We are excited to offer a variety of courses for the Institute!
The courses are numbered in order to organize them into different subjects and levels.
100s: Introduction courses | 200s: Advanced courses | 300s: Special topics courses
- 10s: morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics
- 20s: phonetics, phonology
- 30s: computational
- 40s: psycholinguistics
- 50s, 80s: sociolinguistics, anthropological linguistics
- 60s: historical linguistics, typology
- 70s: courses which do not fit into the above categories
Want to learn more about the instructors? Check out our interviews on the blog!
Introduction to Morphological Theory
Instructor: David Embick
Introduction to Pragmatics
Instructor: Anne Bezuidenhout
Introduction to Syntax
Instructor: Ida Toivonen
The goal of this course is to introduce students to syntactic analysis. The teaching is centered around exercises about data drawn from English but also other languages. The course will cover several core topics in syntax, such as constituency, case and binding.
Introduction to Semantics
Instructor: J. Michael Terry
This course provides an introduction to the goals of formal semantics and the analytical tools used in their pursuit. Topics to be addressed include patterns of inference (entailment, implicature, presupposition), compositionality, scope, and intensionality. These topics will be explored through lectures, readings, and problem sets. No prior knowlege of semantics is assumed. Students will find previous exposure to the basic concepts of syntax (e.g. constituency, well formedness) and the basic concepts of set theory helpful although strictly speaking, not required.
Introduction to Phonetics
Instructor: Keith Johnson
Introduction to Prosody
Instructors: Nigel G. Ward, Francisco Torreira
Prosody, broadly defined as the aspects of spoken utterances that are not governed by segmental contrasts, is challenging to analyze because it operates close to the limits of conscious introspection, and because most spoken utterances involve multiple prosodic dimensions simultaneously conveying multiple meanings or serving multiple communicative functions. This course will help participants learn to identify, discover, and describe meaningful prosodic properties and patterns in spoken utterances. The approach will be theory-neutral and descriptively eclectic. The focus will be on primary observation and preliminary analysis and ideation rather than hypothesis testing based on pre-existing theories. The course will include lectures, ear and production training exercises, discussions of readings, qualitative and quantitative analysis with Praat, R, and other tools, hands-on analysis of provided and contributed data, and the development and presentation of student research proposals. The course is designed to be broadly accessible, with knowledge of phonetics not required. Case studies will, depending on student interests, include sociolinguistic differences in the production and perception of prosodic forms, the mapping between prosody and other layers of linguistic and communicative organization (e.g. syntax, discourse, conversational turn-taking), cross-language comparisons, cross-cultural issues, and the prosody of non-native speakers.
Introduction to Phonology
Instructor: Laura Downing
This course is intended to provide an introduction to phonological analysis, theory and argumentation. Topics covered will include common segmental and autosegmental phonological processes as well as prosodic phonology. The goal of the course is to develop both a typology of common phonological processes and analyses of these processes in at least one theoretical framework. The discussion will largely assume either Autosegmental Phonology (Goldsmith 1975) or Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993/2004) as the formal framework. The course is not designed to provide a systematic introduction to either of these frameworks, though a brief introduction to each will be given. Prior knowledge of either framework is not required. A basic understanding of the phonetic properties of speech sounds will be assumed. While there is no textbook for the class, students will find Zsiga’s “The Sounds of Language” to be a useful resource. There will be several homework assignments, as well as in class exercises to work through the course material.
Intro to Computational Linguistics
Instructor: Kenji Sagae
This course offers an introduction to computational methods for modeling linguistic phenomena at various levels, with a focus on the formalization and representation of language in a computational framework. We explore issues involving the intersection of linguistic structure, theory of computation and statistics.
Introduction to Psycholinguistics
Instructor: Matthew Traxler
Introduction to Language Acquisition
Instructor: Katharine Graf Estes
This course will address how infants and young children learn language. The focus will be on mechanism, not simply what children know at a given age, but how they learn. The readings will emphasize early learning about speech sounds and words.
Instructor: Pamela Munro
Analysis of a language unknown to class members from data elicited from a native speaker of the language following standard linguistic elicitation and analysis techniques. Requires several short and one longer paper describing features of the language.
