Linguistics

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For information on when Linguistics courses and seminars will be offered, please see Course Offerings.

Courses


LING 001. Introduction to Language and Linguistics

Introduction to the study and analysis of human language, including sound systems, lexical systems, the formation of phrases and sentences, and meaning, both in modern and ancient languages and with respect to how languages change over time. Other topics that may be covered include first-language acquisition, sign languages, poetic metrics, the relation between language and the brain, and sociological effects on language.

Writing course, 1 credit.


LING 002. First-Year Seminar: The Linguistic Innovation of Taboo Terms and Slang

Taboo terms vary across language communities with respect to topic. While religion, sex, disease and death, and bodily effluents are commonly found on the list, many other topics can appear, often depending upon nonlinguistic factors of the community (size, demographics, cultural beliefs). Taboo terms also vary with respect to the range of ways they can be used. While exclamations, name-calling, and maledictions are commonly found on the list, various other uses can appear, such as modifiers and predicates. Over time these less common uses tend to become semantically bleached, so that the historical taboo term is no longer even recognized as a taboo term, and can be used without any hint of vulgarity or rudeness. These less common uses sometimes fall together with slang in exhibiting linguistic behavior that is often unique within that language, both at the word level and the phrase and sentence level, behavior that is telling with respect to linguistic theory. Each student will choose a language other than English to investigate, for original research. Since both slang and taboo-terms are very new topic of research in linguistics, students have a real chance of analyzing structures that have been understudied or completely overlooked and, thus, producing work of interest to the field in general.

1 credit.

LING 003. First-Year Seminar: What Gay Sounds Like: Linguistics of LGBTQ Communities

This seminar provides a grounding in several subfields of Linguistics (e.g., Anthropological, Socio-phonetics, Lexical Semantics, Discourse Analysis, Language and Gender Theory, Performativity Theory, Ethnography of Speaking, ASL Studies). We will use these models to explore Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer ways of speaking, identities, discourses, and communities, in a variety of cross-cultural settings. Community involvement and social action will be a key component of the course.

1 credit

LING 004. First-Year Seminar: American Indian Languages

At least 300 languages were spoken in North America before the first contact occurred with Europeans. Most of the surviving languages are on the verge of extinction. Students will learn about language patterns and characteristics of language families, including grammatical classification systems, animacy effects on sentence structure, verbs that incorporte other words, and evidentials. Topics include how languages in contact affect each other, issues of sociolinguistic identity, language endangerment and revitalization efforts, and matters of secrecy and cultural theft.

1 credit.


LING 006. First-Year Seminar: Language and Deafness

This course will look at many issues connected to language and deaf people in the United States, with some comparisons to other countries. We will consider linguistic matters in the structure of American Sign Language (ASL) as well as society matters affecting users of ASL, including literacy and civil rights. Students will be engaged in a project to make ebooks to help promote literacy among deaf children. There will be “field” trips to the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and collaborative work with students in a sister course at Gallaudet University. All students are encouraged to gain a rudimentary knowledge of ASL or to concurrently register for LING 011 for 1 credit.

1 credit.

LING 007. Hebrew for Text Study I

(See RELG 057)

This course counts for distribution in humanities under the religion rubric and in social sciences under the linguistics rubric.

1 credit.

LING 008A. Russian Phonetics

(See RUSS 008A)

0.5 credit.

LING 010. Hebrew for Text Study II

(See RELG 059)

1 credit.

LING 011. American Sign Language 1

Introduction to learning and understanding American Sign Language (ASL), and the cultural values and rules of behavior of the American Deaf community. Includes receptive and expressive readiness activities; sign vocabulary; grammatical structure; facial expressions (emotional & grammatical), body/spatial movement, gestures; receptive and expressive fingerspelling; and deaf culture do's and don'ts. Specific concepts/topics include the number/letter basics, identifying people, activities, places, and family.

1 credit.

LING 014. Old English/History of the Language

(See ENGL 014)

This course counts for distribution in humanities under the English rubric and in social sciences under the linguistics rubric.

1 credit.


LING 015. Intro to Lenape Language

Students will gain a working knowledge of the structure of the Lenape Language. The course covers conversation, grammar, and usage, as well as discussion of the conceptual elements inherent in this Algonquian language. Topics will include some elements of Lenape culture, songs in the language, and discussion of the current status of Lenape as an endangered language.

1 credit.

LING 016. History of the Russian Language

(See RUSS 016)

This course counts for distribution in humanities under the Russian rubric and in social sciences under the linguistics rubric.

1 credit.

LING 019. Lenape Language Study

Students will work on advanced elements of the Lenape Language, such as analyzing and rewriting text samples according to current spelling conventions, providing phonetic renditions of vocabulary and text, writing and speaking original works, and developing projects and resources in the language.  Students will also have the opportunity to volunteer for field work teaching the language in the Lenape community.  Topics for discussion will include elements of Lenape culture, herbology, and the current status of the Lenape people today. Prerequisite: Introduction to the Lenape Language (LING 015).

