Fall 2018 400-Level Courses

Fall 2018 400-Level Courses

LING 402/ENG 436: The Structure of English - Anne Lobeck, Ph.D. 

TR 10:00-11:50 +1hr/week TBD

Prerequisite: LING 310

Credits: 5

Course Description: This course is designed to make you love something you think you hate: grammar. In fact, as you progress through the course you will likely find that studying grammar is not only less terrifying that you thought, but in fact, that it is actually rather interesting, and a lot of the time, even fun. Rather than correcting each other and learning ‘proper grammar’ in this class, we discover, by exploring your own intuitive knowledge of English, how this fascinating and complex and ever changing language works. This investigation provides you with the tools to analyze language in general, and English in particular, in any representation.

Along with the more technical aspects of grammatical analysis, we will explore how linguistic facts intersect (or don’t) with social attitudes about language and grammar. There are many thorny questions that arise when we find that in terms of grammatical structure, all language varieties are created equal, though many claim that one way of speaking is more desirable than another. Such judgments are social, not linguistic, and they tell us a lot about what we think of each other. They also have powerful social, political, and cultural effects that we will explore together in this class. 


LING 402/ANTH 490: Gender and Language - Judith Pine, Ph.D.

MWF 1:00-2:20

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

Credits: 5

Course Description: This course begins with the understanding that gender is a discursively constructed element of human identity which influences the linguistic production of individuals.  That is to say, gender is something that we human beings create, or perform, using language.  Gender is also something which, as a socially recognized part of our individual identity, influences our own use of language.  In this course we will explore one particular on-going debate within the on-going scholarly conversation on gender and language with a particular focus on anthropology.

You will each have the opportunity to join this discourse, by producing your own original, unique piece of research on the topic of language and gender.  You will collect linguistic data exploring some aspect of gender and language, analyze that data, and produce a final.  This hands-on work will greatly enhance your understanding of the material we will be working with.

Research project

This is an inquiry-based class, grounded in the premise that learning as inquiry offers students opportunities not available through other methods, and recognizing that inquiry is the foundation of all scholarly work.

Inquiry begins with a Why question.  Students will be expected to develop clear, explicitly defined why questions within the larger topic of gender and language.

From the Why question, Inquiry proceeds to the collection and analysis of data.  Although ethnographic Why questions often come from some initial data source further data MUST be collected in order to clarify, revise, and address the Why question.  You will create a Proposal which includes your Why question, and the sources of data from which you intend to draw as you develop your inquiry.

Data and analysis lead to a Claim.  This Claim may echo an initial hypothesis, or may contradict that initial hypothesis.  The Claim is the thesis of your research paper for this course.

Conversation, or scholarly discourse, is the ideal outcome of a Claim in the Inquiry process.  If no one responds to a Claim it is seen as a failure, while in cases where lots of folks vociferously attempt to refute a Claim the person making this Claim is seen as very much a success.  It is not about be Right, or having the Truth.  It is about being part of the conversation.  Your own paper MUST include the voices of other scholars working within the field of Gender and Language.  These voices can be found in your course reading.

You will also create a poster based on your paper.   You will present this poster, and view your colleagues' posters, during the period scheduled for the class final exam.

Scope and Goals

  1. Students will gain a basic understanding of the theory and practice associated with the study of gender and language, with an emphasis on linguistic anthropology.

  2. Students will gain an understanding of the two major currents within the theoretical discourse on language and gender, and think critically about their own position within this discourse.

  3. Students will gain experience conducting basic research according to the methods of the ethnography of communication, writing up the results of this research, and presenting research results.


LING 402: Psychoacoustics - McNeel Jantzen, Ph.D.

MWF 1:00-2:20

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

Credits: 5

Course Description: This is a multidisciplinary course, that will provide you with a solid understanding of auditory processing by examining sound from within linguistics, psychoacoustics, and cognitive neuroscience.  The aim of this course is to offer students an understanding of the broad physical, physiological, and cognitive issues related to sound production and listening. Students will learn how speech and music signals are transformed from physical activity in the environment, to sensations in auditory sensory system, to psychological perceptions in the brain. The relationship between a sound and its perception will be discussed in terms of the underlying mechanisms and the limitations of our hearing system. Topics will include a description of the auditory system and neural pathways; signal detection and discrimination; masking; temporal resolution; pitch, timbre, and loudness perception; sound localization; auditory scene analysis; and speech and music perception.  

Required Text:  Auditory Neuroscience: Making Sense of Sound by By Jan Schnupp, Israel Nelken and Andrew J. King.  MIT Press.  (The book is available in hardcover, paperback, and in ebook formats).

LING 402: Germanic Linguistics - Shannon Dubenion-Smith, Ph.D.

TR 12:00-1:50

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

Credits: 4

Course Description: This course is an introduction to the exciting field of Germanic linguistics. We will begin by looking at the Germanic languages from a diachronic perspective, making our way from a linguistic and cultural-historical overview of Proto-Indo-European, via a discussion of early Germanic texts, to a snapshot of the Germanic languages today. Next, we will compare the modern Germanic languages with respect to characteristic phonological, morphological, and syntactic features. The first half of the quarter will conclude with an investigation of Germanic dialectology, which will include a look at dialectal differences in the United States and the public perception of these differences. During the second half of the quarter, we will continue first with an overview of Germanic languages as they are spoken around the world, then we will move on to a range of topics in Germanic sociolinguistics such as language and gender, language planning, and diglossia.

LING 421: Topics Morphology Syntax: Romance Linguistics, R. Mata, Ph.D.

MWF 2:30-3:50

Prerequisites: LING 321; one course from: LING 204, ENG 270 or ANTH 347

Credits: 5

Course Description: At the turn of the 21st century, more than 500 million people claimed a Romance language as their first language and approximately 300 million claimed one as a second language. As one of the language groups with the most speakers within the Indo-European language family, the Romance languages provide us with a unique opportunity for the study of linguistic typology and contrastive linguistics.

This course focuses on the history and linguistic characteristics of (primarily) Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Romanian. We will also survey grammatical changes from Latin to the present-day varieties of these Romance languages. This will include the study of morpho-phonology, nominal & verb morphology, auxiliary verbs, periphrastic constructions, clitics, and word order. Finally, we will explore situations of language contact within the Romance language family.