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Courses in LSA Linguistics

Linguistics investigates all aspects of spoken and written human language. It is especially concerned with the general principles of language structure, its use and acquisition, with the structure and history of particular languages and groups of languages, with the role of language in human experience, and with the techniques employed in analyzing and describing language. The concentration in Linguistics is intended to provide an understanding of human language and its systematic study, as well as provide the opportunity to explore the importance of language in all areas of human life.

The general field of linguistics includes several subfields. Phonetics and phonology are especially concerned with the sounds of speech. Phonetics emphasizes the physical characteristics of speech sounds, and phonology deals with the way in which speech sounds are organized in languages. Syntax examines the way in which smaller units of language, such as words, are organized into the complex structure of phrases and sentences. Semantics seeks to understand how the forms of language are used to express meaning. Historical and comparative linguistics is concerned with the ways in which languages change through time, with the variations in language from place to place, and with the possible relationship among languages. Historical linguistics also includes the study of the history of specific languages and language groups, and the reconstruction of pre-historic languages.

In addition to these subfields of linguistics, several other sub-disciplines relate linguistics to other fields of study. Psycholinguistics treats language in its psychological aspects and is especially concerned with the ways in which cultural patterns and values relate to language structure, use, and change. Sociolinguistics deals with the interrelationship of language and society and with the covariation of language and social form. Computational linguistics is concerned with the utilization of computational techniques in the analysis of language.

Some areas in which the findings of linguistics have found application include: translation, the design and documentation of computer software, language and national policy, speech pathology and speech therapy, the development of writing systems for previously unwritten languages, the teaching of first language skills such as reading and writing, and the teaching of second languages.

Pre-concentration courses in Linguistics.

The Department of Linguistics offers a series of pre-concentration courses designed to meet the needs of students with broad interests in language-related issues as well as those of students with more focused interests in the study of language. The department has four general introductory courses: Introduction to Language (LING 111), Language and Human Mind (LING 209), Introduction to Linguistic Analysis (LING 210), and Introduction to Symbolic Analysis of Language (LING 212). LING 111 surveys the field of Linguistics, including the core areas and other major subfields as well; LING 209/PSYCH 242 introduces students to the “cognitive revolution” in connection with the study of language. LING 210 and 212 introduce students to the methods of linguistic analysis. These courses prepare students for upper-level linguistics courses.

Program in American Sign Language.

The Department of Linguistics offers a 5-course sequence in American Sign Language. Introduction to Deaf Culture (LING 140) serves as a pre- or co-requisite to the beginning language courses. The four-term sequence of language courses (LING 150, 151, 250, 251) may be used to meet the undergraduate language requirement of the College of Literature, Science, and Arts. www.lsa.umich.edu/lingusitics/undergraduate/aslprogram

Cognitive Science (COGSCI)
COGSCI 200. Introduction to Cognitive Science
PSYCH 112, or one of LING 111, LING 209, or LING 210. (4). (ID). (BS). May not be repeated for credit.

The goal of this course is to provide an integrated overview of the some of the major approaches to understanding the mind and brain - approaches that together constitute contemporary cognitive science. The problems associated with understanding how and why our minds work the way they do are some of the deepest and most complex facing science, and no single discipline can lay claim to privileged status when it comes to making progress. Indeed, much of the recent excitement in the field has come from approaches that draw on the ideas and methods of multiple disciplines. In this course we'll get a taste of some of that excitement.

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