1 credit.

LING 020. Computational Linguistics: Natural Language Processing

(See CPSC 065: Natural Language Processing)

This course counts for distribution in natural sciences under the Computer Science rubric and in social sciences under the linguistics rubric.

1 credit.

LING 024. Discourse Analysis

(See SOAN 026B)

1 credit.


LING 025. Sociolinguistics: Language, Culture, and Society

(Cross-listed as SOAN 040B)

This course is an introduction to sociolinguistics and the study of language variation and change, with a focus on variation in North American English. Topics to be examined include the following: How do social factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class influence the way people use language? How do individual speakers use language differently in different situations? How do regional dialects differ from each other, and why? How does language change spread within a community and between communities?  In learning the answers to these questions, students will carry out sociolinguistic field projects to collect and analyze data from real-life speech.

1 credit.

LING 026. Language and Meaning

(See PHIL 026)

This course counts for distribution in humanities under the philosophy rubric and in social sciences under the linguistics rubric.

1 credit.

LING 032. International Perspectives on Deafness

This course introduces students to the range of ways in which deafness and Deaf people are categorized internationally - by medical personnel, by hearing people, and by Deaf communities. We begin with references to Deafness and Deaf people in ancient times and trace changing attitudes to Deafness, signed languages and Deafhood up until contemporary times. We also explore the notion of Deaf culture and community and consider the objective symbols and behavioural norms of this culture. This course introduces a continuum of perspectives of Deafness, and examines the range of practical and political implications of these views. We also consider the range of implications that this can have on a Deaf person's self-image. A range of views from Deaf deafened and hard of hearing people which have been pre-recorded are shared over the course of this module. This module also considers different ways of being Deaf in the modern world. A particular focus is given to the ways that Deaf women are presented and viewed in historical and contemporary communities. We also look at the relationship between the developed and the developing worlds, with special emphasis on the European experience of Deafness. In a European context, data from the European Commission funded (Leonardo da Vinci) SIGNALL I, SIGNALL II, SIGNALL 3 and Medisigns projects are drawn on (www.signallproject.com). As signed language use is a defining feature of what it means to be a member of a Deaf community, we will also touch on some key sociolinguistic elements of identity (e.g. gendered language use, regional variation in signed languages, bilingualism in deaf communities).

All students are encouraged to gain a rudimentary knowledge of American Sign Language, or to concurrently register for LING032A for 1 credit.

1 credit.

LING 033. Introduction to Classical Chinese

(See CHIN 033)

This course counts for distribution in humanities or social sciences under either rubric.

1 credit.

LING 034. Psychology of Language

(See PSYC 034)

1 credit.

LING 035. Interpreting and Translating in a Social Context

This course introduces students to current thought on translation and interpretation, with respect to both spoken and signed languages. We will take a seminar based approach and explore the literature with respect to interpretation philosophy and practice, considering the practical applications of these findings for sign language interpreters and translators. We will explore issues such as lexical equivalence, equivalence at word level, clause level and discourse level and compare and contrast grammatical equivalence with issues of situational and cultural context. We will consider what this means for interpreting and translating in community settings (healthcare, legal, educational and work place settings).

All students are encouraged to gain a rudimentary knowledge of American Sign Language, or to concurrently register for LING 035A if your ASL level is beginner or LING 062A if your ASL level is intermediate.

1 credit (plus 1 credit under LING 035A)

LING 036. African American English: Culture and Linguistics

(Eligible for Black Studies credit)

An interactive and hands-on seminar on African American English (AAE), a language spoken by some African Americans. We will explore the emergence of AAE and scholarship on it, from early claims that it was defective English, to current scientific evidence that AAE has a distinct grammar, vocabulary, and style. Linguists view AAE as a language like any other, but it continues to be discriminated against in American society. We will examine the effects of and responses to language discrimination, paying special attention to AAE in everyday talk, art and literature, the Ebonics controversy, and current events like the Trayvon Martin case. This course has no prerequisites.

1 credit


LING 040. Semantics

(Cross-listed as PHIL 040)

In this course, we look at a variety of ways in which linguists, philosophers, and psychologists have approached meaning in language. We address truth-functional semantics, lexical semantics, speech act theory, pragmatics, and discourse structure. What this adds up to is an examination of the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences in isolation and in context.

This course counts for distribution in humanities under the philosophy rubric and in social sciences under the linguistics rubric.

Writing course, 1 credit.


LING 043. Morphology and the Lexicon

Morphology is the exploration of word structure, one of the most complex and diverse areas of grammar. We will do a broad survey of the world's languages to understand the particulars and potential universals found in word structures. We will also explore patterns in the lexicon, observe how words form families and paradigms, and model how the mental lexicon is organized.

