Undergraduate Course Offerings

Below you'll find a complete list of undergraduate course offerings. You can also find a list of courses offered during the current school year.

LIGN 3

Language as a Social & Cultural Phenomenon

  • Introduction to the study of language: language variation, change, and loss; multilingualism, pidginization, and creolization; language planning, standardization, and prescriptivism; writing systems; the role of language in thought, myth, ritual, advertising, politics, and the law.
    • With 2 of LIGN 4, 7, and 8: satisfies Muir Social Sciences Requirement. Counts towards Sixth College breadth requirement.

LIGN 4

Language as a Cognitive System

  • Introduction to the study of language: differences between animal communication, sign systems, and human language; origins and evolution of language; neural basis of language; language acquisition in children and adults; fundamental issues in language and cognition.
    • With 2 of LIGN 3, 7, and 8: satisfies Muir Social Sciences Requirement. Counts towards Sixth College breadth requirement.

LIGN 5

Linguistics of Invented Languages

  • Introduction to the study of language through the investigation of invented languages, whether conscious (Elvish, Klingon, Esperanto) or unconscious (creoles, twin/sibling languages). Students will participate in the invention of a language fragment. Topics discussed include language structure, history, culture, and writing systems.

LIGN 7

Sign Language & Its Culture

  • Deaf history since the eighteenth century. The structure of American Sign Language and comparison with oral languages. ASL poetry and narrative and Deaf people's system of cultural knowledge. Basic questions concerning the nature of language and its relation to culture.
    • Satisfies: Muir cultural diversity requirement, Revelle American cultures requirement, Warren cultural diversity requirement. Counts toward Sixth College breadth requirement, Marshall disciplinary breadth requirement, ERC regional specialization requirement. With 2 of LIGN 3, 4, and 8: satisfies Muir Social Sciences Requirement.

LIGN 8

Languages and Cultures of America

  • Language in American culture and society. Standard and non-standard English in school, media, pop-culture, politics; bilingualism and education; cultural perception of language issues over time; languages and cultures in the 'melting pot', including Native American, Hispanic, African-American, Deaf.
    • Satisfies: Muir College cultural diversity requirement, Revelle College American Culture requirement, Warren cultural diversity requirement and the campuswide DEI requirement. Counts toward Marshall College disciplinary breadth requirement and Sixth College breadth requirements.

LIGN 17

Making and Breaking Codes

  • A rigorous analysis of symbolic systems and their interpretations. Students will learn to encode and decode information using progressively more sophisticated methods; topics covered include ancient and modern phonetic writing systems, hieroglyphics, computer languages, and ciphers (secret codes).
    • Satisfies Marshall College computational skills requirement, Roosevelt and Warren College formal skills requirement and lower-division formal skills requirement for HDP majors. Satisfies  Sixth College Structured Reasoning requirement.

LIGN 101

Introduction to the Study of Language

  • Language is what makes us human, but how does it work? This course focuses on speech sounds and sound patterns, how words are formed, organized into sentences, and understood, how language changes, and how it is learned.
    • Required for all majors. Serves as prerequisite for most Linguistics General courses. Satisfies psychological foundation requirement for HDP majors. Counts towards Sixth College breadth requirements.

LIGN 105

Law & Language

  • The interpretation of language in understanding the law: 1) the language of courtroom interaction (hearsay, jury instructions); 2) written legal language (contracts, ambiguity, legal fictions); 3) language-based issues in the law (First Amendment, libel and slander).
    • Elective for majors. May be used as an elective course for the minor in Law & Society. Counts towards Sixth College breadth requirements.

LIGN 108

Languages of Africa

  • Africa is home to an astonishing variety of languages. This course investigates the characteristics of the major language families as well as population movements and language contact, and how governments attempt to regulate language use.
    • Elective for majors.

LIGN 110

Phonetics

  • The study of sounds that are used in human languages. How speech sounds are physically produced; acoustics of speech; speech perception; practical training in phonetic transcription and in interpreting visual representations of the acoustic signal. The class covers both English and its dialects and languages other than English.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101, concurrent enrollment in LIGN 101, or consent of instructor.

LIGN 111

Phonology I

  • Why does one language sound different from another? This course analyzes how languages organize sounds into different patterns, how those sounds interact, and how they fit into larger units, such as syllables. Focus on a wide variety of languages and problem-solving.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 110. Required for all majors.

LIGN 112

Speech Sounds and Speech Disorders

  • How do we measure differences in the way sounds are produced and perceived? This course focuses on measuring and analyzing the acoustic and auditory properties of sounds as they accur in non-pathological and pathological speech.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 110.

