Fall 2011 Course Schedule
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Monday, 2:00 - 4:00 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Janet Fodor
We will study the process by which perceivers assign syntactic structure and meaning to sentences (word sequences). The aim is to discover how the knowledge of language represented in the mental 'competence grammar' is put to work in performance. We will read the early classic papers on parsing models as background for studying current theories. We will consider sentence processing at the 'interfaces': how is LF computed? How does prosody affect syntactic structure assignment? Data will be drawn from experimental studies of Croatian, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and other languages as well as English
Theories of Articulatory Phonology
Monday, 2:00 -4:00 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Doug Whalen
(Speech and Hearing cross-listed course)
Articulatory Phonology is a theory of the phonological structure of speech that takes the gesture as its main primitive. Phonological distinctions are based on the presence vs. absence of gestures, differences in specifications of the gestures (such as degree of constriction) and the temporal coordination of gestures within a unit. Certain phonological patterns fall out more naturally in this model than in feature-based systems, while the reverse is true for other patterns. This course will explicate and evaluate Articulatory Phonology both on its own terms and in relation to featural accounts. Possible redefinitions of clinical disorders (e.g., misarticulation of segments) in these terms will be explored.
Qualifying Paper I Workshop
Monday, 4:15 - 6:15 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Dianne Bradley
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.
African American Language and Culture
Monday, 4:15 - 6:15 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Arthur Spears
(Anthropology cross-listed course)
This course provides students with a basic understanding of African American English in African American culture and how the study of the language fits into the study of language generally. The emphases will be on grammar and communicative practices and the difference between them and those associated with (1) other U.S. language varieties; and (2) creole languages of the Americas (e.g., Haitian Creole, Jamaican Patwa, and Guyanese Creolese). There will also be analyses of the language with respect to (1) its social, political, and economic contexts; (2) ideologies of dominance; (3) its more prominent speech genres; and (4) its use in educational contexts.
Tuesday, 11:45 - 1:45 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Juliette Blevins
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.
Tuesday, 2:00 - 4:00 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Juliette Blevins
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.
Neurophysiology of Language
Tuesday, 2:00 - 4:00 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Valerie Shafer
(Speech and Hearing cross-listed course)
This course will explore the theoretical views and methodologies applied by different disciplines to the study of the neurophysiology of language. Hypotheses concerning how language is organized and processed in the brain have been generated from linguistic, neurophysiological and neurological theories. Behavioral, neurophysiological, and neuroanatomical evidence will be used to critically examine these hypotheses and theories. The advantages and limitations of methods (e.g., dichotic listening, electrophysiology, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, etc.), and populations (e.g., aphasics, specific language impairment, William's syndrome, etc.) used to understand the neurophysiology of language will also be discussed.
Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics
Tuesday, 4:15 - 6:15 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Dianne Bradley
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.
Spanish in Social Context
Tuesday, 4:15 - 6:15 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Ricardo Otheguy
(Hispanic Luso-Brazilian cross-listed course)
The course will address issues of Spanish as seen from the point of view of the sociolinguistics of language and the sociolinguistics of society (or, as these two approaches are also known, variationist sociolinguistics and the sociology of language). Under the first approach, we will study variable features of Spanish phonology and morphosyntax, as these are conditioned by external factors (personal and socio-demographic) and internal factors (morphosyntactic and communicative). We will also consider some of the classic issues of Latin American and Peninsular dialectology. Under the second approach, we will ask the root sociology-of-language question, that is, who speaks what to whom where and for what purposes, as it applies to Spanish-speaking settings in Latin America, the Peninsula, and the Hispanic communities of the United States. Classes will be conducted in Spanish (but questions can be asked, and will be answered, in English). Some readings will be in Spanish, others in English. Exams and papers are written in Spanish or English, according to the student's choice.
Neurolinguistics in Bilingualism
Wednesday, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 3 credits, Prof. Loraine Obler
(Speech and Hearing cross-listed course)
NOTE: The grading for this class will be Pass/Fail.
After a brief review of the principles of neurolinguistics generally, we turn to the assumptions of what matters in neurolinguistic study of bilingualism (age and manner of acquisition, length of exposure, compound or co-ordinate conditions). We then review the findings across case studies of bilingual organization in the brain via aphasiological reports and series, and the conflicting lateral-dominance discussions of the 1970s. In the second two-thirds of the class, we read the imaging literature of the past two decades, treating more current issues of differential processing and organization of bilinguals' languageas they link to the brain in bilingual adults. Populations studied will include professional interpreters and talented second-language learners.
Second Language Acquisition Seminar
Wednesday 2:00 - 4:00 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Gita Martohardjono
See course schedule here and the reading list here.
