Fall 2010 Course Schedule
LING82100: Qualifying Paper I Workshop
Prof. Dianne Bradley, Mondays 4:15-6:15pm, room 5382
Students contemplating an enrollment in the first qualifying paper (QP1) workshop are advised to review guidelines for the paper they must write to fulfill the "First Examination" requirement of the PhD Program in Linguistics. See those guidelines at: http://web.gc.cuny.edu/Linguistics/academics/firstexam.html
The purpose of the workshop is to enhance students' research, argumentation and writing skills. It is offered in the fall semester, and is normally open only to those students who anticipate submitting their QP1 within the academic year. Before the fall semester begins, any such student must have secured the participation of two advisors, settled on a topic, and had an abstract approved describing and (where appropriate) illustrating that topic. Note that abstracts are due on February 1st for December 15th final submissions, and on July 1st for May 15th final submissions.
There is no pre-established syllabus for the workshop. Students work collaboratively to devise programs of consultation appropriate to their aims and needs, taking into account the availability of their advisors and of other sources providing information, technical assistance and commentary. They identify published papers to serve as models for their QPs, and increase their skills in searching and exploiting literature and research databases of various kinds. They support each other in negotiating the administrative hurdles that are often part of the research experience, e.g., Institutional Research Board (IRB) approval for research with human subjects. They learn to critique their own arguments and their own writing, and also that of fellow students, providing feedback for each other at all stages in the development of papers from preliminary ideas to more mature drafts. Class participation is essential!
Please come to the workshop's first meeting with your approved abstract ready to distribute to fellow students. Be prepared, also, to report how far your planning or writing has progressed, and to identify the kinds of assistance you might need or can offer to others, throughout the semester. Above all, be ready to begin thinking and talking about your QP, however preliminary your ideas or how sketchy your written drafts might be.
LING79100: Introduction to Linguistic Typology
Prof. Juliette Blevins, Tuesdays, 11:45am-1:45pm, room 5417
Linguistic typology involves the cataloguing and classification of significant linguistic patterns, regularities, and contrasts, often involving families of related languages and areal clusters of geographically close languages. A central component of typology is to classify the nature and degree of linguistic diversity, and to assess proposed universals in light of this diversity. An additional goal of typological studies is to evaluate linguistic features that may cluster together, or conversely, show strong dissociative effects.
In this course, we explore typology in order to determine a set of basic facts that linguistic theories should ideally account for. The course will begin with an overview of the world's languages and major language families, where they are spoken, and some of the more notable linguistic characteristics associated with particular language families and geographical areas. After this, we turn to a detailed investigation of typology in each of the major grammatical components, starting with phonetics and phonology, then moving to morphology, and finishing with syntax and semantics.
The basic text will be Whaley (1997), Introduction to Typology: The Unity and Diversity of Language, with a handful of articles as additional assigned reading. The course will introduce students to a range of typological databases, including WALS (The World Atlas of Linguistic Structures), and will make use of resources collected at the Association of Linguistic Typology website. There will be two in-class exams: a mid-term and a final, both assessing understanding of readings and lecture material.
LING71400: Phonology II
Prof. Juliette Blevins, Tuesdays, 2pm-4pm, room C415A. Practicum will be held in room 5383 Fridays 4:15-6:15pm)
This course continues the study of sound patterns presented in Phonology I, with an emphasis on explanation. Why do certain sound patterns recur again and again in the world’s languages while others are extremely rare? What sound patterns are best explained in terms of articulatory properties of speech, and which are best viewed as a consequence of aspects of human speech perception? What phonological universals have been proposed and what is their current status? What sound patterns can be analyzed as as emergent properties of linguistic systems?
The basic text will be Blevins (2004) Evolutionary Phonology (Cambridge University Press), continued use of Kenstowicz (1994) Phonology in Generative Grammar (Blackwell), and a handful of articles as additional assigned reading. Requirements include weekly readings, homework assignments, and participation in class discussion. There will be two in-class exams: a mid-term and a final, both assessing understanding of readings, homework, and lecture material. A prerequisite for this course is Phonology I, or permission of the instructor.
LING70100: Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics
Profs. Robert Fiengo and Dianne Bradley, Tuesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm, room 6421. Practicum will be held Fridays, 4:15-6:15pm, room 6421
An introduction to the intellectual foundations, methodologies, and motivations of linguistics. What kinds of questions do linguists ask? What do some of the answers look like? And why?
