Download the (tentative) course schedule in PDF
72800 Introduction to Learnability Theory
Monday 2:00 - 4:00 pm, 3 credits, Prof Fodor
Language learnability theory is concerned with how it is possible, in principle, to learn a human language, given the limited language input that children are exposed to. Issues to be studied include: What kinds of innate knowledge could compensate for this 'poverty of stimulus'? How can a learner parse and understand a novel sentence in order to learn from it? Are some languages harder to learn than others? Are there errors of grammar acquisition that are not correctable? The answers to these questions draw on, and contribute to, formal linguistic research on language universals and cross-language variation.
80100 Research Methods in Second Language Acquisition
Thursday 2:00 - 4:00 pm, 3 credits, Prof DeJong
The goal of this course is to provide students with knowledge of research designs, procedures, and methods for analyses in several areas of second language research. Students learn how to critically evaluate research studies, as well as how to apply research techniques. By conducting a small-scale research study, students gain experience in different facets of SLA research, from formulating the research plan and data collection, to data analysis and presentation of findings. Student presentations and group discussions ensure a broad overview of research and methods in the field. Classes will combine lectures with practical sessions and student presentations.
Topics in second language research that will be covered include vocabulary acquisition, the role of input and output, implicit and explicit learning, and individual differences.
72300 Semantics I
(cross-listed with Ling 738, Semantics I Practicum)
Friday 6:30 - 8:30 pm, 3 credits, Prof McClure
An introduction to Montague semantics, also known as model-theoretic semantics or truth conditional semantics. The course covers some of the philosophical background as well as the intersection of semantics with syntax and pragmatics. Specific topics include: definitions of truth, predicate logic, quantification, and intensionality. The course assumes a bit of syntax but no mathematical or logical background. The text is Meaning and Grammar, 2nd edition (Chierchia and McConnell-Ginet, MIT Press). Students will also be encouraged to look at Logic, Language, and Meaning (L T F Gamut, Chicago Press) as well as other texts. The course is evaluated with a series of assignments during the semester (50%) and a final take-home assignment (50%).
71300 Phonology I
(cross-listed with Ling 736, Phonology I Practicum)
Wednesday 4:15 - 6:15 pm, 3 credits, Prof Bradley
This course, assuming no more than general familiarity with phonological concepts, offers an intensive introduction to the formal apparatus of generative phonology, with an emphasis the development of fluency in analyzing phonological data. The presentation of material in class therefore assumes concurrent registration in the associated practicum (Ling 73600: Phonology Practicum, Monday 6:30-8:30 p.m., 1 credit).
The basics of phonological description and theory -- inventories, distinctive features, natural classes, alternations, levels of representation, rule formulation - are first introduced within the linear framework of classic generative phonology. With these basics in place, we motivate additions to the formalism - feature geometry, underspecification, autosegmental architecture , metrical representation -- in terms of their better capture of common phonological phenomena. Finally, we review an altogether different analytic framework, Optimality Theory.
Kenstowicz, M. (1994). Phonology in Generative Grammar. Cambridge MA: Blackwell.
Roca, I., & Johnson, W. (1999). A Workbook in Phonology. Malden MA: Blackwell.
Although a course in linguistic phonetics is not a prerequisite for the course -- because phonology is not phonetics -- students without prior exposure may benefit from a review of basic notions and terminology. To this end, copies of Chapters 1, 3 and 5 of Roca and Johnson's (1999) "A Course in Phonology" (an undergraduate text) are recommended. See the department's readings cabinet.
Regular homework assignments (phonology problem sets), plus mid-term and final take-home examinations.
72200 Syntax II
(cross-listed with Ling 736, Syntax II Practicum)
Wednesday 6:30 - 8:30 pm, 3 credits, Prof den Dikken
The prerequisite for this course is LING 72100 (Syntax I)
From Principles-and-Parameters Theory to Minimalism
Taking the end-point of Syntax I as a starting-point (and as a prerequisite for registration), this course takes its participants from Chomsky's (1981) original Government-Binding Theory all the way to the most recent incarnation of the principles-and-parameters approach to generative grammar: the minimalist program (Chomsky 1995). Along the way, it addresses, among other things: (i) Lasnik & Saito's (1984) theory of "gamma-marking" and intermediate trace deletion at LF, (ii) Chomsky's (1986-Barriers) densely successive-cyclic derivations for A'-movement via intermediate VP-adjunction, (iii) his unification of the theories of government and bounding, (iv) his analysis of A-movement and its dependency on head-chains, (v) the perspective on the general interdependency of A-movement and head-movement that the "equidistance" based theory of locality in Chomsky (1993) gives rise to, (vi) the general premises of the minimalist program of Chomsky (1993) and Chomsky (1995), (vii) the reduction of the phrase-structure component of the theory ("bare phrase structure"), and (viii) the connection between hierarchical relationships between constituents and their linear sequencing ("antisymmetry"; Kayne 1994).