Introduction to Discourse Analysis
Instructor: Barbara Johnstone
Discourse analysts set out to answer a variety of questions about language, about writers and speakers, and about sociocultural processes that give rise to discourse and are constituted in discourse. But all approach their tasks by paying close and systematic attention to particular constellations of texts and contexts. In this course we ask and answer questions about why people use language as they do, learning to move from a stretch of speech or writing or signing outward to the linguistic, cognitive, historical, social, psychological, and rhetorical reasons for its form and its functions. As we look at resources for text-building we read about analyses by others and practice analyses of our own. In the process, we discuss methodological issues involved in collecting texts and systematically describing their contexts (ethnographic participant-observation and other forms of naturalistic inquiry; transcription and “entextualization”; legal and ethical issues connected with collecting and using other people’s voices) as well as methodological issues that arise in the process of interpreting texts (analytical heuristics; reflexivity; standards of evidence). Students are expected to be familiar with basic concepts in English grammar.
Introduction to Sociolinguistics
Instructor: Robert Bayley
Introduction to Language Typology
Instructor: Bernard Comrie
This course will provide an introduction to language typology, an approach that assigns a central role to cross-linguistic differences, studying them systematically and always keeping in mind possible language universals. Topics to be covered will be primarily from morphology and syntax, including word order, alignment (e.g. ergative, accusative), and relative clauses.
Introduction to Historical Linguistics
Instructor: Lyle Campbell
Historical linguistics is about how and why languages change. This introduction to historical linguistics covers the fundamental principals and methods of: sound change, borrowing and language contact, analogy, reconstruction and the comparative method, language classification, internal reconstruction, change in grammar, lexical and semantic change, and explanation of linguistic change.
Second Language Development
Instructors: Kees de Bot, Marjolijn Verspoor
In this course we will discuss a number of aspects of Second Language Development from a Complex Dynamic systems perspective. We will discuss recent high density developmental data along with more general issues, such as time and variation. In addition we will discuss specific data on language attrition, second language writing and reaction time data as they relate to various theories on SLD.
Instructor: David Pesetsky
Instructor: Susan Lin
The goal of this course is to provide students with broad training in the nomenclature, theory, and practice of articulatory phonetics and phonology. Students in this course will learn about the organs of the vocal tract used in speech production and their coordination and factors thought to affect speech articulation. Along the way, students will learn about some of the methods for studying articulation, including practical hands-on activities.Students be assessed on weekly short homework assignments and a proposal for novel research related to their own research interests.
Instructors: Patrice Beddor, Kevin McGowan
Experimental speech perception, which spans a period of more than 70 years, investigates how listeners interpret the input acoustic signal as linguistic forms. From the discipline’s earliest years, researchers recognized that the acoustic signal is highly variable and that perceptual processing is more complex (and interesting!) than a simple one-to-one mapping between acoustic property and linguistic percept. Yet, despite this complexity, humans are highly accurate perceivers of the intended speech in typical conversational interactions.
Instructor: Cynthia Clopper
This course provides an introduction to methods of experimental research on speech perception and production as tools in phonological analysis. The coursework will consist primarily of readings from the published literature exemplifying the laboratory phonology approach. The topics of the readings will reflect a fundamental question in both theoretical and laboratory phonology: what is the nature of phonological represetation? We will explore this question through readings and discussions on topics such as contrast, allophony, neutralization, and suprasegmentals.
Constraint-based Syntax and Semantics
Instructors: Anne Abeillé, Jean-Pierre Koenig
In this course we survey the basic aspects and results of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG), a lexically-driven framework for grammatical analysis via simultaneous constraint satisfaction that is well-developed and has led to wide-scale implemented grammars of several languages. Wherever possible, we include comparisons with competing approaches in other frameworks.