The course will cover fundamental concepts in the core areas of linguistics, i.e., phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. Their role in fields such as first and second language acquisition, sentence processing, language change, sociolinguistics and pragmatics, may be explored depending on faculty specialization.
A substantial component of the course will be the discussion and demonstration of analytical techniques used in contemporary linguistics and applied to problem sets. A practicum will be attached to this course, taught by graduate student assistants.
LING79200: Fundamental of Spanish Linguistics
Prof. Ricardo Otheguy, Tuesdays, 4:15-6:15pm, room 5382
A doctoral-level introductory course on the basic problems of Spanish structure, with an emphasis on phonology and morphosyntax; on the nexus of structure with social and geographic factors; and on the fundamentals of Spanish structural variation and change. Classes are conducted in Spanish, so a good passive knowledge of Spanish is required. Some readings are in Spanish, others in English. Papers, exams, and questions from students in class, can be in Spanish or English, depending on the student’s preference. Open to doctoral students in Linguistics or Spanish Linguistics. Master’s students in Linguistics are welcome but should bear in mind that this is a Ph.D. level course.
LING79400: Introduction to Anthropological Linguistics
Prof. Miki Makihara, Wednesdays, 11:45am-1:45pm, room 6421
Language is one of the most important resources in the conduct of our social life. Linguistic behavior is the central focus of many social settings, and it is also on linguistic evidence that we base many of our evaluations of the world around us. Yet attitudes toward language and how we use language are highly dependent on social and cultural factors, which also influence how and why language changes. This course is an introduction to linguistic anthropology (the study of the relationship between language and culture and of the use of languages in socio-cultural context). We will examine the nature of language, its role in our social life, and linguistic and anthropological theory and methodology through reading ethnographic and sociolinguistic case studies and discourse analyses. Topics examined include: linguistic and communicative competence, linguistic structure and use, language universals, linguistic relativity, language acquisition and socialization, verbal politeness, the relationship between language change and variation, gender, ethnicity and nationalism, language and political economy, bilingualism, and linguistic ideology.
LING86100: Second Language Acquisition Seminar
Prof. Gita Martohardjono, Wednesdays, 2pm-4pm, room 3209
Course description will be posted soon.
LING79600: Advances in Neurolinguistics: Studies in Speech and Language
Profs. Loraine Obler and Valerie Shafer, Wednesdays, 2pm-4pm, room 7102
The purpose of this class is to discuss the interaction between questions, and methods used to study them, in the field of neurolinguistics. After an opening lecture reminding us of the 19th century neuropathological-clinical aphasiological approach to the area, we will read and discuss 20th-century topics such as lateral dominance for language, studied via split-brain, Wada testing, early EEG, tachistoscopic and dichotic techniques. Structural anatomical techniques like CT scan and MRI permit addressing questions about language architecture in typical compared to special populations (e.g., people with dyslexia, children with Specific Language Impairment). Electrophysiological techniques (ERP, MEG) permit focus on temporal aspects of the brain’s processing of language. Spatial activation has been studied via cortical stimulation and by fMRI and PET. In the final weeks of class, we turn to 21st-century studies that incorporate multiple techniques to garner converging evidence on how language is organized in the brain.
Requirements: Weekly class readings, participation in class discussions of them, PowerPoint presentations on techniques we read about, a final paper instead of a final exam.
LING81500: Advanced Syntax
Prof. Marcel den Dikken, Wednesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm, room 6496
This course looks at the syntax of the complex noun phrase as well as issues in the syntax of information structure. The two topics are related in interesting and potentially very revealing ways: only certain types of noun phrases are eligible for particular information-structural functions (topic, focus), with some noun phrase types behaving differently in the syntax depending on whether they have a topic or focus function in the discourse; and the question of whether topicalisation and focalisation are available within the confines of the complex noun phrase is a matter of some controversy in the literature. The internal structure of the complex noun phrase is similar in a variety of ways to the structure of the clause; understanding the extent of the parallels and the locus of mismatches between the two will likely enhance our knowledge of the syntax of both clauses and complex noun phrases. (To give just one example of the kinds of questions that present them¬selves in the context of the seminar, consider the fact that although noun phrases allow wh-elements in their left periphery (whose mother), it appears to be systematically impossible to perform wh-movement into the left periphery of the noun phrase, in stark contrast to what we find in clauses: thus, *who (the/their) claim that Bill killed contrasts with who did they claim that Bill killed, while the(ir) claim that Bill killed WHO and they claimed that Bill killed WHO are both grammatical as echoes.) The seminar will review the literature on the structure of the noun phrase, including possessed, modified, and relativised noun phrases, and it will survey the relationship between syntax and information structure, both at the clausal level and at the level of the complex noun phrase. A wide variety of empirical data, from several languages, will be reviewed. Stu-dents are encouraged to bring in their own problem sets related to the seminar topic for discussion in class.