The course presupposes a solid command of the issues addressed in Syntax I (LING 72100), but no specific knowledge of syntactic theory beyond that point.
The Haegeman (1994) textbook that was used for Syntax I will continue to be used in the first weeks of classes; beyond that point, we will rely primarily on Chomsky (1995), The Minimalist Program (MIT Press) and materials that will be provided in class.
73100 Structure of an Individual Language: Austronesian Languages
Wednesday 4:15 - 6:15 pm, 3 credits, Prof den Dikken
This seminar addresses the comparative morphosyntax of the Austronesian languages, with special emphasis on the languages of the Philippines (including Ilokano and Tagalog) but also with discussion of Malagasy, Chamorro, and possibly (depending on time and interest) Malayan, Kambera, Palauan, Niuean, Fijian, and Rotuman as well. These languages are spoken in a very large geographical area, and show a great deal of variation. But several salient morphosyntactic properties show up in many of these languages. We will study the derivation of the basic (neutral) word order in the clause (VSO is common, but there is no agreement in the literature on Austronesian as to how this word order is syntactically derived) as well as the topicalisation and focalisation strategies exploited to deviate from the neutral order. In this connection, we will also have occasion to address the ways in which AN–dependencies are formed in these languages (with special attention paid to the 'highest subject' restriction on wh-dependencies). We will also look at the syntax of the ergative/ absolutive case systems in the family, their complex agreement systems, and the morphosyntax of voice (active/passive/antipassive, 'trigger' morphology). Apart from the structure of the clause, the course will address the structure of the noun phrase, as well as other topics contributed by the seminar participants.
Participation in the seminar is open to all students with a basic background in syntax (successful completion of Syntax I is a formal requirement; familiarity with the material covered in Syntax II is a pro but not a prerequisite).
There will be no coursebook for this seminar; literature (books and published or unpublished papers) will be made available through the Mina Rees Library and via E-mail.
Students taking the seminar for credit will be expected to actively participate in the discussion in class, to write a conference abstract on a topic of their choosing, and to give an in-class presentation on the topic of their abstract.
A native speaker of Ilokano and Tagalog will be participating in the seminar, allowing students to be actively engaged in fieldwork on these languages. Successful completion of the seminar fulfils one of the foreign-language requirements of the Linguistics Program.
73600 Phonology I Practicum
(cross-listed with Ling 713, Phonology I)
Monday 6:30 - 8:30 pm, 1 credit, Prof Bradley
73600 Syntax II Practicum
(cross-listed with Ling 722, Syntax II)
Thursday 6:30 - 8:30pm, 1 credit, Prof den Dikken
73800 Semantics I Practicum
(cross-listed with Ling 723, Semantics I)
Time TBA, 1 credit, Prof McClure
79100 Introduction to Spanish Phonology
Monday 4:15 - 6:15 pm, 3 credits, Prof Callahan
The course offers in-depth study of the phonological system of Spanish, seen in the context of the major functional approaches to the study of sound systems. Students will learn about the organizational structure of sound in several varieties of Spanish, and will place Spanish phonological patterns in the context of generalizations and constraints on the likely, possible and impossible types of organizations of sound in languages of the world. Phonemic inventories, permissible syllable structures, markedness, and variable processes of assimilation and deletion will receive special attention. Usage-based phonology and its application to Spanish will be one of the main theoretical paradigms that will serve to organize the presentations.
79300 History of the Spanish Language
Wednesday 4:15 - 6:15 pm, 3 credits, Prof. del Valles
This course traces the external and internal history of Spanish (standard and non-standard dialects as well as contact varieties). The historical frame is wide, spanning from the spread of Latin in the Iberian Peninsula to present-day issues associated with the unity and prestige of Spanish throughout the world. One component of the course will outline the traditional description of the language's history as a linear evolution of forms (phonetic, morphological, syntactic) from Latin to Spanish. A second component will present sociolinguistic and cultural phenomena (bilingualism, diglossia, standardization, language death) relevant to the understanding of the emergence of Spanish as a "language" and of its spread throughout the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas.