Advanced Statistics and Data Analysis
Instructor: Santiago Barreda
Instructor: Adele Goldberg
Instructor: Fernanda Ferreira
Neurobiology of Language
Instructor: David Corina
Instructor: Mark Richard Lauersdorf
Historical sociolinguistics is the application/development of sociolinguistic theories, methods, and models for the study of historical language variation and change, or more broadly, the study of the interaction of language and society in historical periods and from historical perspectives. In our sessions at the Institute, we will: arrive at a baseline understanding of the scope of the field; consider some of the theories and methods deployed in historical sociolinguistic research; examine datasets assembled for historical sociolinguistic investigations; review select examples of the application of the theories and methods to datasets; experiment with some of the digital tools of the field in our own hands-on investigations.
Analysis of Social Meaning
Instructor: Qing Zhang
Language, Gender, and Sexuality
Instructor: Lal Zimman
This course provides a broad, interdisciplinary perspective and a range of tools for the study of gender, sexuality, and linguistic practice. The course will cover major theoretical developments in the field with a focus on contemporary issues and debates. Topics of focus include agency, indexicality, parody, identity, globalization, nationalism, and embodiment.
Advanced Topics in Linguistic Typology
Instructor: Jack Hawkins
This course will examine the interfaces between typology and other areas in the language sciences to which it has contributed and from which it can benefit. These include the more traditional fields of formal grammar and historical linguistics, as well as more recent interfaces with language processing, with computational linguistics, with language learning and bilingualism, and including the applications of typology into e.g. translation and interpreting. The focus will be on very general issues and research questions that arise in each of these interfaces. What exactly can typology give to theories of formal grammar and parameter-setting, and what can it learn from these? How has typology been used (or misused) in historical linguistics, and what are some productive areas for testing the predictions made by synchronic typology for language change? How do historical mechanisms of change (grammaticalization, etc) interact with more synchronic causes of cross-linguistic variation? To what extent have grammars been shaped by processing (comprehension or production) mechanisms, and can typology contribute to psycholinguistics in addition to benefiting from it? How exactly can on-line databases such as WALS (the World Atlas of Language Structures), electronic corpora and parsed treebanks from different languages advance the fundamental goals of typology? What is the role of typological distance between languages within an overall theory of bilingualism and second language learning? And can typology have practical real-world benefits by drawing attention to, and clarifying, the contrasts between languages in fields that involve translation and interpreting, within e.g. forensic linguistics, and in language teaching? The instructor has been working, for several decades now, on many of these interfaces and he will share his current thinking on these questions, using selected readings, in an attempt to assess what typology can and cannot contribute, and what it can learn, from these other fields. He will also be joined by some specialist guests for joint lectures, or parts of lectures, during the course.
Advanced Historical Linguistics
Instructors: Brian Joseph, Rich Janda
August Schleicher 1850 called history “that enemy of language”; this course treats linguistic change as a “frenemy” nevertheless requiring optimal strategies and tactics. The overlapping strategic topics include: (1) change-in-progress vs. reconstruction, (2) quantitative vs. qualitative data, (3) the pros vs. cons of uniformitarianism, and (4) use vs. abuse of biological concepts in linguistic diachrony. Among the overlapping tactical issues are: (1) continuity vs. splitting and/or expansion of “the same” generalization, (2) morphosyntactic vs. phonological and even phonetic analogy, (3) phonetic and/or phonological vs. alleged grammatical and/or lexical conditioning of Neogrammarian sound-change, and (4) prudent vs. idolatrous invocations of grammaticalization.
Lexicon in Linguistic Theory
Instructors: James Pustejovsky, Olga Batiukova
Acquisition of Semantics
Instructor: Kristen Syrett
This course is an introduction to child language acquisition (primarily first language acquisition), with special emphasis on semantics (meaning) and pragmatics (language usage). In this course, we will cover evidence revealing how children acquire the meaning of individual words, how they assign interpretations to sentences (which may or may not be ambiguous), and how they recruit information about the discourse context and speakers to assign meaning to utterances. We will cover truth conditional semantics, lexical semantics, and conversational implicatures, and see how a richer understanding of the process of language acquisition comes from investigating language within cognitive science.