LIGN 119/EDS 119

First and Second Language Learning: From Childhood through Adolescence

  • An examination of how human language learning ability develops and changes over the first two decades of life, including discussion of factors that may affect this ability.

LIGN 120

Morphology

  • How do some languages express with one word complex meanings that English needs several words to express? Discovery of underlying principles of word formation through problem solving and analysis of data from a wide variety of languages.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101 or consent of instructor. Required for majors.

LIGN 121

Syntax I

  • What universal principles determine how words combine into phrases and sentences? Introduction to research methods and results. Emphasis on how argumentation in problem-solving can be used in the development of theories of language.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101. Required for majors.

LIGN 130

Semantics

  • Introduction to the formal study of meaning. The meanings of words and phrases have an intricate internal structure that is both logical and intuitive. How, precisely, do words mean what they do in isolation and in context?
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101. Required for majors.

LIGN 141

Language Structures

  • Detailed investigation of the structure of one or more languages.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101. Elective for majors. May be repeated for credit as topics vary. Particularly recommended for Language Studies majors.

LIGN 143

The Structure of Spanish

  • Surveys aspects of Spanish phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax. Topics include dialect differences between Latin American and Peninsular Spanish (both from a historical and contemporary viewpoint), gender classes, verbal morphology, and clause structure.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101. Elective for majors. Required for Language Studies majors with a concentration in Spanish.

LIGN 144

Discourse Analysis: American Sign Language Poetry and Performing Arts

  • A discourse-centered examination of ASL verbal arts: rhyme, meter, rhythm, handedness, non-manual signals and spatial mapping; creation of scene and mood; properties of character, dialogue, narration and voice; cultural tropes; poetic constructions in everyday genres; transcription, body memory and performance.
    • Prerequisite: LISL 1C/1CX or consent of instructor.

LIGN 145

Pidgins and Creoles

  • Pidgin and creole languages provide important insights into the processes arising from natural language contact. Origins of pidgins and creoles; detailed description of salient aspects of their structure; relevance of pidgins and creoles for theories of syntax, morphology, language acquisition.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101. Elective for majors. May be used towards Sixth College breadth requirements. May be used towards the language and ethnicity requirement in the Ethnic Studies major (see Ethnic Studies Dept. for details).

LIGN 146

Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities

  • An examination of sociolinguistic research on Deaf communities throughout the world, including:sociohistorical contexts for phonological, lexical and syntactic variation, contact between languages, multilingualism, language policies and planning, second language learning, language attitudes and discourse analysis of specific social contexts. Course will be conducted in ASL.
    • Prerequisite: LISL 1C/1CX or consent of instructor.

LIGN 148

Psycholinguistics of Sign Language


The study of how sign languages are structured, and how they are understood and produced by adults.  Topics include the contrast between gesture and language, sign language acquisition, brain processing, sociolinguistics, and the role of sign language in reading.

    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101 or LISL 1CX or consent of instructor.

LIGN 150

Historical Linguistics

  • Language is constantly changing. This course investigates the nature of language change, how to determine a language's history, its relationship to other languages, and the search for common ancestors or 'proto-language'. 
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101. Elective for majors.

LIGN 155

Evolution of Language

  • History of thought on language origins, genetic, neural, anatomical, and gestural theories of language evolution in relation to prior hominid and other species, the role of generational differences in language acquisition, and computatioal models.
    • Upper-division standing of consent of instructor. Elective for majors.

LIGN 160

Pragmatics

  • n introduction to the context-dependent aspects of language meaning. Topics include given versus new information, Gricean maxims and rules of conversation, presupposition, implicature, reference and cognitive status, discourse coherence and structure, and speech acts.
    • Prerequisites: LIGN 101 or consent of instructor.

LIGN 165

Computational Linguistics

  • An introduction to the fundamental concepts of computational linguistics, in which we study natural language syntax and semantics from an interpretation perspective, describe methods for programming computer systems to perform such interpretation, and survey applications of computational linguistics technology.
    • Recommended for majors interested in computational applications of linguistics.

LIGN 170

Psycholinguistics

  • The study of models of language and of language acquisition from the point of view of modern linguistics and psychology. Basic experimental method as applied to language.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101 or upper-division standing or consent of instructor. Particularly recommended for Cognition & Language majors.

LIGN 171

Child Language Acquisition

  • A central cognitive, developmental mystery is how children learn their first language. Overview of research in the learning of sound systems, word forms and word meanings, and word combinations. Exploration of the relation between cognitive and language development.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101 or upper-division standing or consent of instructor. Particularly recommended for Cognition & Language majors. Satisfies psychological development requirement for HDP majors.

