions. Transcript analysis “data sessions” will be conducted throughout the term, allowing student to hone their analytical skills for video analysis. Students will work on projects incorporating video production and analysis.


ANTH 7400         Linguistic Anthropology

M 6:30-9

Daniel Lefkowitz

This course is an advanced introduction to the study of language from an anthropological perspective that presupposes no prior coursework in linguistics. The aim is to prepare graduate students to use what they learn in their own research. Topics include language structure, the nature of indexicality and the use of linguistic symbols, the linguistic shaping of worldview, language as a form of social action, ethnographic approaches to study of language, the social meaningfulness of linguistic differences, storytelling in social life, and more. Students will explore the implications of these topics through readings, discussion, and an application of linguistic anthropological concepts to a particular ethnographic setting chosen in consultation with the instructor. The course fulfills the Linguistics requirement for the Anthropology graduate program and the Theory requirement for the Linguistics graduate program.


ASL 3450         Comparative Linguistics: ASL and English

MWF 10-10:50

Rhonda Jennings-Arey

Describes spoken English and ASL (American Sign Language) on five levels: phonological, morphological, lexical, syntactic, and discourse and compares/contrasts them using real-world examples. Describes major linguistic components and processes of English and ASL. Introduces basic theories regarding ASL structure. Emphasizes ASL's status as a natural language by comparing/contrasting similarities and unique differences between the two languages. Fulfills the Structure requirement for the Linguistics major.


CLAS 3350         Language and Literature of Early Celts

MWF 1-1:50

Coulter George

This introduction to the Celtic inhabitants of Gaul and the British Isles interweaves two approaches, one linguistic, one literary. First, we will explore how the Celtic languages work, focusing on the basics of Old Irish—which includes such exotic features as initial mutations and conjugated prepositions—but also finishing off with some Middle Welsh. Second, we will compare writings about the Celts found in Ancient Greek and Latin authors with readings of Celtic literature in translation, notably Ireland’s closest equivalent to the Iliad, the Táin Bó Cúailnge, whose Achilles-like hero Cú Chulainn undergoes a monstrous transformation (called the “warp-spasm” by one translator) when he fights: “He sucked one eye so deep into his head that a wild crane couldn’t probe it onto his cheek out of the depths of his skull; the other eye fell out along his cheek.” Fulfills the Structure requirement for Linguistics majors.


EDHS 4300/LING 7300         Psycholinguistics & Communication

TR 3:30-4:45

Filip Loncke

This course focuses on the psychological processes that underlie the use of language and speech. Do humans have a linguistic brain, or cognitive brain that can do linguistic tricks? Is language competence different from other human skills? Is language a biological, a psychological, a cultural phenomenon, or all of these? Why do people speak with an accent? Why do we forget words (and why do we remember them)? The course will provide insight in (1) the psychological reality of linguistic models; (2) the origins of language, (3) neurolinguistics, (4) the relation between sound, speech, and language, (5) the nature of the mental lexicon and lexical access, (6) processing syntactic structures, (7) the trajectory from intention to articulation, (8) bilingualism and language diversity, (9) the psycholinguistics of language breakdown, (10) the psychology of everyday use of language.


FREN 3030         Phonetics

TR 11-12:15

Gladys Saunders

FREN 3030 is an introductory course in French phonetics. It provides basic concepts in articulatory phonetics and phonological theory, and offers students techniques for improving their own pronunciation. The course will cover the physical characteristics of individual French sounds, the relationship between French sounds and their written representation (orthography), the rules governing the pronunciation of "standard French", the most salient phonological features of selected French varieties, phonetic differences between French and English sounds, and “la musique du français” i.e., prosodic phenomena (le rythme, l’accentuation, l’ intonation, la syllabation). Practical exercises in 'ear-training' (the perception of sounds) and 'phonetic transcription' (using IPA) are also essential components of this dynamic course. Course taught in French. Prerequisite: FREN 2020 (or equivalent).


LING 3101/5101         ESL Teaching Practicum: Language

W 11-11:50

Janay Crabtree

Through this 1-credit course, students focus on the topic of teaching oral English language, while gaining experience in the practice of English-language teaching to international students, faculty, and staff at the University. This experience is an excellent opportunity to gain teaching experience under the supervision of an experienced mentor. For every 1 hour of credit, students must meet with the instructor for 5 classroom & practice 33 hours.


LING 3102/5102         ESL Teaching Practicum: Culture

W 12-12:50

Janay Crabtree

Through this 1-credit course, students focus on the topic of culture in ESL, while gaining experience in the practice of English-language teaching to international students, faculty, and staff at the University. This experience is an excellent opportunity to gain teaching experience under the supervision of an experienced mentor. For every 1 hour of credit, students must meet with an instructor for 5 classroom & practice 33 hours.


