Courses

  • LING 100: The Noun

    We've all been taught that nouns are people, places, and things. Yet, these seemingly simple linguistic objects are surprisingly complex. For instance, languages vary in what information (e.g., case, gender, person, number) nouns display. Even within a single language, the form of a noun may change depending on its function within a sentence or its function within a conversation. This course uses contemporary linguistic theories to account for the many varied forms of nouns throughout the world's languages. No familiarity with languages other than English is required. 6 credit; Argument and Inquiry Seminar, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2014 · C. Ussery
  • LING 110: Introduction to Linguistics

    The capacity to acquire and use natural languages such as English is surely one of the more remarkable features of human nature. In this course, we explore several aspects of this ability. Topics include the sound systems of natural languages, the structure of words, principles that regulate word order, the course of language acquisition in children, and what these reveal about the nature of the mind. 6 credit; Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Winter 2015, Spring 2015 · M. Flynn, C. Fortin
  • LING 115: Introduction to the Theory of Syntax

    This course is organized to enable the student to actively participate in the construction of a rather elaborate theory of the nature of human cognitive capacity to acquire and use natural languages. In particular, we concentrate on one aspect of that capacity: the unconscious acquisition of a grammar that enables a speaker of a language to produce and recognize sentences that have not been previously encountered. In the first part of the course, we concentrate on gathering notation and terminology intended to allow an explicit and manageable description. In the second part, we depend on written and oral student contributions in a cooperative enterprise of theory construction. No prerequisite. 6 credit; Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Fall 2014, Spring 2015 · C. Fortin, C. Ussery
  • LING 216: Generative Approaches to Syntax

    This course has two primary goals: to provide participants with a forum to continue to develop their analytical skills (i.e. to 'do syntax'), and to acquaint them with generative syntactic theory, especially the Principles and Parameters approach. Participants will sharpen their technological acumen, through weekly problem solving, and engage in independent thinking and analysis, by means of formally proposing novel syntactic analyses for linguistic phenomena. By the conclusion of the course, participants will be prepared to read and critically evaluate primary literature couched within this theoretical framework. Prerequisites: Linguistics 115. 6 credit; Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Winter 2015 · C. Ussery
  • LING 217: Phonetics and Phonology

    Although no two utterances are ever exactly the same, we humans don't function like tape recorders; we overlook distinctions to which mechanical recording devices are sensitive, and we "hear" contrasts which are objectively not there. What we (think we) hear is determined by the sound system of the language we speak. This course examines the sound systems of human languages, focusing on how speech sounds are produced and perceived, and how these units come to be organized into a systematic network in the minds of speakers of languages. Prerequisites: Any 100 level course in Linguistics 6 credit; Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Fall 2014 · A. Lubowicz
  • LING 222: Case and Agreement

    The form words take is, in part, governed by complex systems called "case" and "agreement." In general, case refers to forms of nouns, and agreement refers to forms of verbs. We go beyond familiar case patterns in which subjects are Nominative and objects are Accusative and familiar agreement patterns in which verbs display the person, gender, and/or number of subjects. We discover that nouns can bear a variety of cases and that agreement comes in many forms. Using syntactic theory, we explore the interaction between how languages construct words and sentences. No familiarity with languages other than English is required. Prerequisites: Any 100 level Linguistics course 6 credit; Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Spring 2015 · C. Ussery
  • LING 250: Linguistics and Literary Art

    This course examines approaches to the question: "How do artists who use language as a medium manipulate that medium, and to what effect?" Prerequisites: Linguistics 110 or permission of instructor. 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis; not offered 2014–2015
  • LING 265: Language and Brain

    Topics include: the history of the field, agrammatism, fluent aphasia, acquired dyslexias, the role of the non-dominant hemisphere, bilingualism, and subcortical structures. Prerequisites: Any 100 level course in Linguistics 6 credit; Formal or Statistical Reasoning; not offered 2014–2015
  • LING 275: First Language Acquisition

