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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

Linguistics (LING)
LING 102. First Year Seminar (Humanities)
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing. (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.

LING 103. First Year Seminar (Social Science)
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing. (3). (SS). May not be repeated for credit.

LING 105. Honors Seminar in Language and Mind
(3). May not be repeated for credit.

Students will be introduced to inquiry into the nature of mind with particular focus on the Chomskyan Revolution in Linguistic Theory.

LING 111. Introduction to Language
(3). (SS). May not be repeated for credit.

Concerned with the results of linguistics research, this course covers the social, cultural, and communicative aspects of language use and development.

LING 112. Languages of the World
(3). (SS). May not be repeated for credit.

LING 115. Language in a Multicultural World
(3). (SS). May not be repeated for credit.

This course focuses on global multilingualism as an issue in language policy, language planning, and language contact in general, with all its social implications for large as well as small language communities. Some language contacts lead to bloody conflicts in which language is ostensibly the major bone of contention; other languages in contact have enjoyed a peaceful coexistence for hundreds or thousands of years. The course offers no tidy prediction about hostile vs. friendly language contacts, but it does provide an extensive comparative view of both national and local interactions between language and society.

LING 209 / PSYCH 242. Language and Human Mind
(4; 3 in the half-term). (ID). May not be repeated for credit.

This course introduces students to the fascinating "cognitive revolution" in contemporary language study, illuminating the Chomskyan shift away from speech behavior or "languages" as the objects of inquiry to the experimental and theoretical study of the biological/cognitive and mechanisms underlying our unique human capacity for language.

LING 210. Introduction to Linguistic Analysis
(4). (SS). May not be repeated for credit.

LING 272 / ANTHRCUL 272. Language in Society
Primarily for first- and second-year students. (4). (SS). (R&E). May not be repeated for credit.

An introduction to the systematic study of language and of the place of language in society. Origins of language in the species, child language, language and thought, meaning and language and social class.

LING 313. Sound Patterns
LING 111 or 210. (3; 2 in the half-term). (SS). May not be repeated for credit.

LING 315. Introduction to Syntax
LING 111, 209, 210, or 212. (3; 2 in the half-term). May not be repeated for credit.

This course focuses on recognizing linguistic data, organizing that data, and formulating all the logically possible analyses for that data within the framework of different syntactical areas.

LING 316. Aspects of Meaning
LING 111 or 210. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Introduction to various methods that linguistics use in the analysis of linguistic meaning. Topics covered may include formal semantics, lexical semantics, presupposition and entailment, speech acts, or other aspects of the study of meaning in natural language.

LING 317. Language and History
LING 111 or 210. (3; 2 in the half-term). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.

Languages vary and change in order to accommodate the needs of their speakers; language histories overlap with and reflect the political, social and economic histories of speech communities.

LING 340. Introduction to Sociolinguistics
LING 111 or 210. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

This course examines the varied relationships between language use and society along with the major methods and theories that have been devised to explore those relationships. Topics covered include the language contact and change, linguistic diversity and intercultural communication, and the relationship of identity to language use.

LING 341. The Mathematics of Language
One linguistics course. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Can language be described mathematically? Is there any fundamental difference between human languages (English, Swahili, Anishnaabemowin) and computer languages? Or between human languages and logical languages? What gives invented languages (like Sindarin or Klingon) the ring of real languages? Can we build a machine that genuinely speaks English?

LING 342. Perspectives on Bilingualism
LING 111, 210, or 272. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

LING 347 / PSYCH 349. Talking Minds
At least one of: LING 111 or 210, or PSYCH 111, 112, 114, or 115. (3). (BS). May not be repeated for credit.

Human minds are unique in their capacity for language, yet other animals and computers also have communication systems. This course introduces students to theoretical issues in the cognitive processes of language and memory, conversation, and compare "primitive language" in young humans, non-human animals, and computers.

LING 350. Perspectives on Second Language Learning and Second Language Instruction
LING 111 or 210. (3). May not be repeated for credit. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in LING 450.

LING 351 / ELI 351 / PSYCH 344. Second Language Acquisition
LING 111 or 210. (3). (BS). May not be repeated for credit.