Instructors: Elaine Francis, Savithry Namboodiripad
This course examines the use and interpretation of acceptability judgment experiments in syntax, drawing on two major themes: theoretical interpretation and community-based research. Unlike a more typical methods course in experimental syntax, the current course focuses primarily on meta-theoretical issues in interpreting judgment data (Part A) and on adapting judgment tasks to understudied languages and populations in a methodologically robust manner (Part B). Part A and B will be interwoven, and students will gain hands-on experience designing an experiment while reading and discussing relevant theoretical issues.
Locality in Syntax
Instructors: Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine, Hadas Kotek
A key topic in the theory of syntax is that operations apply in limited domains. These involve restrictions on argument selection, agreement, syntactic binding, and movement. This class aims to explore a range of syntactic phenomena, accounts proposed for them, and their theoretical implications, especially in relation to recent minimalist conceptions regarding the design of the language faculty. We concentrate in particular on locality constraints on agreement and movement, presented through the lens of the contemporary probe-goal approach to Agree.
Formal Linguistics and Cognitive Architecture: Integrating generative grammars, cognitive architectures and Bayesian methods
Instructors: Jakub Dotlačil, Adrian Brasoveanu
This course introduces a framework for developing integrated competence-performance theories for natural language syntax and semantics. The framework integrates generative theories, computationally-implemented cognitive models, and Bayesian methods of data analysis and parameter estimation. The main goal of the framework is a theoretical one: it enables us to build evidence-based, mathematically and computationally explicit theories/systems/models of natural language meaning (product) and interpretation (process). The integration proceeds in two parts. First, competence-level generative theories are embedded in performance-level processing theories formulated in the ACT-R cognitive architecture (Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational; Anderson and Lebiere 1998, Lewis and Vasishth 2005, Anderson 2007 a.o.). Second, these integrated competence-performance processing theories become part of a Bayesian model, which can be fitted to experimental data. A detailed introduction to the framework will be available in a monograph (Brasoveanu and Dotlačil, in prep.), which introduces a new Python3 reimplementation of ACT-R (pyactr) and mechanistic processing models of a variety of syntactic and semantic phenomena that can be implemented in it. Our generative grammar + ACT-R + Bayes framework and the mechanistic processing models satisfy the following properties: 1. they are incremental, e.g., proceed in the standard, left-to-right fashion; 2. they model the variety of cognitive processes needed in interpretation: access to and retrieval from declarative memory, syntactic and semantic parsing, i.e., the incremental construction of theoretically-motivated syntactic and semantic representations, visual and motor processes involved in experimental psycholinguistics tasks, etc.; 3. they can be fitted to and tested against performance data obtained with standard experimental methodologies (self-paced reading, eye-tracking while reading etc.). In the course, we show how the framework can make precise quantitative predictions for on-line/real-time and off-line behavioral measures, in particular, lexical decision tasks, reaction times in self-paced reading, fixation durations in eye tracking while reading etc. We also show how it enables us to quantitatively compare different symbolic/qualitative theories, that is, theories that differ in their assumptions about cognitive processes in general, and parsing processes and grammatical representations in particular.
Integrative Models of Morphological Organization
Instructors: Farrell Ackerman, James Blevins
Instructor: Jeffery Heinz
This course teaches foundational concepts in computer science and mathematical linguistics as they apply to phonology. This material is related to rule-based and constraint-based theories of phonology including several varieties of SPE and OT including harmonic grammar. The course has two main foci. First, it will show how a logical analysis allows the expressive power of the theories to be compared. Second, it will show how computational analysis can make significant inroads on problems relating to learning phonological patterns from data.
Instructor: Stefan Th. Gries
This course will introduce basic corpus-linguistic analysis using the open-source programming language R. We will cover basic data handling and programming issues (general as well as corpus-linguistic ones), fundamentals of regular expressions, and we will go over a variety of small applications involving different kinds of raw and annotated data.
Instructor: Judith Degen
Instructor: Emily Morgan
A growing consensus sees language processing, as well as cognition more broadly, as a probabilistic process that follows principles of rational inference. Computational modeling is therefore increasingly necessary to formalize theories of how language is represented and processed. Moreover, advances in computing power, the development of new statistical methods, and the creation of large linguistic datasets are allowing us to apply these models on an increasingly large scale. This course will introduce students to key methods and findings in the study of computational psycholinguistics. The course will cover psycholinguistic phenomena at a variety of levels, from phonemes to morphemes to sentences and discourses. It will introduce students to probabilistic modeling, with a focus on statistical language models and Bayesian inference.