Prerequisite: LING 001 or 045.

1 credit.


LING 045. Phonetics and Phonology

Phonetics explores the full range of sounds produced by humans for use in language and the gestural, acoustic, and auditory properties that characterize those sounds. Phonology investigates the abstract cognitive system humans use for representing, organizing, and combining the sounds of language as well as processes by which sounds can change into other sounds. This course covers a wide spectrum of data from languages around the world and focuses on developing analyses to account for the data. Argumentation skills are also developed to help determine the underlying cognitive mechanisms that are needed to support proposed analyses.

1 credit.

LING 047. Japanese Language in Society

(see JPNS 045)

1 Credit

This course counts for distribution in humanities under the Japanese rubric and in social sciences under the linguistics rubric.


LING 050. Syntax

We study the principles that govern how words make phrases and sentences in natural language. Much time is spent on learning argumentation skills. The linguistic skills gained in this course are applicable to the study of any modern or ancient natural language. The argumentation skills gained in this course are applicable to law and business as well as academic fields.

Writing course, 1 credit.

LING 052. Historical and Comparative Linguistics

This course is an introduction to the study of linguistic history in the following sense: (i) The languages we are speaking are constantly changing. Over longer periods of time, these small changes build up to significant changes. (ii) As groups of speakers whose ancestors once spoke the same language become separated, their languages diverge. This leads to a split into separate daughter languages, which often end up being mutually incomprehensible. The question is, how is it possible to figure out and reconstruct the changes and splits that occurred in the distant past in languages that are no longer spoken and were perhaps never recorded? The method applied by historical linguists to solve this problem, the main focus of this course, is called the ‘comparative method.’ We will draw on material from a wide range of languages, focusing mainly on sound change and morphological analogy.

Prerequisite: LING 001, 030, or 045 or permission of the instructor.

1 credit.

LING 053. Language Minority Education in the US: Issues and Approaches

(see EDUC 053)

1 Credit

LING 054. Oral and Written Language

(Cross-listed as EDUC 054)

This course examines children's dialogue and its rendering in children's literature. Each student will pick an age group to study. There will be regular fiction-writing assignments as well as primary research assignments. This course is for linguists and writers of children's fiction and anyone else who is strongly interested in child development or reading skills. It is a course in which we learn through doing.

All students are welcome to do a community-service credit in LING 096.

Prerequisite: LING 001, 043, or 045; and LING 040 or 050. Can be met concurrently.

Studio course, Writing course, 1 credit.


LING 055. Writing Systems and Decipherment

We will discuss the typology and history of the writing systems of the world. The modern decipherment of ancient writing systems such as Linear B and Egyptian hieroglyphic writing will be covered, as will some of the approaches and challenges in the modern electronic encoding of diverse writing systems. The course also includes an overview and history of cryptography and its role in warfare and on the modern Internet.

Prerequisite: LING 001 or permission of the instructor.

1 credit.

LING 061. Structure of Navajo

Navajo is an Athabaskan language spoken more commonly than any other Native American language in the United States. This course is an examination of the major phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic structures of Navajo. The morphology of this language is legendary. This course also considers the history of the language and its cultural context.

Prerequisites: LING 050; and 045 or 052 or permission of the instructor.

1 credit.

LING 062. Structure of American Sign Language

In this course, we look at the linguistic structures of ASL: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and history. We also discuss issues of culture, literacy, and politics pertinent to people with hearing loss.

All students are encouraged to gain a rudimentary knowledge of ASL, or to concurrently register for LING 062A if your ASL level is intermediate or LING 035A if your ASL level is beginner .

Prerequisites: LING 050; and 045 or 052 or permission of the instructor.

Writing course, 1 credit (plus 1 credit under LING 062A)

LING 063. Supporting Literacy Among Deaf Children

In this course, we will develop ebooks for young deaf children. Adults can “read” these books with the children regardless of their knowledge of American Sign Language (or lack thereof). Working from beloved picture books, we will add video clips of actors signing the stories as well as voice-overs and questions about sign language that the interested reader can click on to find information.

All students must have a rudimentary knowledge of American Sign Language or concurrently take an attachment in ASL language.

A background in linguistics, theater, film, early childhood development, or education would be helpful.

Students from Gallaudet University will join Swarthmore College students in this jointly taught course. We will travel to Gallaudet University three times over the semester and students from Gallaudet University will travel to Swarthmore College three times over the semester.

1 credit .


LING 064. Structure of Tuvan

Tuvan belongs to the Turkic branch of the Altaic language family and is spoken in Siberia and Mongolia by nomadic herders. It has classically agglutinating morphology and curious phenomena such as vowel harmony, converbs, and switch reference. It has rich sound symbolism, a tradition of oral (unwritten) epic tales, riddles, and world-famous song genres ("throat singing"). We will investigate the sounds, structures, oral traditions, and ethnography of Tuvan, using both printed and digital media.