This is an introductory course in Second Language Acquisition (SLA). How adults learn, or fail to learn, a second language is a fascinating question. It involves much of what we know about human cognition, psychology, and language. How best to help learners acquire a second language is an equally important educational issue. In addition to all of the factors which play a role in child language acquisition, SLA also involves effects of variation in second language educational, social and usage environments, ages of acquisition, levels of learner cognitive and brain development, motivation, and language transfer.

LING 352 / PSYCH 352. Development of Language and Thought
PSYCH 250. (3). (SS). May not be repeated for credit.

A consideration of the main theoretical positions on the relationships between language and thought with an emphasis on the universal processes underlying language acquisition, environmental influences.

LING 362 / ANTHRCUL 375. Talking and Telling
One course in linguistics, anthropology, or a related field. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Talking and Telling introduces students to the analysis of face-to-face interaction including both the systematic study of conversations as well as telling stories.

LING 367 / ASIAN 367. Languages of Asia
(3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.

This course provides students with an exploration of the history of language and Asian regions, including China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, and Pakistan. It offers a broad perspective on the history and culture of the region, as well as a general introduction to linguistic analysis and methodology.

LING 368 / ASIAN 368. How Different is Chinese?
(3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.

This course investigates and critically analyzes Western writings about the Chinese language from the 16th century to the present.

LING 370 / ANTHRCUL 370. Language and Discrimination: Language as Social Statement
(3). (SS). (R&E). May not be repeated for credit.

This course examines the role of language as social statement and social conflict, particularly with respect to questions of race and ethnicity. It looks at issues concerning language-based discrimination in various public and private contexts and at beliefs about language and language variation.

LING 374 / ANTHRCUL 374. Language and Culture
Sophomore standing. (4). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.

The study of the ways various cultural patterns and values are reflected in language.

LING 375. Language in the Mass Media: Linguistics and Language Variation in the Public Sphere
LING 111 or 210. (3). (ID). May not be repeated for credit.

This course examines language and the representation of linguistic variation across a wide-spectrum of popular culture and mass media, including scripted television, film, music, reality programming, sportscasts, news (print and video), computer-mediated communication, science fiction, and science fiction-based fac communities. We also examine the ways in which language is used to construct and reflect social identities and social group boundaries.

LING 385. Experiential Practice
Permission of instructor. (1 - 6). (EXPERIENTIAL). May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits. Offered mandatory credit/no credit.

LING 386 / EDUC 390 / ELI 390 / RCSSCI 390. Community Service and Language, Education, and Culture
(1 - 3). (EXPERIENTIAL). May be elected three times for credit.

This course offers a service learning experience for undergraduates in the multilingual, multicultural context of the migrant population. The course may vary in terms of the content and target population, e.g. the course may focus on literacy issues, critical pedagogy or cultural identity issues but within the context of linguistic, educational and cultural needs of minority populations.

LING 394. Topics in Linguistics
LING 111 or 210. (3 - 4). May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.

Faculty members offer courses related to their own research to students who have taken the introductory level courses in linguistics but are not advanced enough for 400 or 500 level courses. Topics are announced each term in the course guide.

LING 395. Individual Research
Consent of instructor required. (1 - 4). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits. F, W, Sp, Su.

Adequately prepared students can pursue individual research with a member of the faculty. Individual students should consult with faculty about ongoing projects in which they can participate.

LING 406 / ENGLISH 406. Modern English Grammar
(3). May not be repeated for credit.

This course explores the structure and function of words, phrase, clauses, and sentences in the English language and how they can be interrelated and interconnected in discourse.

LING 408 / ENGLISH 408. Varieties of English
(3). May not be repeated for credit.

This course examines topics such as American English, English as a world language, and dialects in English. It also studies the ways speech reflects our personal views about national and regional origins, race, class, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, and sexual orientation.

LING 412. Speech Perception
LING 313. (Prerequisites enforced at registration.) (3). (BS). May not be repeated for credit.

The course investigates the perceptual processes by which listeners systematically extract linguistic messages from highly variable input acoustic signals. Through hands-on work in the phonetics laboratory, students are also introduced to the relation between experimental design and theory/experimentation in the cross-disciplinary field of speech perception.

