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Course Descriptions

LING 101-6 Language and Childhood

The power and complexity of the human voice as we encounter it in both speech and writing. The physical and cognitive aspects of speaking and listening.

CogSci 210 Language and the Brain

The study of language and its biological basis from linguistic, psychological, and neuroscientific perspectives.

LING 220 Language and Society

Introduction to linguistic variation and change from a variety of perspectives on the social. How language can be connected with social group membership and viewed a tool used in social practice to construct identity though quantitative analysis of variation.

LING 221 Language and Prejudice

Linguistic manifestations of prejudice from various sources: region, gender, race, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, and country of origin. How language affects perception: ethnic slurs, gender-biased language, taboo words, political correctness.

LING 222 Language, Politics, and Identity

Role of language in constructing, preserving and manipulating political and national identities. Topics include language discrimination, linguistic nationalism, language and religion, alphabet issues, dialect issues. Regional content varies.

LING 223 Language and Gender

Exploration of socially significant differences in the language used by/about/to men and women, focusing on the role of language in constructing gender as part of local communities of practice. Taught with GNDR ST 234; may not receive credit for both courses. 

LING 250 Sound Patterns in Human Language

Introduction to phonetics and phonology. Description and classification of speech sounds in terms of articulation, acoustics, and perception. Similarities and differences of sound patterns across languages. Introduction to speech technology.

LING 260 Formal Analysis of Words and Sentences

Formal structure of words (morphology) and sentences (syntax) in natural language. Biological basis of human language.

LING 270 Meaning

How information is encoded in words and sentences and how speakers and listeners use language to communicate.

LING 300 Topics

Topics in linguistic theory. Content varies. May be repeated for credit with different topic.

LING 311 Child Language

Introduction to first language acquisition. How infants and children learn the grammar (structure of sounds, words, and sentences) of their native language. Innate and environmental factors in linguistic development. Emphasis on experimental and corpus-based methods of inquiry.

LING 315 Experimental Approaches to Word Form Processing

Experimental techniques and theoretical models for analyzing perception and production of spoken and written words forms.  Access to the mental lexicon in perception and production. Prerequisite: 250 or consent of instructor.

LING 316 Experimental Syntax

Experimental methodologies and theories of sentence comprehension. Studies of syntactic structures in sentence comprehension. Prerequisite: 260 or consent of instructor.

LING 317 Experimental Pragmatics

Experimental methodologies for analyzing the role of context in utterance production and comprehension. Prerequisite: 270 or consent of instructor.

LING 320 Sociolinguistics

Overview of classic and contemporary work in sociolinguistics. How quantitative methods in linguistics can be coupled with social theoretic insights to engage questions in linguistic variation and change, stylistic practice, how language reflects, reinforces, or contests social inequalities.

LING 321 Bilingualism

Cognitive, linguistic, neuroscientific, and computational aspects of the acquisition, representation, and processing of two or more languages in an individual’s mind/brain. Prerequisite: 250, 260, or 270.

LING 324 Linguistics and English Composition

Recent trends in the study of the uses and forms of writing and the processes of written composition. The learning and teaching of written language.

LING 327 Language and Sexuality

The uses of language to construct, negotiate, and conceal sexual identity, focusing on the language of and about gay men and lesbians. Topics include heteronormativity, identity labels, gender versus sexuality, and cross-cultural sexual diversity. Prerequisite: a course in linguistics or consent of instructor.

LING 330 Research Methods in Linguistics

Methods of linguistic data collection, management, and analysis with an emphasis on the use of computational, experimental, and statistical methods.

LING 332 Linguistic Field Methods

Collection of primary linguistic data from an unfamiliar language. Lexicon and grammar development focusing on phonology, morphology, and syntax. Prerequisite: 250, 260, or 270.

LING 334 Introduction to Computational Linguistics

Hands-on introduction to computational methods in empirical linguistic analysis and natural language processing.

LING 336 Words, Networks, and the Internet

Word networks and language on Internet. Python tools for exploring spam, searching engines, and social media. Prerequisite: at least 1 from 330, 334, 361, or equivalent background. 

LING 340 Historical Linguistics

Introduction to the study of how and why language changes. Topics include the comparative method, the regularity of sound change, syntactic change, distant genetic relationships, and language evolution.

LING 341 Language Typology

A comparison of varying and universal features of the world’s languages. Prerequisite: 250, 260, or 270.

LING 342 Structure of Various Languages

Phonological, morphological, or syntactic structure of a particular language. May be repeated for credit with change in language.

LING 350 Fundamentals of Laboratory Phonology

Articulatory and acoustic phonetics. Syllable structure, phonotactics, prosody, and intonation. Fundamentals of experimental design and data analysis. Prerequisite: 250 or consent of instructor.

LING 360 Fundamentals of Syntax

Fundamental principles of theoretical syntax. Phrase structure, argument structure, movement operations. Emphasis on argumentation, hypothesis formation and testing, and analytic methods. Prerequisite: 260 or consent of instructor.

LING 361 Morphology

Issues in theoretical morphology. The internal structure of words. Linguistic and psycholinguistic findings about the representation and processing of word structures. Prerequisite: 250, 260, or 270.

LING 363 Making a Dictionary: the Northwestern Project

Creation of an online dictionary of Northwestern jargon, slang, etc. Learning about the connection between language, society, and identity; sociolinguistic fieldwork; lexicography; plitics of dictionaries; culture and power of book form vs. digital. Taught with SLAVIC 322; may not receive credit for both courses.

LING 370 Fundamentals of Meaning

Theoretical approaches to the study of linguistic meaning. Topics include word meaning, argument and event structure, sentence meaning, truth conditions, and inference types (e.g., entailment, implicature, presupposition). Prerequisite: 270 or consent of instructor.

LING 371 Reference

Linguistic and philosophical approaches to the study of reference, focusing on the role of context in utterance production and interpretation. Topics include definiteness, genericity, deixis, and anaphora. Prerequisite: a course in linguistics or philosophy of lnaguage, or consent of instructor.

LING 372 Pragmatics

Introduction to extrasemantic meaning, focusing on the role of context in utterance production and interpretation. Topics include the semantics-pragmatics boundary, implicature, presupposition, speech acts, reference, and information structure. Prerequisite: 250, 260, or 270.

LING 373 Implicature

An interdisciplinary approach to the study of extrasemantic meaning, drawing on primary readings from linguistics, philosophy, and psychology.  Topics include conversational and conventional implicature, explicature, impliciture, and the semantics-pragmatics boundary. Prerequisite: 370, 372, or consent of instructor.

LING 380 Spoken English for Non-Native Speakers

Conversational English addressing all oral language skills; primarily for international graduate students who are non-native speakers of English. Content varies.

LING 381 Written English for Non-Native Speakers

Written argumentation skills and all aspects of academic writing; primarily for international graduate students who are non-native speakers of English.

LING 398 Undergraduate Seminar in Linguistics

By invitation of the department. For students of superior ability, with choice of topic left to the group.

LING 399 Independent Study

May be repeated for credit. Permission of instructor and department required.

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