Instructors: Eric Baković, Colin Wilson
Information-Theoretic Approaches to Linguistics
Instructor: Richard Futrell
Information theory is a mathematical framework for analyzing communication systems. This course examines its applications in linguistics, especially corpus linguistics, psycholinguistics, quantitative syntax, and typology. We study natural language as an efficient code for communication. We introduce the information-theoretic model of communication and concepts of entropy, mutual information, efficiency, robustness. Information-theoretic explanations for language universals in terms of efficient coding, including word length, word frequency distributions, and trade-offs of morphological complexity and word order fixedness. Information-theoretic models of language production and comprehension, including the principle of Uniform Information Density, expectation-based models, and noisy-channel models.
Modeling Linguistic Networks
Instructor: Rory Turnbull
Computational Learning Theory
Instructor: Vsevolod Kapatsinski
This course introduces associative/connectionist and Bayesian approaches to learning theory. Learning-theoretic explanations for core phenomena in language acquisition and language change are compared and critically evaluated.
NLP and Digital Humanities
Instructor: Anupam Basu
Language and Cognition
Instructor: Terry Regier
This course will provide students with an overview of the dominant theories of speech perception and the theoretical issues that drive empirical studies, including the fundamental question of whether speech perception differs from other types of auditory processing. Readings, course discussions, and hands-on experience with classic speech perception experiments will guide students through the field’s evolution from an emphasis on psychoacoustics and the acoustic signal to an appreciation for the structured nature of variation and how it informs perception. We will discover together that, while listeners closely attend to the structured variation, individual listeners do so in ways that depend on their linguistic experiences, social expectations, processing style, and more. Listeners are active participants who recruit multiple cognitive resources in achieving malleable, dynamic perception.
The Bilingual Brain
Instructors: Loraine Obler, Eve Higby
African American English
Instructor: John Baugh
This course examines the linguistic consequences of the African slave trade internationally, with primary emphasis on the United States. Linguistic analyses will be paramount, but educational and legal policies will also be included in this class.
Sociolinguistic Field Methods
Instructor: Patricia Cukor-Avila
This course will focus on how field research is conducted in sociolinguistics. The approach to this issue will involve an in-depth investigation of samples of sociolinguistic research in order to study: 1. the methods used to collect sociolinguistic data by investigating various approaches to fieldwork (including random samples, trend surveys, cohort studies, panel surveys, and longitudinal case studies, and ethnographic community studies); 2. the methods used to reduce speech to writing – the transcription of data; 3. the qualitative and quantitative measures used by sociolinguists to analyze data. Students will design and implement a pilot field study project where they will have an opportunity to collect, transcribe, and analyze sociolinguistic their data. Knowledge of basic sociolinguistic theory is recommended but not required.
Digital Methods in Language Documentation
Instructors: Andrea Berez-Kroeker, Colleen Fitzgerald
This course is an introduction to digital methods in language documentation. Topics to be covered include principles of solid data management; audio recording; video recording; ethics; overview of essential software (eg., ELAN, FLEx, SayMore); equipment; preparing data for archiving. The course will be primarily lecture-based, with hands-on opportunities as equipment allows.
