Undergraduate minor: linguistics
Graduate degrees: M.A. in linguistics; Ph.D. in linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human languages, which are highly complex systems. Areas of study include word structure (morphology), speech sounds (phonetics) and their patterns of combination and contrast (phonology), sentence structure (syntax), and meaning relations (semantics).
Linguists study well-known and familiar languages, such as English, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese. They also study less well-known languages and even those languages about which little has been discovered. While human languages are different from one another in many ways, there are broad similarities among them, supporting the idea that the capacity for language is part of human cognitive functions.
The description of formal patterns of human language has a number of applications. Linguistics is connected to psychology and to speech and hearing, in studying how children learn language, how speakers process and interpret language, and how injuries and disorders affect both production and perception of speech. Linguistics also is linked with anthropology and other social sciences in studying how language use relates to culture, region, class, and gender. Linguists collaborate with computer scientists to construct computational representations of syntax and semantics for processing natural languages.
Linguistics has important ties with instruction in world languages and in English as a second language (ESL). Studies of how languages are learned are based in part on analysis of the languages in question. They also are grounded strongly in theories of second language acquisition, which in turn are related to theories of how linguistic knowledge is represented in the mind.
People with linguistic training teach ESL and help clinicians retrain people with linguistic disabilities. Some help design school programs for minority groups or intelligence and achievement tests. Linguists also work in occupations related to law, the computer industry, and world languages.
High scores on verbal, analytic, and quantitative aptitude tests are indicators of success in linguistics. Although few aspects of the field deal with numbers, students must be able to reason logically and explicitly and deal with formulas and abstract symbols.
The Department of Linguistics is one of the academic units in the Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.
Related Certificate: Cognitive Science of Language
The Graduate College offers the Certificate in Cognitive Science of Language. Designed to complement doctoral study, the certificate program ensures that students have training in interdisciplinary approaches to the study of language along with strong theoretical grounding in their Ph.D. discipline. See Cognitive Science of Language (Graduate College) in the Catalog for more information.
Undergraduate Programs of Study
Graduate Programs of Study
The Department of Linguistics has a laboratory equipped with 20 computer workstations for small group instruction, individual work, and student research in speech analysis, second language acquisition, computational linguistics, and other areas. The department also has a soundproof booth connected to a computer with software for speech analysis. Remote terminals and personal computers also are available to students.
The departmental reading room, which contains a modest library, provides a common meeting place for faculty and students.
LING:1000 First-Year Seminar1 s.h.
Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor; may include outside activities (e.g., films, lectures, performances, readings, visits to research facilities). Requirements: first- or second-semester standing.
LING:1003 English Grammar3 s.h.
Recognizing nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and other parts of speech; sentence analysis; subjects, objects; types of sentences; passives, relative clauses; for students with little or no background in English grammar study. Does not count toward the linguistics major. Same as WRIT:1003.
LING:1010 Language and Society3 s.h.
Correlations between social and linguistic behavior; methods for discovering and describing socially significant language behavior; educational and political implications of findings. GE: Social Sciences.
LING:1030 English Words3 s.h.
English word formation, basic units of English vocabulary; vocabulary skill expansion; word structure. Same as WRIT:1030.
LING:1040 Language Rights3 s.h.
Language minorities and linguistic human rights in the United States and worldwide; language and identity, culture, power; case studies of language rights deprivation. GE: International and Global Issues. Same as ANTH:1040.
LING:1050 Language and Formal Reasoning3 s.h.
Semantics and sentence structure of English; word meanings, meaning connected to truth conditions, reasoning based on logical connectives and quantifiers, evaluation of valid and invalid arguments. GE: Quantitative or Formal Reasoning.
LING:1060 Languages of the World3 s.h.
Overview of structural similarities and differences in human language; survey of the world's major language families; emphasis on sentence and word structure, sound systems, and modes of classification. GE: Social Sciences.
LING:2010 Research Practicumarr.
Individual participation in faculty research projects.
LING:2090 Special Projectarr.
LING:2248 The Invention of Writing: From Cuneiform to Computers3 s.h.
Invention of writing as one of the most momentous events in the history of human civilizations; how the use of written sign systems, notations, maps, graphs, encryptions, and most recently, computer programs have consequences that reach deeply into all aspects of people's lives; how writing fascinates and delights, fosters reflexive thinking and facilitates development of complex societies, and gives rise to institutions of social power and control; students explore the invention of writing and its consequences in broad international and interdisciplinary context. Same as ANTH:2248, ASIA:2248, CL:2248, CLSA:2048, COMM:2248, HIST:2148, IS:2248, WLLC:2248.
LING:2900 Language, Gender, and Sexuality3 s.h.
