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College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Winter 2021 Linguistics Courses

LING 302: Bad Grammar: The History of English and the Complaint Tradition - Dr. Anne Lobeck

Poster for winter 2021 LING 302

TR 2-3:50

Remote-Synchronous 

Prerequisite: One course from: LING 201, ANTH 247, ENG 370, TESL 401 or HNRS 217; or instructor permission.

Credits: 5

Description: Has anyone ever corrected your grammar? Have you ever corrected someone else? We learn early on that correcting others’ speech and writing, and evaluating that speech or writing as good, bad, sloppy, lazy, etc. is just a fact of life. But where did these notions come from? Who decides what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ grammar and why? Why do these notions persist?  An in depth look at the of the origins and legacy of this Complaint Tradition, which arose in the British Isles in the 18th century, provides us with some possible answers to these questions. 

In this class we will study the historical development of the English language, from the Old English of Beowulf to Present-day English. In addition to exploring how English changes over time, we will examine the history of speakers’ attitudes toward language change, and the ideologies that support old ideas that are still with us today. Some of these include: language change is ‘decay’ (texting is ruining English, right?); speaking English ‘correctly’ will lead to social success; certain varieties of English are ‘better’ than others, and more. We will explore modern incarnations of the Complaint Tradition in dictionaries, social media, memes, grammar checker­­s, and grammar ‘help’ sites such as Grammarly and WhiteSmoke. We will gain insights not only into the origins of notions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ grammar and why they persist, but also into how themes of nationalism and immigration, gender, ethnic, and class identity, and authority shape those attitudes, both then and now. We will consider the power that attitudes about language change reinforce social inequities, but also how they can drive positive change.

 

LING 402: Historical Linguistics - Dr. Edward Vajda

MWF 1-2:20

Remote-Synchronous 

Prerequisite: LING 310; one course from: LING 204, ENG 270 or ANTH 347

Credits: 5

Description: This course provides an in-depth look at how different components of language change through time: phonology, morphology, syntax, semantic structure. It provides an overview of the currently accepted genetic (= genealogical) classification of languages and of the methods that historical linguists use to trace prehistoric language diversification and contact.  Universal tendencies of change, as well as unique aspects of the history of individual families, all received attention.  We also explore what universal processes of language change tell up about the inborn human language ability. The course counts toward fulfilling one of the two required core LING402 classes in the linguistics major.

 

LING 402: Chinese Linguistics - Dr. Janet Xing

Cross-listed with CHIN 402

TR 10-11:30 +hr arranged

Remote - Blended

Prerequisite: LING 310; one course from: LING 204, ENG 270 or ANTH 347

Credits: 5

WP1

Description: This course (WP1) investigates phonetics/phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax, discourse-pragmatics, dialectology and the evolution of the writing system of the Chinese language. Also briefly covered are some topics relating Chinese language to Chinese culture and society.

Objectives: This course is designed for students who major in Linguistics or Chinese to gain a comprehensive understanding of the structure and usage of Mandarin (Modern standard) Chinese. Through class discussion, reading materials, and comparative studies of Chinese and English, students explore all core areas of the Chinese language and linguistics: phonetics/phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax, as well as dialect variations. Development of grammatical features and the evolution of Chinese scripts will also be examined. Included as part of the course is a cursory look at the relationship between language and culture. This course is cross-listed with Linguistic 402 for linguistics majors.

Format: The course will be conducted through lectures combined with class discussions on assigned readings and other class activities. Course work includes five assignments, two tests, and a presentation.

 

CHIN 314: Chinese Sounds- Dr. Janet Xing

(This course may be used to replace LING 311 for linguistics majors)

TR 1-2:30 +hr arranged

Remote - Blended

Prerequisite: CHIN 201 or LING 201 or instructor's permission

Credits: 5

Objectives: This course introduces phonetics (the study of how speech sounds are produced) and phonology (the study of sound system) of modern standard Chinese. The primary goal of the course is to help students who major in Chinese and Linguistics learn how Chinese sounds are produced, so that they can describe them in articulatory terms, write them out in Pinyin and the International Phonetic Alphabet, and produce them accurately. Other topics include an introduction to higher-level units of Chinese speech including words, intonation phrases, and Peking accent; the relation between tone and intonation; and comparison between Chinese and English sounds. (5 credits; prerequisite CHIN201 or instructor’s permission)

Format: The course will be conducted through lectures combined with class discussions on assigned readings and other class activities. Course work includes assignments, two written exams, and two (oral) presentations.

 

LING 402: Japanese Linguistics - Dr. Masanori Deguchi

MWF 10-11:20

Remote-Synchronous 

Prerequisite: LING 310; one course from: LING 204, ENG 270 or ANTH 347

Credits: 5

Description: We start our course with a survey of different aspects of the Japanese language: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. With this structural knowledge under our belt, we will examine synchronic (e.g., regional and social dialects) and diachronic variations (e.g., historical changes) in order to appreciate the diversity and the systematicity of such diversity.

Knowledge of Japanese is not assumed or required. This course is beneficial for both students of Japanese who want to deepen their understanding of its structure and students of linguistics who want to broaden their horizon by examining a language typologically different from Indo-European languages 

 

LING 402: Anthropological Semiotics - Dr. Judith Pine

Cross-listed with ANTH 447

MWF 2-3:20

Remote-Synchronous 

Prerequisite: LING 310; one course from: LING 204, ENG 270 or ANTH 347

Credits: 5

Description: Myth, metaphor and media offer the material for this exploration of theories which offer insight into the relationship between language and mind.

 

LING 402: Cognitive Neuroscience of Language - Dr. McNeel Jantzen

TR 10-11:50

Remote-Synchronous 

Prerequisite: LING 310; one course from: LING 204, ENG 270 or ANTH 347

Credits: 5

Description: This is a multidisciplinary course, that will provide you with a avoid understanding of the cognitive neuroscience of language by examining the fundamental aspects of brain structure and function, and then proceeding to cover aphasia syndromes, the perception and production of speech, the processing of language in written and signed modalities, the meanings of words, and the formulation and comprehension of complex expressions, including grammatically inflected words, complete sentences, and entire stories.  The topics covered will draw heavily on prominent theoretical models and illustrate how such frameworks are supported, and sometimes challenged, by experiments employing diverse  brain mapping techniques such as fMRI, PET, and EEG.  Students are not required to have previous knowledge of cognitive neuroscience as we will define technical terms and explain important principles from linguistics and cognitive neuroscience disciplines throughout the quarter.

  

LING 431: Semantic variation across languages - Dr. Virginia Dawson

MWF 1-2:20

Remote-Synchronous 

Prerequisite: LING 310; one course from: LING 204, ENG 270 or ANTH 347

Credits: 5

WP3

Description:  In this course we explore cross-linguistic variation in semantics: How and when do languages encode similar meanings differently? We will examine this question in a range of domains, including definite descriptions, modals, tense/aspect, and mass/count distinctions by looking at a range of typologically diverse languages. We will also touch on bigger questions such as how differences between these languages impact translation both on a practical level and on a philosophical level (e.g. can languages always express the exact same range of propositions?) and whether there are true semantic universals across all languages. The course will be seminar-style and reading-based. If you're keen to learn about how languages are different and gain more experience reading research papers, this is a good course for you.