78100 Computational Linguistics
(cross-listed with CSC84010)
Monday 4:15 - 6:15 pm, 3 credits, Prof Teller
Applications of speech and language processing are found everywhere today. Automated telephone systems, for example, incorporate voice recognition and synthesis. This seminar will explore how computers deal with natural language in such areas as speech recognition, speech generation, and machine translation.
Intended as an introduction to the field, the course will survey a range of methodologies in speech and language processing and will cover the basic components of natural language systems, including the lexicon, syntax and parsing, semantic analysis and representation, discourse processing, and pragmatics.
There will be weekly reading assignments and homework, both written and laboratory. The laboratory component of the course will involve using and experimenting with natural language software. The class format will be lecture and discussion. The course grade will be based on homework, class participation, and a term project that consists of (1) a bibliography, (2) abstracts of relevant literature, (3) a proposal, (4) a class presentation, and (5) a final project report.
The course is open to graduate students with a solid background in either linguistics or computing. Knowledge of both is not required. No programming will be taught, and none is required, although students with programming skills will have the option of doing a programming rather than a research term project.
Required text: Speech and Language Processing, Second Edition
Daniel Jurafsky and James H. Martin
Pearson / Prentice Hall, 2008
79200 Theories of 1st and 2nd Language Speech Perception Development
Tuseday 2:00 - 4:00 pm, 3 credits, Prof Shafer and Prof. Strange
Topics: After a preliminary review of general theories of speech perception (Motor Theory, Auditory Enhancement Theory, Direct Realist Theory, Steven's LAFF Theory), current theories of the development and modification of speech perception processes during first and second language acquisition (Werker's PRIMIR; Kuhl's Native Language Magnet/Neural Commitment model; Best's PAM, Best & Tyler's PAM-L2, Flege's Speech Learning (SLM) Model; Strange's Automatic Selective Perception (ASP) model) will be discussed and seminal behavioral and brain studies that motivated or were motivated by each theoretical position will be reviewed. For a final project, students will propose a study motivated by their own theoretical framework.
83100 Seminar: Psycholinguistics of Bilingualism
Tuesday 4:15 - 6:15 pm, 3 credits, Prof Bradley
This seminar course explores phenomena in bilingualism, bringing together two perspectives. The primary perspective is a psycholinguistic one; i.e., we ask questions about the character of language representations and processing mechanisms in the mind of the adult bilingual speaker/hearer, and about their development in the young bilingual. How is language knowledge organized and accessed to support the behavioral "juggling act" of bilingualism, in which there is ready yet normally selective availability of more than one system of grammatical knowledge? And, since any adequate empirical investigation of linguistic representation and process in the bilingual must crucially be conducted with well-defined populations under situationally appropriate protocols, we also review the classic sociolinguistic literature. That literature raises questions about, e.g., varieties of bilingualism, language choice in different domains, and the analysis of code-switching behavior. This course has no prerequisites, and does not assume that students have a background in cognitive/experimental psychology or psycholinguistics.
72700 First Language Acquisition: Lexical Development
Tuesday 4:15 - 6:15 pm, 3 credits, Prof Prasada
Children acquire new words with astonishing ease and speed. This course will explore theoretical and empirical research pertaining to the mechanisms by which children acquire the meaning of words. Questions to be examined include: Are there special word learning mechanisms? If so, what are some of them? If not, what are the sources of constraint on the acquisition of word meaning? Are the meanings of words from different syntactic categories learned in the same way? How/do morpho-syntactic differences between languages influence the acquisition of word meanings? How do statistical properties of the input impact the course of lexical development? What is the role of parental input? Where do syntax-semantics correspondences in lexical development come from? What kinds of errors do children make in acquiring the meanings of novel words? How do they learn to correct these errors? What are the cognitive resources that the child must bring to the task of learning various different kinds of word meanings?
We will cover research on the acquisition of the meanings of nouns, verbs, adjectives, spatial prepositions, and personal pronouns. Students will be introduced to the methods available for studying lexical development as well as their limitations. Class meetings will include a combination of lecture and seminar style sessions. Students will have the opportunity to do presentations as well as a project/paper on a topic of interest in lexical development.
89900 Independent Research, 1-6 credits
90000 Dissertation Supervision, Level 3 PhD Students Only, 1 credit