Courses

  • 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; Social Sciences, Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Winter 2014, Spring 2014 · 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; Social Sciences, Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Fall 2013, Spring 2014 · D. Medeiros
  • 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; Social Sciences, Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Winter 2014 · D. Medeiros
  • 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; Social Sciences, Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Fall 2013 · 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; Social Sciences, Formal or Statistical Reasoning; not offered 2013–2014
  • LING 235: Language and Discrimination

    From the cognitive perspective, knowledge of language depends on the ability, usually subconscious, to discriminate between linguistic categories (e.g. phonemes, morphemes, and others). But how does language users' ability to discriminate between linguistic categories affect linguistic ideologies in the social sphere? We examine how language interacts with (again, usually subconscious) ideological processes, taking a critical theory of race as our starting point. From there, we examine the central role of language in social statement, conflict, and discrimination as this relates to race, ethnicity, ability, homeland, gender, and the suppression of linguistic variation.

    Prerequisites: Any 100 level Linguistics course. 6 credit; Social Inquiry; offered Winter 2014 · D. Medeiros
  • 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; Social Sciences, Literary/Artistic Analysis; not offered 2013–2014
  • 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; Social Sciences, Formal or Statistical Reasoning; not offered 2013–2014
  • 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; Social Sciences, Science with Lab; not offered 2013–2014
  • 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; Social Sciences, Science with Lab; offered Spring 2014 · C. Fortin
  • 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 Sciences, Social Inquiry, International Studies; offered Spring 2014 · M. Flynn
  • 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; Social Sciences, Formal or Statistical Reasoning, International Studies; offered Spring 2014 · M. Flynn
  • LING 315: Topics in Syntax

    More on syntax. Particular topics vary by year and student interest.

    Prerequisites: Linguistics 216. 6 credit; Social Sciences, Formal or Statistical Reasoning; not offered 2013–2014
  • 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; Social Sciences, Formal or Statistical Reasoning; not offered 2013–2014
  • 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; Social Sciences, Formal or Statistical Reasoning; not offered 2013–2014
  • 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; offered Fall 2013 · C. Fortin
  • 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; Social Sciences, Formal or Statistical Reasoning; not offered 2013–2014
  • LING 345: Comparative Polynesian Syntax

    The languages of Polynesia represent a rich, and understudied, source of data for the study of syntactic micro-variation, i.e. how closely related languages differ syntactically despite sharing many superficial features. Working in a seminar format, we compare Polynesian languages with respect to some of the central topics in syntactic theory. We also consider if and how case-marking pattern interacts with syntax, given that Polynesian has languages with both accusative and ergative case systems. Additional morphological and phonological properties will be considered given time and student interest.

    Prerequisites: Linguistics 216. 6 credit; Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Spring 2014 · D. Medeiros
  • LING 399: Senior Thesis

    3 credit; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a distribution requirement, Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Fall 2013 · Staff
  • LING 400: Integrative Exercise

    6 credit; S/NC; Does not fulfill a distribution requirement, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2014 · Staff