Program in Linguistics
Sarah-Jane Leslie (fall/spring)
David M. Bellos, French and Italian, Comparative Literature
Matthew M. Botvinick, Psychology, Princeton Neuroscience Institute
Delia Graff Fara, Philosophy
Denis Feeney, Classics, ex officio
Robert A. Freidin, Council of the Humanities
Adele E. Goldberg, Council of the Humanities
Gilbert H. Harman, Philosophy
Daniel Heller-Roazen, Comparative Literature
Sarah-Jane Leslie, Philosophy
Casey Lew-Williams, Psychology
Gideon A. Rosen, Philosophy
Edwin S. Williams III, Council of the Humanities
Sits with Committee
Christiane D. Fellbaum, Computer Science
Linguistics is the study of the distinctive properties of human language and the cognitive capacities of language users, including the rules that govern the patterns of particular languages and universal principles governing all languages. Linguists investigate the grammatical principles and processes that determine the structure of human languages, their evolution over time, and their psychological underpinnings. The basic areas of study include phonology (the study of the sound patterns of language), morphology (the study of the structure and meaning of words), syntax (the study of the structure of sentences), and semantics (the study of linguistic meaning). In addition to these basic areas, the Program in Linguistics offers courses in historical linguistics, language universals, language acquisition, and psycholinguistics. An understanding of these properties of human language provides a valuable analytic framework for students of language and literature, anthropology, computer science, philosophy, and psychology.
Students with a particular interest in language and linguistics can pursue a certificate in linguistics. Participants satisfy the requirements of their chosen departmental major and develop a complementary course of study in linguistics as outlined below. Students may also apply to the University to be an Independent Concentrator in Linguistics.
The program is open to undergraduates majoring in any department. Students should meet with the program director, usually during the sophomore year, to apply to the program and plan a course of study. Applicants will be accepted on the basis of interest and a coherent academic plan.
The program of study will be approved by the program director. It will include completion of the following requirements:
1. Satisfactory completion of LIN 201/ENG 213, Introduction to Language and Linguistics.
2. Satisfactory completion of four additional courses from the list of linguistics courses and related courses available on the Program in Linguistics website. These four courses must include at least three courses bearing the LIN designation. The program director may approve additional courses on an individual basis.
3. Senior independent work. Ideally some aspect of linguistics will be incorporated into the senior thesis. Other arrangements can be made if this is not practical.
A student who fulfills the requirements of the program with satisfactory standing receives a certificate of proficiency in linguistics upon graduation.
Other Linguistics and Related Courses. Linguistics related courses in other departments and programs may be counted toward certificate completion with the approval of the program director.
LIN 201 Introduction to Language and Linguistics (also ENG 241) Fall, Spring EC
Introduction to the scientific study and analysis of human language. Investigation of the mental representation of human language based on a formal analysis of linguistic structure (form, sound, and meaning)--including historical and social variation and the related issues of the acquisition of language, and the relation between language and the brain. Two lectures, one preceptorial. C. Fellbaum
LIN 208 Origins and Nature of English Vocabulary (see CLA 208)
LIN 212 Human Language: A User's Guide Not offered this year EC
Where does language come from? How do we know that you can't say it that way? And who has the authority to tell you? Why are some sentences better than others? Why do the same words differently organized have different effects? This course is about human language, its nature, use, users, and origin, based primarily on English. Major topics include the structure of sentences, paragraphs, words; language and thought; and the historical and biological origins of language. Two 90-minute classes. Staff
LIN 216 Language, Mind, and Brain (also PSY 216) Not offered this year EC
This course examines the complex mental and neurological processes that underlie linguistic knowledge and behavior. It will be concerned with the precise description and measurement of language activity, with its governing principles, and with available indices for the associated neural computations and their location in the brain. Seminar. Staff
LIN 301 Phonetics and Phonology Fall EC
The analysis of sound patterns of human languages. Examination of articulatory phonetics as incorporated into a system of phonological rules accounting for these patterns. Survey of basic concepts and relations including levels of representation (phonetic versus phonemic), types and ordering of rules, and phonological change. Three classes. Prerequisite: 201 or instructor Staff
LIN 302 Syntax Spring EC
Methods of syntactic analysis of natural language (primarily English, with brief consideration of other languages). Foundations of a theory of generative grammar, covering phrase structure, transformations, and conditions on rules and representations. The general principles of syntactic structure that determine the form and interpretation of sentences are a major focus. Two 90-minute classes. Prerequisite: 201 or instructor's permission. R. Freidin
LIN 303 Linguistic Semantics Spring EC
The central issues and leading theories of linguistic semantics for natural languages. Analyses of specific linguistic phenomena will be used to illustrate the interaction of syntax and semantics, the relation between language and the world, and the role of linguistic meaning in communication and understanding. Prerequisite: 201 or instructor's permission. E. Williams
LIN 304 Introduction to Machine Translation (see TRA 301)
LIN 306 The Structure and Meaning of Words Spring EC
The structure of words and the overall lexicon for human languages. Topics include word formation rules; the relation between syntax and the lexicon; the psychology of the lexicon, especially word storage and access; the semantics of complex words; the phonology of word formation; lexical redundancy and the learning of the lexicon. Two 90-minute classes. Prerequisite: 201 or instructor's permission. E. Williams
LIN 308 Bilingualism (also TRA 303) Spring EC
Covers the linguistic, psycholinguistic, neurolinguistic, and sociolinguistic aspects of bilingualism. Topics include: language acquisition in mono- and bilingual children; the "critical age" for first and second language acquisition; definitions and measurements of bilingualism; effects of bilingualism on other cognitive domains; neurolinguistic evidence comparing language processing in mono- and bilingual individuals; and the origins and circumstances of bilingualism and language death. Also addresses the contrasting societal and governmental attitudes towards multilingualism in countries like India and the U.S. Two 90-minute lectures. C. Fellbaum
LIN 309 Psychology of Language (see PSY 309)
LIN 314 Linguistics and Language Acquisition (also PSY 302) Fall EC
What does it mean to know a language? Is it something we learn or something the brain "grows?" What aspects of language are innate? Is parents' speech important in language learning? An examination of the properties of child language through the lens of current linguistic theory. Two 90-minute classes. Staff
LIN 360 Linguistic Universals and Language Diversity Not offered this year EC
Linguistic theory accounts for what the grammars of all human languages share in common (linguistic universals) and the ways they differ (language diversity). The universality and diversity of syntactic subject, topic, voice, case, word order, and of constructions involving causatives, nonfinite verbal categories, relative clauses, and impersonal sentences. Two 90-minute classes. Staff
LIN 412 Advanced Syntax Spring EC
Development of a modular theory of grammar involving subtheories of case, government, predicate/argument structure, and binding. Investigation of parametric variation across languages for principles of grammar. Two 90-minute classes. R. Freidin