Gender-related language variation; current research on gender-specific linguistic forms and usage in the United States and other language communities; introduction to relevant principles of linguistic theory and analysis. GE: Values and Culture.
LING:3001 Introduction to Linguistics3 s.h.
Introduction to the study of human language: sounds and their contrasts and variation, words and meaningful subunits, sentence structure, historical change.
LING:3005 Articulatory and Acoustic Phonetics3 s.h.
Production and transcription of sounds in human languages; physics of sound, computer analysis of speech sounds. Offered fall semesters. Same as SLA:3400.
LING:3010 Syntactic Analysis3 s.h.
Introduction to sentence structures and basic abstract relations that characterize them, including word category, word order, hierarchical organization; problem sets from English and other languages as basis for discussion, analysis. Offered spring semesters. Prerequisites: LING:3001.
LING:3020 Phonological Analysis3 s.h.
Introduction to analysis of sound systems; generative phonological theory; practice in phonological analysis using data from a variety of languages. Offered spring semesters. Prerequisites: LING:3001 and LING:3005.
LING:3030 Child Language-Linguistic Perspectives3 s.h.
Linguistic theory as applied to first-language learning, including acquisition of sounds, syntax and word meaning, acquisition strategies, properties of input, theories of first-language acquisition. Prerequisites: LING:3001.
LING:3040 Topics in Linguistics3 s.h.
Varied topics in linguistics; for undergraduates.
LING:3080 History of the English Language3 s.h.
Development of phonological and grammatical structure of English, from Old to Modern English; dialectal differentiation in English. Same as WRIT:3080.
LING:3116 Basic Neuroscience for Speech and Hearing3 s.h.
Basic anatomy, physiology of central nervous system; emphasis on neural systems involved in normal and disordered communication. Offered fall semesters. Requirements: biology, zoology, or physiology course. Same as CSD:3116.
LING:3117 Psychology of Language3 s.h.
Theoretical, empirical investigations of linguistic behavior; behaviorist, rationalist models in context of formal linguistic structure and context of models of speech perception and production. Offered spring semesters. GE: Social Sciences. Same as CSD:3117.
LING:3118 Language Acquisition1-3 s.h.
Models of children's language acquisition; child language/communication development from infancy through school age, in context of current developmental research. Offered spring semesters. Requirements: for CSD:3118—LING:3001 and PSY:1001; for LING:3118—LING:3001 or LING:3117. GE: Social Sciences. Same as CSD:3118.
LING:3302 Introduction to Chinese Linguistics3 s.h.
LING:3670 Language Processes3 s.h.
Psychological processes involved in using languages, including speech perception and production, the meaning of words, understanding and producing sentences, and basics of discourse and pragmatics; developmental and neural bases of language processes. Prerequisites: (PSY:2701 and (PSY:2812 with a minimum grade of C- or PSY:2810 with a minimum grade of C-) and PSY:2601 with a minimum grade of C-) or CSD:1015 or LING:3001. Same as PSY:3670.
LING:4010 Undergraduate Practicum in Teaching English as a Second Language3 s.h.
Practicum experience for undergraduate linguistics majors with an emphasis in teaching English as a second language (TESL); readings and reflection on academic writing, international student writing, and providing feedback on written work; training in the policies and procedures of the Department of Rhetoric's Writing Center; mentored experience in working with international student writers. Prerequisites: LING:3005 and LING:4040. Corequisites: LING:4050. Requirements: undergraduate major in linguistics with TESL emphasis.
LING:4020 Morphology3 s.h.
Lexicon and principles of word formation; principal processes of inflection, derivation, and compounding found in the world's languages; relation to phonology, syntax; practice in morphological analysis from a variety of languages. Prerequisites: LING:3001.
LING:4040 The Structure of English3 s.h.
Descriptive analysis of English, including word and sentence structure; focus on relevance to teaching English as a second language. Offered fall semesters. Prerequisites: LING:3001.
LING:4050 Methods of Teaching English as a Second Language3 s.h.
Observations of ESL and intensive English classes at the University; design and presentation of short lessons, text evaluation, demonstrations of innovative approaches of the last decade; materials. Offered spring semesters. Prerequisites: LING:3005 and LING:4040. Same as SLA:4401.
LING:4060 Introduction to Semantics3 s.h.
Overview of meaning in natural language mapped onto lexical and syntactic structures; formal logical and set theory description; discussion of truth conditions, compositionality, presupposition, definiteness, quantification in natural language. Requirements: course in syntax.
LING:4070 Introduction to Pragmatics3 s.h.
Introduction to the study of meanings and language use in context; meaning outside the literal semantic interpretation of words used including presuppositions and goals of speaker, expectation of listener, speech acts, conversational implicatures, deixis, discourse functions, and other relevant topics. Taught in English. Prerequisites: LING:3001. Same as FREN:4070.
