Fall 2016

LIN 201/ENG 241/CGS 205
Introduction to Language and Linguistics
Professor Christiane D. Fellbaum

MW 10:00-10:50
An introduction to the scientific analysis of the structure and uses of language.  Core areas covered include phonetics and phonology, morphology, the lexicon, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, with data from a wide range of languages.  Topics include the biological basis of language, language and cognition, the neurology of language and language disorders, and first and second language acquisition.

LIN 250
Language in Its Contexts
Professor Laura Kalin

MW 3:30-4:20
This course investigates language in its social, cultural, political, and historical contexts. Does your native language influence your perception, your behavior, and your culture? How does your identity influence properties of your language? What happens when unrelated languages come into contact for prolonged periods? How are new languages born? Why isn't English the official language of the United States, and should it be? We will explore these questions (and more) by engaging with the often contradictory opinions of specialists and the public, as well as with the empirical realities behind these different language situations.
*There is a waitlist for this class.  Please contact if you would like to be placed on the waitlist.

LIN 302
Professor Byron T. Ahn

MW 1:30-2:50
Syntax is the aspect of human language involved in building phrases out of words. How do words combine - like beads on a string? Are words the smallest building blocks of phrases? How can we make predictions about what is possible and impossible in these structures? This course aims to answer these questions while focusing on the methods linguists use to analyze natural language expressions. Explorations of some universal properties of language structures, as well as the ways in which those structures can vary. Strong emphasis on building and testing hypotheses on the basis of both language data and foundational principles of the field.

LIN 310
Melodies of English (and Other Languages)
Professor Byron T. Ahn

TTH 11:00-12:20
Methods of exploration and analysis of English melodic patterns, addressing questions such as: How do you pronounce a question differently from a statement? How do you pronounce a comma? Students learn how to analyze prosodic data (intonation, phrasing, and prominence) using computer software and standard annotation conventions, leading to student-run research. Comparisons of the English intonational system to systems of other languages of the world.

LIN 360
Language Universals and Diversity
Professor Laura Kalin

MW 11:00-12:20
This course delves into linguistic typology: How do we classify languages? How much can languages differ from each other? What linguistic properties (if any) are shared across all languages? The course will demonstrate that, contrary to initial impressions, languages of the world do not differ arbitrarily and without limit. All human languages share a common core (universals). We must therefore explain why there are linguistic universals and along what parameters languages can vary (diversity). To do so, we will look at a wide range of linguistic phenomena across unrelated languages, many of which are endangered.

LIN 408/PSY 408/CGS 408
Situated Language Usage: Conversations,  Dialogues, and other Goal-Based Communications
Professor Esteban Buz
TTH 1:30-2:50
From ordering a cup of tea from a barista to exchanging abstract ideas with coursemates, human interactions are frequently goal-based and collaborative. To achieve shared goals, people exchange information and coordinate joint action using some form of spoken, gestured, or written language. In this course we will cover our current understanding of how people use and learn to use language in situated interactions and how this sheds light on our language abilities and language's relationship to general cognition. We will cover topics that range from speech production and comprehension, word usage, pragmatic inference, and learning.

Undergraduate Courses

Introduction to Language and Linguistics
Instructors: Christiane Dorothea Fellbaum
Language in Its Contexts
Melodies of English (and Other Languages)
Linguistic Universals and Language Diversity
Situated Language Usage: Conversations, Dialogues, and Other Goal-Based Communications