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The following courses require no background in linguistics and would be appropriate for students from any major.
LING 3310 Introduction to Language and Linguistics
This course provides a broad survey of the field of linguistics at a level appropriate for someone with no background in linguistics. Anyone interested in taking the more advanced linguistics courses should start with this course. The primary goal of the course is to explore the integrated systems of human language. Our focus will be on the evidence that linguists use to find out what we know when we "know" a language. We will study how speech sounds are produced and categorized into abstract entities of sound, how words are formed from smaller meaningful parts, and how they combine into sentence structures. We will also consider how humans derive meaning from language and how language systems change and vary across genders, geographical regions, and time. By thinking about language analytically, we will begin to see the patterns which underlie all languages and which render them capable of being learned and processed in the human brain.
LING 3311 English Words
This course introduces students to the study of the vocabulary of English on several levels. We will examine how English words are formed out of smaller units called morphemes, how they are used in sentences, and how they are acquired by English-speaking children. We will also explore the history of the English lexicon and how words are organized in a speaker's mind.
LING 3312 Modern English Grammar
Modern English Grammar examines the structure of present-day English. Though the term "grammar" is commonly used to refer to the prescriptive language rules that one must follow to appear intelligent or to get an "A" on a paper, in this class, "grammar" is used to refer to the linguistic knowledge that speakers of a language share. The primary goal of this course is to make explicit the conventions native speakers of English know implicitly. Another course goal is to give you the tools you need to discuss and research grammar issues. The terms and concepts covered in this class will be helpful in your writing and will allow you to discuss grammar more precisely. You should be warned that this course is not designed to improve your written or spoken English; it is designed to give you the tools you need to understand and discuss modern English grammar.
LING 3315 Language in Society
The complexities of the relationship between language and social identity have become a popular topic of interest for people in social sciences. Sociolinguistic research has shown that we behave and speak in ways that are highly influenced by our upbringing, our life experiences, and our sense of self. We want to belong to certain groups and to distance ourselves from others. One way of expressing our actual or desired group identity is by adopting or rejecting a group's speech style. However, some people have more ability and greater access to learning a desired style than others, and this disparity has been found to reinforce and perpetuate the traditional power structures of society. This course covers some of the key features of variation in language that we use to both reflect and construct our social identity.
The following courses have prerequisites and contain more advanced topics in linguistics. Waivers may be permitted upon petition of the instructor.
LING 4302 Semantics & Pragmatics
This course will explore the meanings and uses of language following the theoretical framework of linguistic pragmatics. Pragmatics looks beyond the definition of words and the syntax of sentences to the tools and goals of language use in real social contexts. How do we organize turns in conversation? How do we use gestures to support our message? How is it possible to interpret a question like "Where are my keys?" as both a request for information and an accusation that the hearer moved the keys? How do men and women mark their utterances in gender-specific ways? Students in this course will work together on a class project collecting, transcribing, and analyzing original data using a Conversation Analysis (CA) approach.
LING 4303 Contemporary Syntax
This course is an introduction to syntax, which is the branch of linguistics that deals with the scientific study of sentence structure in natural human language. The focus of this course is to train students to think rigorously, systematically, and scientifically about grammar (and language in general), a skill you can apply in many areas. Students will gain a basic foundation in the dominant syntactic theory, Generative Grammar.
LING 4305 Phonetics & Phonology
This course is an introduction to the study of speech sounds and sound systems of the world's languages with a focus on those sounds and sound patterns which occur in English. We will examine speech sounds in terms of their production, their articulatory and acoustic features, and their graphic representation in phonetic notation. The introduction of basic phonological theories will provide the framework for analysis of various phonological processes which occur in English and other languages. Using computerized acoustic analysis of speech samples from class members, we will compare the ways phonological theory and acoustic phonetic analysis can account for the ways in which adjacent sounds affect each other.
LING 4311 Special Topics in Linguistics
This course is offered periodically to introduce students to topics not covered in other linguistics courses. The topic will be announced for each semester or session. A course can be repeated once with a change of topic and consent of the instructor.
LING 4312 Old English Language
Old English language and an introduction to Anglo-Saxon history and culture. Selections from Old English poetry and prose (Biblical translations, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Alfredian translations, homilies) will be read in the original.
LING 4313 First Language Acquisition
This course will cover children's acquisition of sounds, lexicon, sentence structure, and contextual usage of their first language.
LING 4314 History of the English Language
This course is a chronological study of the development of the English language from its Indo-European and Germanic origins to the modern American and British varieties. We will examine changes in sound, meaning, spelling, and word and sentence structure, focusing on those which had dramatic effects on the way English sounded and was uded in each major period: Old, Middle, Early Modern, and Present Day English. We will try to understand how both forces within the language itself as well as political and social upheavals affected the speakers of English and brought about linguistic change. For each of the major periods, we will practice pronouncing literary texts as they would have been pronounced at the time of their writing.
LING 4316 Cross-Cultural Linguistics
This course explores the dynamic process of intercultural communication and the social, historical, and linguistic factors that influence it. The readings and class discussions will cover how different cultures express through language their worldview, concepts of time, gender roles, politeness, religious faith, educational values, and many more. Students in fields ranging from education to business management should find this course interesting and valuable.
LING 4318 Second Language Acquisition
How do we as humans learn additional languages after learning our first language? What factors account for why some people have more success than others in second language learning? What does it take to attain advanced proficiency in languages other than the first language? These are the central questions in the field of second language acquisition that we will explore in this course. We will examine the role of various factors on second language acquisition, including motivation, age, memory, classroom instruction, study abroad experience, and learning styles. We will become familiar with theories, research methods, and the latest findings in the field of second language acquisition. We will also consider the implications of theories and findings for practical issues such as in language teaching, bilingual education, and society as a whole.
LING 4319 American English Dialects
This course is an introduction to dialectology, focusing on the origins of American English dialects and their development through the spread of linguistic variation.
LING 4v20 Independent Study in Linguistics
This course is intended for supervised individual research and the study of a linguistic subfield or linguistic problem. It may be repeated once with a change of topic for a maximum of six hours.
ENG 5301 Old English Language Seminar
Introduction to the Old English language and literature through intensive study of Old English grammar and reading of Old English texts. Selections may include biblical translations, entries from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, writings of Bede and Alfred, and The Battle of Brunanburh.
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