Winter 2023 Special Topics Course Descriptions

Ling 302: Multilingualism

Dr. Emily Curtis

  • Credits: 5
  • Prerequisites: One course from: LING 201, ANTH 247, ENG 370, TESL 401 or HNRS 217; or instructor permission.


Who is bilingual? What "counts" as bilingualism? Also, how does bilingualism/multilingualism happen and un-happen in our communities? We will explore these questions and more, looking at what we know about First and Second Language Acquisition, the organization of a multilingual person’s languages in the brain/mind, benefits of being bilingual, and the sociolinguistics and social justice issues of speaking minority languages in the US / Washington. We will read some published research articles together and examine first-hand the linguistic experiences of local bilingual community members.


LING 402: Historical Linguistics

Dr. Edward Vajda

  • Credits: 5
  • Prerequisites: LING 310


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.

LING 431: Topics in Semantics and Pragmatics

Dr. Virginia Dawson

  • Credits: 5
  • Prerequisites: LING 331; one course from: LING 204, LING 207 or ANTH 347.
  • WP3


Semantic variation across languages


In this course, students will read a wide variety of research papers in semantics and pragmatics that deal with questions of how languages do and do not encode meaning in the same ways. Our guiding questions throughout the course will be what cross-linguistic variation tells us about semantics and pragmatics themselves, and what they can say about human cognition and the interface between culture and language. This is a seminar-style, discussion-based class. Students will also write a term paper that addresses the course's themes on a topic of their choice.