Each student taking this course for credit will be expected to give a brief in-class presentation on one of the seminal works on the syntax of the noun phrase and/or the syntax of information structure (ideally a combi¬nation of the two), summarising its main claims and critically evaluating them. In addition, at the end of the teaching semester, students are expected to write a two-page conference abstract on a topic of their choos-ing relating to the syntax of the noun phrase and/or the syntax of information structure. The com¬bi¬nat¬ion of the quality ¬of the in-class presentation and the quality of the abstract determines the final grade for the course.
LING72100: Syntax I
Prof. Marcel den Dikken, Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm, room 6496
This course provides an introduction to Principles and Parameters Theory (P&P). A relatively recent development within the framework of Chomsky’s Generative Grammar, P&P intends to account for cross-linguistic syntactic variation by pursuing the idea that a pre-determined set of principles underlies the grammars of all languages; the apparent differences we see among languages are the result of parameter settings. Although we will examine similarities and differences between languages, English (and other European languages) will be a main point of reference in our understanding of the theory. This course will also train the student to "do" syntax and to become proficient at engaging in syntactic argumentation.
LING79300: Variationist Sociolinguistics
Prof. Ricardo Otheguy, Wednesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm, room 6421
The purpose of the course is for students (a) to become familiar with the literature on variable linguistic phenomena, (b) to learn to discuss this literature critically and to evaluate the role of variability within linguistic theory, (c) to understand the effect of social factors on linguistic phenomena, (d) to understand and learn to develop social and linguistic constraint hierarchies for the analysis of variable linguistic phenomena, (e) to learn the basic statistical tools used in variationist research (correlation, anova, multiple regression, and logistic regression) using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, and (f) to design a variationist research project using data from the language of their choice. In preparation for the course, students may want to read Chapter 8 of Ralph Fasold’s The sociolinguistics of language, entitled ‘Linguistic Variation’, as well as some of the papers in J.K. Chambers et al.’s, The handbook of language variation and change, which will be used in the course.
LING72700: First Language Acquisition: Lexical Development
Prof. Sandeep Prasada, Thursdays, 2pm-4pm, room 6417
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.
LING78100: Methods in Computational Linguistics I
Prof. Andrew Rosenberg, Fridays, 11:45am-1:45pm, room 4422. Practicum will be held on Mondays, 2-4pm, room C196.02
Computer learning is one of the core areas of artificial intelligence. Computer learning involving natural (human) language is no exception; most all recent progress in computational linguistics involves some degree of computer-automated learning. Through a series of case studies, this course will introduce students to a wide variety of computational models of natural language acquisition. The studies will be drawn from diverse paradigms including: probabilistic language models, connectionist (neural network) learning, statistical regular and context-free grammar induction, Gold-style learnability, and learning within Chomsky's principles and parameters framework. Although the focus will be on computational models that mirror human language abilities (e.g., models of first language acquisition) we will also touch on topics that are components of popular language engineering tasks (e.g., web page/document clustering).
Discussion topics will include:
Why would a human librarian with complete knowledge of the web (and, of course, natural language) be a better search advisor than a Google keyword search?
How effective can a computational model of language learning be that does nothing more than establish a set of patterns that exist in a large corpus of words?
In the face of ambiguous (and/or noisy) information to what extent would 'guessing' be an effective strategy given a particular language learning task?
To what degree can statistical models of language acquisition supplement or replace an innately endowed language faculty?
Assuming an innately endowed language faculty, what role might statistical learning play in helping to 'trigger' the correct language facts that are exhibited by the language being encountered by the learner?
Prerequisites: Programming skills are not required, although students with programming skills will be expected to implement several of the learning models. Also, although some familiarity with elementary probability theory would be helpful, being comfortable with numbers and with an 'algorithmic approach' is all that is required since the computational methodology necessary to complete the assigned exercises will be covered in lecture.
Requirements: Several short assignments, midterm and a final project
Audience: The course will be of interest to students in linguistics, computer science, developmental psychology and philosophy who are attracted to specific issues in language learnability or in general, the use of computational learning technology in the cognitive sciences.