    Humans are unique among animals in that we are able to attain native speaker competency in any language(s) we receive a sufficient amount of exposure to during our development. The path of acquisition is remarkably stable regardless of the language(s) being acquired, and is believed to yield insights into the nature of human language. In this course, we explore children's capacity to acquire language, with a focus on its implications for linguistic theory. Topics include acquisition of phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics, and acquisition in extraordinary circumstances. Prerequisites: Any 100 level course in Linguistics 6 credit; Science with Lab; offered Winter 2015 · C. Fortin
  • LING 280: Field Methods in Linguistics

    This course will introduce students to techniques of linguistic research and analysis through direct work with a native speaker of a language not taught at Carleton. Students will learn techniques for eliciting, organizing, describing, and analyzing data in an ethically responsible and scientifically rigorous manner. Our goal is to develop a description of the language--primarily, aspects of its phonology, morphology, and syntax--through working exclusively with a native speaker. Each student will investigate some aspect of the language in depth, culminating in a class presentation and research report. Prerequisites: Linguistics 110 or 115 6 credit; Science with Lab; not offered 2014–2015
  • LING 285: Linguistics Seminar: The Linguistics of the Japanese Writing System

    The Japanese writing system is often said to be the most complicated in the world, even as Japan has among the very highest literacy rates. In this course, we will closely examine this extraordinary aspect of Japanese society, including its history, relationship with the spoken language, psychological processing, and neural implementation. Finally, we will examine the controversy concerning the use of Kanji, its political ramifications, and look at how the Japanese are responding to various pressures on the system. Experience with Japanese is not necessary. Prerequisites: Any 100 level course in Linguistics 6 credit; Social Inquiry, International Studies; not offered 2014–2015
  • LING 286: Linguistics Seminar: The Structure of Japanese

    This course examines the nature of the Japanese language through the lens of contemporary linguistic theory. Topics include the history of the language, its sound structure, word formation operations, syntax, and its use in social and artistic contexts. This course is not intended to teach students to speak Japanese, and while experience with Japanese would be helpful, it is not necessary. Prerequisites: Any 100 level course in Linguistics 6 credit; Formal or Statistical Reasoning, International Studies; not offered 2014–2015
  • LING 315: Topics in Syntax

    More on syntax. Particular topics vary by year and student interest. Prerequisites: Linguistics 216. 6 credit; Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Fall 2014 · C. Fortin
  • LING 316: Topics in Morphology

    This course explores how languages form words and how contemporary theories account for this complicated process. We concentrate primarily on the interaction between morphology and syntax, but we may also explore the relationship between morphology and phonology. While we will investigate a wide variety of languages, no familiarity with any language other than English is required. Prerequisites: Linguistics 216 6 credit; Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Spring 2015 · C. Ussery
  • LING 317: Topics in Phonology

    More on phonology. This course examines a small number of topics in depth. Particular topics vary from year to year. Prerequisites: Linguistics 217 6 credit; Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Winter 2015 · A. Lubowicz
  • LING 325: Syntax of an Unfamiliar Language

    In this course we examine, with the help of a native speaker consultant, the syntax of a language deliberately chosen for its being unfamiliar to all the participants. Our goals will be to construct a coherent and theoretically respectable account of principles of the grammar of this language, and to understand what our account reveals about the structure of human language generally. Each student will investigate some aspect of the syntax of the language in depth, culminating in a class presentation and research report. Prerequisites: Linguistics 216. 6 credit; Science with Lab; not offered 2014–2015
  • LING 340: Topics in Semantics

    Semantics is the study of meaning (broadly construed) in language. In this course we explore several objects of inquiry within the field of semantics, including compositional semantics (i.e., the computation of meaning over syntactic structures), lexical semantics, argument structure, and pragmatics. Prerequisite: Linguistics 216. 6 credit; Formal or Statistical Reasoning; not offered 2014–2015
  • LING 399: Senior Thesis

    3 credit; S/CR/NC; Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Fall 2014 · C. Fortin
  • LING 400: Integrative Exercise

    6 credit; S/NC; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2015 · Staff