Language and Racialization
Instructors: Mary Bucholtz, Anne Charity Hudley
Although race is often viewed within linguistics as simply one social factor among others and is seen as having relevance primarily to sociolinguistics, the discipline of linguistics is in fact saturated with often unacknowledged theories and practices of race and racialization. Given the central importance of race in scholarship and society, this course has three primary goals: (1) to examine the ways in which linguistic theories and racial theories have co-evolved, (2) to investigate the role of race in linguistics and the role of language in racial thinking, and (3) to identify ways in which linguists are in a key position to help with scholarly and societal understandings of race. Some of the questions we will investigate in the class include: What existing racial theories does linguistics draw from either implicitly or explicitly and which ones should we work to further include?How is race operationalized in linguistics and linguistic research? What methods or forms of analysis should we use to best capture the contemporary realities of how race and language intersect? What racial questions are currently being asked in linguistics and does (sub)disciplinary devaluation of certain questions lie along racial lines?How can we address the overresearching of racialized groups and the underresearching of whiteness within linguistics? What can linguistics contribute to the understanding of race in other disciplines? What can linguists learn from other disciplines to contribute to our understanding of race? How can people from underrepresented racial groups be empowered in linguistics? How can linguistics be less racist? There is no linguistic justice without racial justice. As such, this course will have a particular emphasis on creating resources and strategies for supporting anti-racist efforts within linguistics. All course participants are expected to be actively engaged and to undertake constructive critical reflection on their subfield as well as their own subjectivity as linguistic researchers located within a system of racial hierarchy.
Voice Quality and Social Meaning
Instructor: Rob Podesva
Pidgins and Creoles
Instructor: Marlyse Baptista
A thorough overview of theories of creole and pidgin genesis in addition to the study of their properties from a historical and cognitive angles.
Amazonian Languages: Diversity, Typology, Historical Change and Language Contact
Instructors: Martin Kohlberger, Katherine Bolaños
This course will introduce students to one of the most linguistically diverse regions of the world. There are over 300 languages – divided into over 70 families and isolates – currently spoken in Greater Amazonia. The course has four components. First, the diversity of the region will be showcased by exploring each of the major language families, their geographic distribution as well as important grammatical characteristics that languages within those families are known for. This section of the course will also address the challenges of language classification in a part of the world where there is limited access to historical and comparative data. Second, the course will examine important phonological, morphological, syntactic and discursive structures that are common across Amazonia, including polysynthesis. nasality, classifiers, clause chaining, switch reference and evidentiality. These topics will be discussed from a typological perspective, focusing on the special role that the documentation and description of Amazonian languages has played in our broader understanding of these linguistic structures. The third component of the course will be centred around historical change and grammaticalisation. Topics covered will include the diachronic development of tone, striking changes in alignment systems in closely related languages, and typologically rare grammaticalisation pathways. Finally, the course will end with a section about the dynamics of language contact in Amazonia and the profound effect that cross-cultural interaction and multilingualism has had on many languages in the region. An important discussion will revolve around the degree to which certain Amazonian areal features can be linked to local socio-cultural practices and attitudes about language use. By the end of this course, students will not only be familiar with the languages of Amazonia and their typological features but will also understand the valuable contribution that the study of Amazonian languages has had on linguistic theory.
Game-Theoretic Approaches to Sociolinguistic Variation and Change
Instructor: Heather Burnett
Since the late 1990s, the development of mathematical and computational models of language variation and change has yielded enormous advances in our understanding of the cognitive processes that underlie these phenomena. However, although many (if not most) linguistic changes are socially conditioned, formal models have been almost exclusively focused on the grammatical and/or psychological aspects of change, neglecting its social aspects. On the other hand, many non-mathematically oriented approaches in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology have stressed the role that social meaning and identity construction play in language use, and they have developed articulated theories of how meaning and identity mediate the relation between social change and language change. This course explores how we can develop formal models of the social aspects of variation and change by building on recent advances in computational game-theoretic pragmatics. We will see how gametheoretic models, originally developed for the use and interpretation of expressions with truth-conditional meaning, can be used to formalize aspects of influential theories of the use of socially meaningful expressions, such as Eckert’s Third Wave approach to variation. We will also see how tools from formal lexical semantics, such as Gärdenfors’ Conceptual Spaces framework, can be used to formalize aspects of speaker/listener ideologies (beliefs, stereotypes etc.), and how ideological structure can be integrated into the models to analyze patterns of sociolinguistic perception/interpretation. We will then investigate how game-theoretic models of social meaning can be integrated with gametheoretic models of propositional communication in discourse, such as Asher’s Message Exchange games, to capture how speakers’ identity construction goals are related to their broader strategic goals in conversation. Finally, we will explore how extensions of these models within evolutionary game theory can be used to study how social changes, such as social/political movements or globalization, contribute to the actuation and progression of linguistic changes.