Modern Linguistics Theories
Wednesday, 4:15 - 6:15 PM 3 credits, Profs. Ricardo Otheguy and Marcel den Dikken
Modern Linguistic Theories starts out by tracing the main concepts and problems of modern theoretical linguistics to its historical ancestors, sketching the development of linguistics through the centuries, and subsequently juxtaposes a variety of generative and non-generative theories of linguistic analysis. Attention will be paid to (i) the development and state-ofthe-art of mainstream generative linguistic theory and its offshoots (including Principles-and-Parameters Theory, Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar, Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar, Lexical Functional Grammar, Relational Grammar, Tree Adjoining Grammar, Categorial Grammar), up to and including the most recent incarnations of the generative model (the Minimalist Program, Optimality Theory); (ii) Cognitive Grammar; (iii) Construction Grammar; (iv) functionalist approaches (including West Coast functionalism and the Neo-Saussurean approach of the Columbia School); and (v) variationist sociolinguistics. Wherever applicable, the discussion will address empirical problem sets from the domains of phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. The emphasis throughout will be on a combination of familiarization and critical assessment.
Language and Citizenship in National and Transnational Contexts
Wednesday, 4:15 - 6:15 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Jose del Valle
(Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian cross-listed course. The course will be conducted in Spanish but students are free to speak and write in English)
In this seminar, we examine the politics of language representation in the Spanish-speaking world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the various nation-building processes undertaken by Spain's former colonies, in Spain's own efforts to develop as a homogeneous modern nation, and in the tensions generated by divergent conceptualizations of a transatlantic Spanish-speaking community, we often find language taking center stage either as a tool or as an object of political action. We will review the nature and implications of policies that aimed at the construction of culturally and linguistically homogeneous communities – both national and transnational – as well as metalinguistic discourses in which questions of citizenship and cultural autonomy – again, in national and transnational dimensions – were being worked out. We will analyze Andrés Bello's Gramática castellana, the orthographic controversies in Chile, Spain's officialization of the Royal Spanish Academy's orthography, the creation of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, the polemic between Juan Valera and Rufino José Cuervo over the fragmentation of Spanish and the unity of the cultural field, Pedro Henríquez Ureña's racialization of Dominican Spanish, the debates surrounding "el idioma nacional de los argentinos" and the constitution of a national literature, the scholarly treatment of Spanish by the Madrid School of Spanish philology, and more recent policies aimed at affirming a pan-Hispanic community. The theoretical backdrop will be provided by discussions of classical (Haugen, Fishman) and critical (Canagarajah, Crowley, Milroy/Milroy, Parakrana) theories of language standardization, of both historiographical and anthropological approaches to linguistic ideologies (Joseph/Taylor, Schieffelin/Woolard/Kroskrity, Kroskrity), and of treatments of language, citizenship and modern subjectivity in Latin America (Julio Ramos, González Stephan, Narvaja de Arnoux). Students will write two-page reaction papers on a bi-weekly basis, do an in-class presentation of an assigned article, and take mid-term and final take-home exams.
Wednesday, 6:30 - 8:30 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Marcel den Dikken
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.
Statistics for Linguistics Research & Practicum
Thursday, 11:45AM -1:45PM (lect.) 2pm-4PM (lab), 4 credits, Prof. Martin Chodorow
This course will present the fundamentals of parametric and non-parametric statistics for analysis of data from research designs commonly used in linguistics. Topics will include analysis of variance, multiple linear regression, logistic regression, and exact tests. Examples will be drawn from research studies in psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, first and second language acquisition, and computational linguistics. The accompanying practicum course will give students an opportunity to use statistical packages such as SPSS, SAS-JMP, and R to analyze data and interpret results.
Text: Field, A. (2009) Discovering Statistics Using SPSS. 3rd Edition. Los Angeles: Sage. ISBN 978-1-84787-907-3. List Price: $79.95
Methods in Computational Linguistics I
Friday, 11:45AM - 1:45PM, 3 credits, Prof. Matt Huenerfauth
(Pre-requisite for Methods II)
This is the first of a two-part course sequence to train students with a linguistics background in the core methodologies of computational linguistics. Successful completion of this two-course sequence will enable students to take graduate-level elective courses in computational linguistics; both courses offered by the Graduate Center's Linguistics Program, as well as courses offered by the Computer Science Program. This course [as the first part--Methods in Computational Linguistics I—of a two-part sequence] will introduce computer programming at a level that will allow students to begin building computer applications that address various computational linguistic tasks. No previous programming experience is required. The programming language we will use is Python. We begin by learning the syntax of Python and how to program generally; we then focus specifically on linguistic applications.
Dissertation Supervision, Level 3 PhD Students Only, 1 credit