LING:4090 Practical Phonetics3 s.h.
Contemporary articulatory and acoustic research, including second-language acquisition, elicitation and computer analysis of primary linguistic data. Prerequisites: LING:3005.
LING:4589 Philosophy of Language3 s.h.
Main issues in contemporary philosophy of language; topics may include theories of meaning, truth, belief, interpretation, translation, speech acts, performatives, rule following, reference, naming, propositional attitudes, metaphor. Same as PHIL:4589.
LING:5000 Proseminar: Morphosyntax1 s.h.
Basic morphological analysis of languages other than English; morphological markers of syntactic relations (morphosyntax), such as case/agreement, possession, switch reference and other inflectional marking. Corequisites: LING:5010.
LING:5010 Introduction to Syntax3 s.h.
Methods and argumentation for formal analysis of sentence structure through induction from language data of central concepts and relations; hypothesis testing, empirical bases of theoretical concepts. Corequisites: LING:5000. Same as SLA:5010.
LING:5020 Introduction to Phonology3 s.h.
Analysis of sound systems, focus on early generative phonological theory; extensive practice in analysis using data from a variety of languages; linguistic argumentation. Prerequisites: LING:3005. Same as SLA:5020.
LING:5030 First Language Acquisition3 s.h.
LING:5040 Linguistic Field Methods3 s.h.
Collection and analysis of primary linguistic data from unfamiliar language; methods of elicitation, theory, practical problems; extensive practice in eliciting data from a consultant. Prerequisites: LING:3005 and LING:5010. Requirements: a course in syntax and a course in phonology.
LING:5070 Practicum in Teaching English as a Second Language3 s.h.
Practical experience in TESL, observation and participation in intensive English classes; design and teaching of ESL classes under supervision. Offered summer sessions. Prerequisites: LING:4050.
LING:5090 Special Projectsarr.
Theoretical and applied topics.
LING:6010 Syntactic Theory3 s.h.
Current syntactic theory examined through analysis of data sets, readings in recent research; emphasis on argument construction, statement of formal principles. Offered spring semesters. Prerequisites: LING:5010. Same as SLA:6010.
LING:6020 Phonological Theory3 s.h.
LING:6040 Linguistic Structures3 s.h.
Grammatical and/or phonological structure of a selected language or language family.
LING:6050 Language Universals Linguistic Typology3 s.h.
Proposed universal principles of linguistic structure; approaches to classification of languages on the basis of grammatical and phonological structure. Prerequisites: LING:5010.
LING:6080 Topics in Second Language Acquisition3 s.h.
Overview of current second-language acquisition research in the generative linguistic framework; focus on characterizing second language learners' linguistic competence and how it is constrained by principles of universal grammar. Offered fall semesters. Prerequisites: (LING:3010 or LING:5010) and (LING:3020 or LING:5020). Same as SLA:6452.
LING:6101 Cognitive Science of Language Proseminar I3 s.h.
Survey of five major disciplines within language sciences: formal linguistic, communication disorders, psychological, neuroscience, and computational approaches. Requirements: graduate standing in communication sciences and disorders, linguistics, psychology, or neuroscience. Same as CSD:6101, PSY:6101.
LING:6102 Cognitive Science of Language Proseminar II3 s.h.
Survey of five major disciplines within language sciences: formal linguistic, communication disorders, psychological, neuroscience, and computational approaches. Requirements: graduate standing in communication sciences and disorders, linguistics, psychology, or neuroscience. Same as CSD:6102, PSY:6102.
LING:6190 Topics in Comparative Romance Linguistics3 s.h.
Comparative study of phonology, morphology, or syntax of the main Romance languages as informed by linguistic theory; diachronic or synchronic perspective. Recommendations: additional graduate course work in linguistics. Same as SLA:6302, SPAN:6190.
LING:6415 Seminar: Language, Gender, and Sexuality3 s.h.
Role of language and discourse in cultural constructions of gender identities and relations, including domination and subordination; theoretical perspective and methodological approaches that have shaped thought on the language/gender nexus. Same as ANTH:6415, GWSS:6415.
LING:6900 Master's Thesisarr.
LING:7010 Advanced Syntactic Theory2-3 s.h.
LING:7020 Advanced Phonological Theory2-3 s.h.
LING:7040 Topics in Linguistic Theory2-3 s.h.
Varied topics in linguistic theory; for graduate students.
LING:7090 Seminar: Problems in Linguistics2-3 s.h.
Intensive study of theoretical and practical problems. Same as SLA:7404.
LING:7100 Special Projectsarr.
LING:7900 Ph.D. Thesisarr.