Global Ethnolinguistic Conflict: An Internet Encyclopedia Project
Instructors: Stanley Dubinsky, Michael A. Gavin
Linguistic minorities arise through conquest, colonization, immigration, enslavement, or the creation of political states that ignore ethnolinguistic territories, and the creation of linguistic minorities often leads to ethnolinguistic conflict. These conflicts often involve assaults on minority language rights, and while they account for a good portion of global conflict, they tend to attract less attention and be less acknowledged as a “class”, than ideological, religious, environmental, or economically-based conflict. The publication of Language Conflict and Language Rights: Ethnolinguistic Perspectives on Human Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2018) opened the door to the construction of a curated digital source of information about ethnolinguistic conflicts and language rights violations around the world, information not readily available elsewhere. Starting with the few dozen cases presented in the book, this project is a growing source of information on such conflicts worldwide. Conflict cases are geo-located, with information about the state/territory of the conflict, the ethnolinguistic parties to it, its history and linguistic background, and relevant language rights issues. Database filters allow users to compare and contrast conflicts, sorted by conflict type (e.g. indigenous minorities), language family (e.g. Bantu and/or Indo-European languages), or location (e.g. Canada or Burma). Current plans are to grow this resource to include several hundred cases, providing useful information to linguists, political scientists, historians, and legal scholars, as well as to the general public. The course will present a typology of language conflict/rights cases, surveying the historical and linguistic backgrounds for several of these, along with an account of the language rights violations that have played out in each. It will also provide a close examination of the data design and geographical research upon which the digital encyclopedia is based, surveying the editorial and coding protocols used in the construction of the original data entries and in curation of additional cases.
Instructor: Alan Yu
Language in visual modality
Instructor: Carlo Geraci
The aim of the course is to address the significance of sign languages in discovering the properties of human ability for language. The course provides a deep understanding of the main issues of sign language linguistics at various levels. A selection of phenomena that are important for understanding the structure of sign languages and their relation to spoken languages is presented and discussed. At the end of the course, student are expected to be able to know the relevant aspects of SL structure and what makes SLs special with respect to spoken languages.
Battle in the Mind Fields: Rupture and continuity in the mind sciences
Instructor: John Goldsmith
This course will study the nature of intellectual and social rupture and continuity in the development of linguistics since the early 19th century. We will explore the connections between the goals and methods of linguistics and those of psychology, philosophy, and logic during this period.
The Indigenous California Linguistic Landscape
Instructor: Marianne Mithun
California is home to an extraordinarily rich array of indigenous languages. The languages display many typological features unlike those of better-known languages of Europe and Asia, features on which much of linguistic theory was originally based. At the same time, there is also substantial genealogical diversity within the area, with around twenty different families represented. But California has also been the scene of longstanding, intense contact among indigenous communities, going back millennia. It was once thought that the primary material to be transferred in contact situations is vocabulary, but particular social and cultural circumstances have shaped the nature of transfer here, such that now there are extensive semantic and structural parallels across the languages, often with little lexical borrowing, and often deeply embedded in the lexicon and grammar. This course will provide a survey of the languages and their relationships, with an emphasis on typological features of particular interest. For each of these, it will look at the mechanisms by which such features can spread.
The Structure of Tashlhiyt Berber
Instructor: Mohamed Lahrouchi
The course deals with the structure of Tashlhiyt Berber, one of the main varieties spoken in Morocco. It has come to many phonologists’ attention due to its complex syllable structure and its extensive use of consonant clusters, which may result in utterances without any vocalic segment. While working through the phonology and morphology of the language, we will discuss the following topics: (i) the phonemic inventory of the language, (ii) its syllabic structure in comparison to other Berber varieties, (iv) alternatives to syllabic consonants, and (v) root allomorphy at the interface between syntax and phonology (e.g. case marking and definiteness in nouns, glide-high vowel alternations, sibilant harmony, labial dissimilation). We will conclude by discussing several phonological and morphological features that Moroccan Arabic has borrowed from Berber.