LING 3103/5103         ESL Teaching Practicum: Writing

W 1-1:50

Janay Crabtree

Through this 1-credit course, students focus on the topic of writing in an L2, while gaining experience in the practice of English-language teaching to international students, faculty, and staff at the University. Students will develop writing lessons and plans, tutor language learners in various writing venues, implement lesson plans, log practice hours, and learn and reflect on how to give effective feedback for different types of writing. This experience is an excellent opportunity to gain teaching experience under the supervision of an experienced mentor. For every 1 hour of credit, students must meet with an instructor for 5 classroom & practice 33 hours.


LING 3400/7400         Structure of English

MW 10-10:50 + obligatory discussion section

Janay Crabtree

This course provides students with a foundation in the grammar of the English language. Topics include the phonology, morphology, syntax, with a focus on structural analysis. Students will gain confidence in discussing the form, function, and usage of linguistic structures. Students will also have an opportunity to research topics related to structure for presentation. Undergraduates will participate in group research projects, and graduate students will be expected to develop a conference-quality presentation. Where possible, topics will also be related to the teaching and tutoring of English as a second language including interlanguage analysis and feedback. This course fulfills the structure requirement for Linguistics majors and graduate students.


LING 3559/6559        Semantics and Pragmatics

T 6-8:30

Armik Mirzayan

This course looks closely and critically at theories that ask what kinds of categories words and constructions denote (semantics) and theories that ask how linguistic form is related to conversational context (pragmatics). Using elicited data and contextual/natural phrases and sentences, we will attempt to generalize about the cues and information that humans use to construct meaning as they speak. Course fulfills the Theory requirement for Linguistics.


LING 5409         Acoustic Phonetics

TR 9:30-10:45

Armik Mirzayan

To acquire a good understanding of speech sounds, we must understand how speech sounds are produced, the physical nature of the sounds, and how the ear and brain work to recognize sounds as carriers of meaning distinguishing units in speech. In this course we investigate these processes by focusing on three broad questions: (1) How do we produce speech in communication? (2) How do we perceive speech in communication? and (3) How does the nature of these processes influence the sound patterns of languages in the world? In the process of doing so will also be learning experimental and analytical techniques that enable us to carefully investigate these (and other related) questions.


LNGS 3250/7010         Introduction to Linguistic Theory and Analysis

MWF 11-11:50

Mark Elson

This course introduces students to language as a system and the theoretical underpinnings of the analytic procedures used by linguists. It proceeds from the assumption that the goal of language is to communicate (i.e., to convey meaning via messages), and investigates assumptions relating to the manner in which it accomplishes this goal. This course is required for all Linguistics majors and graduate students.


RUS 5030         Advanced Russian I

MWF 9-9:50

Mark Elson

This course aims to provide a thorough review and elaboration of the spelling and inflectional morphology of Contemporary Standard Russian. Its aim is to help students, including those who are native speakers, acquire and consolidate a level of proficiency in the structure of Russian suitable for ordinary scholarly and instructional purposes at American universities. Although its content will help students in their preparation for the MA and PhD Russian Language Proficiency Tests at the University of Virginia, such preparation is not the goal of the course. This course fulfills the structure requirement for Linguistics majors and graduate students.


SPAN 3000         Phonetics

MW 2-3:15

Omar Velazquez Mendoza

Spanish Phonetics provides an introduction to the sound system of both Peninsular and Latin American Spanish. Class discussions focus on how the sounds of Spanish are produced from an articulatory point of view, and how these sounds are organized and represented in the linguistic competence of their speakers. When appropriate, comparisons will be made between Spanish and English or Spanish and other (Romance) languages. This course seeks to improve the students’ pronunciation. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 3010 or equivalent.


SPAN 4210         History of the Spanish Language II

MW 3:30-4:45

Omar Velazquez Mendoza

This course traces the historical development of the Spanish language from its origins as a spoken Latin variety to the present. Topics include: The relationship between language change and language variation; the Indo-European language family; Romanization of the Iberian Peninsula; Classical vs. 'Vulgar' Latin; Visigothic and Arab influence on the Spanish language; expected and unexpected outcomes of nasalization; Latin and Medieval Spanish word order; Golden Age and Judeo-Spanish; Colonial Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 3010 and SPAN 3000 or SPAN 3200. Conducted in Spanish. Fulfills the Historical requirement for the Linguistics major.