LIGN 174

Gender and Language in Society

  • This course examines how language contributes to the social construction of gender identities, and how gender impacts language use and ideologies. Topics include the ways language and gender interact across the life span, within ethnolinguistic minority communities in the US, across sexual orientations and cultures.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101, or upper-division standing, or consent of instructor. Cross-listed with Sociology (SOCB 118A). Satisfies Socio-Cultural development requirement for HDP majors. Counts towards Warren College Cultural Diversity requirement.  Counts towards Sixth College breadth requirements. May be used towards the language and ethnicity requirement in the Ethnic Studies major (see Ethnic Studies Dept. for details).

LIGN 175

Sociolinguistics

  • The study of language in its social context, with emphasis on the different types of linguistic variation and the principles underlying them. Dialects, registers, gender-based linguistic differences, multilingualism, pidginization and creolization, factors influencing linguistic choice, formal models of variation; emphasis is given both to socially determined differences within the US and US ethnic groups and to cross-cultural differences in language use and variation.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101, or upper-division standing, or consent of instructor. Particularly recommended for Language & Society majors. Counts towards Sixth College breadth requirements. May be used towards the language and ethnicity requirement in the Ethnic Studies major (see Ethnic Studies Dept. for details).

LIGN 176

Language of Politics and Advertising

  • How can we explain the difference between what is literally said versus what is actually conveyed in the language of law, politics, and advertising? How people's ordinary command of language and their reasoning skills are used to manipulate them.
    • Particularly recommended for Cognition & Language majors or Language & Society majors.

LIGN 177

Multilingualism

  • Official and minority languages, pidgins and creoles, language planning, bilingual education and literacy, code switching, and language attrition. 
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101 or upper-division standing of consent of instructor. Particularly recommended for Language Studies majors or Language & Society majors. Satisfies psychological development requirement for HDP majors. Counts towards Warren College Cultural Diversity requirement. Counts towards Sixth College breadth requirements. May be used towards the language and ethnicity requirement in the Ethnic Studies major (see Ethnic Studies Dept. for details).

LIGN 179

Second Language Acquisition Research

  • Topics in second language acquisition including the critical period, the processing and neural representation of language in bilinguals, theories of second language acquisition and creolization, exceptional language learners, and parallels with first language acquisition.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101. Particularly recommended for Cognition & Language majors. Satisfies psychological development requirement for HDP majors.

LIGN 180

Language Representation in the Brain

  • The mind/body problem, modularity, basic neuroanatomy, cerebral lateralization, re-evaluation of classical language areas, aphasia, dyslexia, the KE family and FOXP2 gene, mirror neurons, sign language, brain development, cortical plasticity, and localization studies of language processing (electrical stimulation, MEG, fMRI, and PET). Student may not receive credit for both LIGN 172 and LIGN 180.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101 or upper-division standing or consent of instructor. Particularly recommended for Cognition & Language majors.

LIGN 181

Language Processing in the Brain

  • Modularity and models of language processing, basic neurophysiology, EEG/MEG, linguistic event-related brain potentials (ERPs), cross-linguistic functional significance of ERP components and their MEG correlates: N400, N400-700, lexical processing negativity, slow anterior negative potentials, (early) left anterior negativity, and late positivity.
    • Prerequisite: LIGN 101 or upper-division standing or consent of instructor. Particularly recommended for Cognition & Language majors.

LIGN 195

Apprentice Teaching

  • Students lead a class section of a lower-division linguistics course. They also attend a weekly meeting on teaching methods.
    • Prerequisites: consent of instructor, advanced standing. Does not count toward minor or major. May be repeated for credit, up to a maximum of 4 units (P/NP only).

LIGN 197

Linguistics Internship

  • The student will undertake a program of practical research in a supervised work environment. Topics to be researched may vary, but in each case the course will provide skills for carrying out these studies.
    • Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

LIGN 199

Independent Study in Linguistics

  • The student undertakes a program of research or advanced reading in linguistics under the supervision of a faculty member of the Department of Linguistics.
    • Prerequisite: consent of instructor. May be repeated for credit (P/NP only).

LIGN 199H

Honors Independent Study in Linguistics

  • The student undertakes a program of research and advanced reading in linguistics under the supervision of a faculty member in the Department of Linguistics.
    • Prerequisite: Admission to Honors Program. (P/NP only.)

Inquiries about language classes should be directed to the Language Program advisors .

Inquiries about the Linguistics Undergraduate Program (specific questions about classes, plans of study, graduate school options, and EAP/OAP class approval) should be directed to the Undergraduate Advisors.