LING 418. Linguistic Typology
LING 313 and 315. (Prerequisites enforced at registration.) (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Crosslinguistic comparison has a way of challenging or refuting common theoretical claims about language that are based on English and other European languages. Typology is concerned with broad statistical patterns, such as the relative frequencies of SVO and other word orders, but also with close analysis of extreme languages that push theoretical envelopes. When these outliers are considered, very few universals of linguistic form remain standing. Even the universal existence of syntactic phrases above word level is cast into doubt by radically nonconfigurational languages like Nunggubuyu. It is therefore necessary to test the entire gamut of grammatical categories and processes against crosslinguistic data. Lexical universals are also questionable; for example, some languages systematically lexicalize action verbs at the level of function/result, while others do so at the level of manner/process. Lexical and grammatical systems may also differ in how they relate to speaker/addressee sociolinguistic patterns.

LING 420. Language, Metaphor and Jokes
LING 315 or 316 or equivalent. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

This is a course in lexical semantics, cognitive word grammar (particularly though not exclusively of English), and metaphor. Topics include basic epistemology, semantic fields and ontologies, frames and cognition, the embodied mind, and the nature and analysis of metaphor. Suitable for well-prepared students in linguistics and allied disciplines.

LING 421. Morphology
At least one introductory linguistics course. (3; 2 in the half-term). May not be repeated for credit.

This course is an introduction to morphological theory, the goal of which is to provide a framework within which word structure in all languages can be described.

LING 433 / AAPTIS 433. Arabic Syntax and Semantics
AAPTIS 202 or 205 (completed with a minimum grade of C- or better). (Prerequisites enforced at registration.) (3). May not be repeated for credit.

The course examines generative syntactic theory, especially the notion of principles and parameters, as well as functional, cognitive, and lexical semantic approaches and their relevance of analysis to standard Arabic and at least one Arabic dialect, using as a reference point medieval Arabic grammar.

LING 440. Language Learnability
LING 315. (Prerequisites enforced at registration.) (3). May not be repeated for credit.

This course examines various theory-related questions, goals, and assumptions within the scope of language acquisition. The course objectives are two-fold: (1) to develop familiarity with prominent aspects of language learnability; and (2) to promote discussions and perspectives that stimulate further investigation and insight into language learning theories.

LING 441. Introduction to Computational Linguistics
Linguistics concentrators should take LING 315 and 316 first. (3). (BS). May not be repeated for credit. Rackham credit requires additional work.

This class is a general introduction to computational linguistics. The first part of the course will focus on parsing and semantic interpretation, and on writing "computational" grammars to drive parsers and semantic interpreters. The second part of the course will look at getting useful information, like the information needed to build larger grammars, out of text corpora, as well as other kinds of processing that is typical of computational linguistics. We will learn just enough of the programming language Python in order to get our work done. No prior computational background is assumed.

LING 442. The Anatomy of Natural Language Processing Systems
Computer programming ability. (3). May not be repeated for credit. Rackham credit requires additional work.

Our goal in this course is to obtain an understanding of natural language processing systems by building one. Students will write a parser, extend it to handle feature grammars, and then add semantic interpretation. A back-end automated reasoner will be provided to make a complete language-understanding pipeline. The use of Python to do programming assignments is encouraged but not strictly required.

LING 445. Cognitive Linguistics
LING 315 and 316. (Prerequisites enforced at registration.) (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Cognitive linguistics comprises a basket of related theories that link conceptual representations, subject to perspectival and attentional filters, directly to linguistic utterances. Unlike other models, it denies a meaningful distinction between semantics and pragmatics, and it does not recognize a separate syntax module. Cognitive linguistics is well-designed to connect grammar with discourse, and to model historical change.

LING 446 / LACS 446. Comparative Linguistics
At least one course in Linguistics/language analysis. (3). May not be repeated for credit. Rackham credit requires additional work.

This course introduces students to research on comparative linguistics. It is directed to students interested in the study of different language, or to anyone interested in a more thorough understanding of the common properties among human languages and of the possible variation across the structure.

LING 447 / PSYCH 445. Psychology of Language
PSYCH 240. (Prerequisites enforced at registration.) (3). (BS). May not be repeated for credit.

LING 461 / AMCULT 461 / ANTHRCUL 461 / NATIVEAM 461. Language, Culture, and Society in Native North America
(3). May not be repeated for credit.

This course will explore how Native North American languages are used in relation to the historical circumstances, cultural practices and social settings of their speakers. Of particular concern is the interrelationship between linguistic practice and ideologies that can either promote or discourage the use (and maintenance) of these languages.

