Linguistics

The scientific study of language is fundamental to the understanding of the human mind. The Department of Linguistics offers several courses open to students with no previous training in the field. These courses provide a general introduction to the subject matter and technical methods of linguistics, both for students who do not plan to major in Linguistics and for prospective majors:

  • LING 110, Language: Introduction to Linguistics, introduces the goals and methods of linguistics, emphasizing the development of analytic techniques for various types of linguistic data.
  • LING 112, Historical Linguistics, provides a general introduction to the ways in which languages change over time.
  • LING 116, Cognitive Science of Language, explores the study of language in the context of cognitive science and the relationship between linguistic and nonlinguistic cognition.
  • LING 117, Language and Mind, studies knowledge of language as a component of the structure of the mind, including the nature of mental grammar and its neural implementation.

The department’s offerings also include several freshman seminars, which vary from year to year.

By the end of sophomore year, prospective majors should have completed one introductory linguistics course. Ideally, they will also have begun to explore the core areas of the field through one or more 200-level courses in phonetics, phonology, syntax, or semantics.

The study of language builds on a range of disciplines that Linguistics majors are encouraged to explore. Courses in anthropology, biology, computer science, mathematics, philosophy, and psychology can inform and contribute to a student’s major program.