Gesture and Sign Language Analysis
Instructors: Corrine Occhino, Ryan Lepic
This methods course provides hands-on experience analyzing multimodal language, particularly co-speech gesture and sign language. In-class discussions explore the topic of “multimodality” as it relates to the practice of doing linguistics. Course assignments target practical matters of multimodal language analysis, including evaluating digital data sources, identifying opportunities for research funding and dissemination, and outlining concrete and manageable projects.
Language in the Law
Instructors: Dieter Stein, Carole Chaski, Victoria Guillen
The Phonology and Grammar of Southern Pomo (peq) Narratives
Instructor: Neil Alexander Walker
This course introduces Southern Pomo morphophonology and morphosyntax through the comprehensive study of an as-yet-unpublished traditional narrative text. Southern Pomo is the most phonologically conservative of the seven Pomoan languages, and it includes breathtakingly baroque phonological alternations unattested elsewhere. This complex phonology is paired with equally rich morphosyntactic complexity, including two interacting case systems: an obligatory agent/patient (roughly fluid-S) system on highly animate NPs, and an optional nominative/accusative system for both highly animate and less-animate NPs. These broader topics of Southern Pomo are explored through the lens of a complete narrative, which allows natural boundaries for which aspects of the language must be covered. This text around which the course is structured was collected by Abraham M. Halpern from Annie Burke. It is the story of two mythical beings who fight after a gambling session gone awry. The text, though short, is perhaps the clearest example of several complex grammatical phenomena, including switch-reference and the two case-marking systems. Special emphasis is placed on typologically interesting phenomena, such as the laryngeal increment system, verb-internal sandhi, instrumental prefixes, directionals, case-marking strategies, and switch-reference. This course provides a holistic introduction to the language and culture of Southern Pomo speakers, and students will be able to read the entire text in the original Southern Pomo by the end of the course.
Linguistics Pedagogy: Theory and Practice
Instructors: Miranda McCarvel, Ann Bunger
The goal of this course is to help linguists become more confident and effective instructors. Students will discuss the theory and practice behind evidence-based teaching strategies and will participate in hands-on activities that will provide them with experience putting those strategies into practice. Students will also create deliverables that show evidence of teaching effectiveness and that can be used to assemble teaching portfolios.
Folk Linguistics and Language Regard
Instructor: Dennis Preston
The systematic study of folk linguistics dates back to at least the 19th Century (Polle, Willems) but was seriously developed in dialectology at least in the mid 20th, especially in The Netherlands and Japan (Grootaers, Mase, Sibata, Weijnen). A late 20th Century ethnographically-oriented revival (Preston, Inoue, Eckert, and others) has now established this mode of enquiry as one commonly attached to general studies of varieties or carried out independently. In this course various goals, methods, and findings are summarized and evaluated, with special regard to the following questions: 1) In what demographic and linguistic ways do people believe speech differs? 2) To what extent and where do the folk definitions and boundaries determined in 1) differ from those discovered by professionals? 3) With what sort of granularity and frequency do people believe speech differs — (i.e., with reference to details or globally) and/or incrementally (e.g., by degree). 4) Which linguistic signals do (and can) people use to identify varieties? 5) Which variant linguistic and demographic facts influence comprehension? 6) What sorts of language regard factors (e.g., social stereotypes, caricatures) accompany and influence any of the answers sought in 1) through 5) above.
Topics in Sociolinguistics and Computer-Mediated Communication
Instructors: Marisa Brook, Emily Blamire
This course examines core concepts from sociolinguistic theory and investigates how they manifest across different forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC). Dialectology, communities of practice, register/style, language change, data collection, and fieldwork ethics are examined through the lens of text messaging, forums, social media, email, and even video/streaming platforms (YouTube, Twitch) to answer questions such as: are there ‘dialects’ associated with different social networks? To what extent does a group that gathers online to play World of Warcraft act like a conventional community of practice? How do we compare Twitter data – where users’ demographic information is not always available – to conventional sociolinguistic studies? The course assumes at least some background in sociolinguistics and is structured around lectures, open-ended discussion, and small course projects.