LING 473 / ANTHRCUL 473. Ethnopoetics: Cross-Cultural Approaches to Verbal Art
Two courses in anthropology, linguistics, or literature or permission of instructor. (3; 2 in the half-term). May not be repeated for credit.

This course explores relationships between language and social groupings such as "tribe", "ethnic group' and "nation". Are such groupings based on shared language? Through cross-cultural case studies and historical materials, we consider how linguistic similarities and differences unite or divide people, in practice and in ideology.

LING 492. Topics in Linguistics
(3; 2 in the half-term). May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits. May be elected more than once in the same term.

LING 493. Undergraduate Reading
Consent of instructor required. Permission of the concentration advisor. (1 - 3). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.

LING 494. Undergraduate Reading
Consent of instructor required. Permission of the concentration advisor. (1 - 3). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.

LING 495. Senior Honors Reading Course
Consent of instructor required. Permission of concentration advisor. (1 - 3). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit. Continuing Course. Y grade can be reported at end of the first-term to indicate work in progress. At the end of the second term (LING 496), the final grade is posted for both term's elections. F, W, Sp/Su, Sp, Su.

LING 496. Senior Honors Reading Course
Consent of instructor required. LING 495. (1 - 3). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit. F, W, Sp/Su, Su.

Designed for linguists and others in humanities and social this course provides essential programming skills for language processing, including corpus processing (sociolinguistics, language preservation, authorship studies), and computational modeling of parsing (psycholinguistics, computational linguistics).

LING 497. Capstone Seminar
LING 313, 315 and 316. (Prerequisites enforced at registration.) (3). May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.

This capstone course is designed to provide students with a unified experience that brings previous coursework, particularly those required, to bear on a specific topic. Individual topics vary by term, but all integrate the core areas of the discipline.

LING 512. Phonetics
LING 313. (4). May not be repeated for credit. F.

This is an introduction to phonetics (the study of the nature of speech sounds). The course will focus on the description of speech sounds in terms of their articulatory, acoustic and perceptual characteristics and the production and transcription of sounds that occur in languages of the world.

LING 513. Phonology
LING 313. (3; 2 in the half-term). May not be repeated for credit. W.

LING 514. Semantics and Pragmatics
Permission of instructor. (3; 2 in the half-term). May not be repeated for credit. W.

This is an introduction to semantics (literal meaning) and pragmatics (contextual and inferred meaning) with emphasis on applications to grammatical analysis. Specific topics include: (1) ambiguities of structure and of meaning; (2) word meaning and compositionality; and (3) quantification and logical form.

LING 515. Generative Syntax
LING 315 or Permission of Instructor. (3; 2 in the half-term). May not be repeated for credit. F.

In the Generative (or Chomskyan) framework of syntax, sentence structure is viewed as being generated by a formal mathematical system of rules and constraints. Some of these rules and constraints are innate and universal across languages; others are learned or "parametrized".

LING 517 / ANTHRCUL 519 / GERMAN 517. Principles and Methods of Historical Linguistics
Graduate standing, or permission of instructor. (3; 2 in the half-term). May not be repeated for credit.

LING 519. Discourse Analysis
Permission of instructor. (3; 2 in the half-term). May not be repeated for credit.

The study of turn-taking and conversation structure, referent status (topic and focus), information status (given/new, foregrounding); cohesion and coherence in texts, the role of belief systems (knowledge and social status) in text construction.

LING 541 / EECS 595 / SI 561. Natural Language Processing
Senior standing. (Prerequisites enforced at registration.) (3). (BS). May not be repeated for credit. F.

This course is an introduction to computational and linguistic concepts and techniques for modeling and analyzing natural language. Topics include finite-state machines, part of speech tagging, context-free grammars, syntax and parsing, unification grammars and unification-based parsing, language and complexity, semantics, discourse and dialogue modeling, natural language generation, and machine translation.

LING 542 / ANTHRCUL 572. Introduction to Sociolinguistics
LING 411 or graduate standing. (3; 2 in the half-term). May not be repeated for credit.

The class will discuss such relationships between language and society and how they might be studied objectively. We will focus on issues directly affecting a person's everyday life, such as attitudes towards different languages and dialects and historical and social reasons for these attitudes; questions about why different groups of speakers in the same society use language differently and how this difference is evaluated; use of minority languages whose survival seems to be threatened and governments' language policies.

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