Prerequisites: LING 050; and 045 or 052 or permission of the instructor.

1 credit.

LING 070R. Translation Workshop

(See LITR 070R)

This course counts for distribution in humanities under the literature rubric and in social sciences under the linguistics rubric.

1 credit.


LING 075. Field Methods

This course affords a close encounter with a language, direct from the mouths of native speakers. Students develop inference techniques for eliciting, understanding, analyzing, and presenting complex linguistic data. They also gain practical experience using state-of-the-art digital video, annotation, and archiving for scientific purposes. A different (typically non-Indo-European) language will be investigated each time the course is taught.

Prerequisite: LING 001.

1 credit.

LING 090. Advanced Research Methods in Linguistics

This course covers the history, methodology, and notable debates in linguistics. Course readings include important primary works on topics throughout the history of linguistics, from early philology, to generative linguistics, to experimental and cognitive approaches. This course is intended for juniors and other advanced linguistics majors in preparation for conducting significant linguistics research, such as a senior thesis.

Prerequisites: any two of LING 001, 025, 040, 045, and 050, or permission of the instructor.

1 credit.

LING 094. Research Project

With permission, students may elect to pursue a research program.

1 credit.

LING 095. Community-Service Credit: Literacy and People With Hearing Loss

This course offers credit for community service work. You may work with children on literacy skills at the Oral Program for the Hearing Impaired at the Kids' Place in Swarthmore. You would be required to keep a daily or weekly journal of your experiences and to write a term paper (the essence of which would be determined by you and the linguistics faculty member who mentors you in this).

Prerequisites: LING 045; LING 006 or 062; permission of the directors of both the Linguistics and Education programs; and the agreement of a faculty member in linguistics to mentor you through the project.

1 credit.

LING 096. Community-Service Credit: Literacy

This course offers credit for community service work. You may work with children in Chester public schools on literacy skills. You will be required to keep a daily or weekly journal of your experiences and to write a term paper (the essence of which would be determined by you and the linguistics faculty mentor).

Prerequisites: LING 054 or EDUC 054; permission of the directors of both the Linguistics and Education programs; and the agreement of a faculty member in linguistics to mentor you through the project.

1 credit.

LING 097. Field Research

This course offers credit for field research on a language.

Prerequisites: permission of the chair of linguistics and the agreement of a faculty member in linguistics to mentor you through the project.

1 credit.


LING 100 (Swarthmore) or LINGH 399 (Haverford) . Research Seminar

All course majors in Linguistics and Linguistics/Languages must write their senior paper in this seminar. Only seniors are admitted.

1 or 2 credits.


LING 195. Senior Honors Thesis

All honors majors in linguistics and honors minors who are also course majors must write their thesis for 2 credits in the seminar.

LING 199. Senior Honors Study

Honors majors may write their two research papers for 1 credit in this course. Honors minors may take this course for 0.5 credit.

Seminars

 

LING 105. Seminar in Phonology: Contact and Change

This seminar studies language contact and its results; the relation between internal and external linguistic change; dialects and koine formation; and pidgins and creoles.

Prerequisite: LING 001, 045, or 050, or permission of the instructor.

1 or 2 credits.

LING 106. Seminar in Morphology

This seminar will consider recent developments in the theory of morphology. Topics vary.

Prerequisite: LING 043.

1 or 2 credits.

LING 107. Seminar in Syntax

Topics in Germanic syntax.

Prerequisite: LING 040 or 050.

1 or 2 credits.

LING 108. Seminar in Semantics

The first half of the course covers foundations of Montague semantics. We then read classic papers in semantics and some current topics of research. This course begins as a regular class with homework assignments and then turns into a seminar about halfway through.

Prerequisite: LING 040 (Semantics).

1 credit.

LING 115. Seminar: Linguistic Typology and Constructed Languages

Humans have long been driven to duplicate and manipulate the properties of natural language to create new languages for the purposes of enhancing works of fiction, for aiding human communication, or even for pure intellectual curiosity. In this course, students will explore this drive through development of their own constructed languages, guided by rigorous study of the typology of patterns observed in real human languages. Topics to be covered include phoneme inventories, phonological rules, morphological classification, syntactic structure, language change over time, dialectal variation, and writing systems. Students will also apply their knowledge of linguistic typology to critically assess the design of existing constructed languages such as Esperanto and Klingon.

Prerequisite: LING 001 or 045 or permission of instructor.

1 credit.

LING H115. Phonetics and Phonology HU (Haverford College)

This course investigates the sound patterns found in human languages. Phonetics is the study of these patterns from a physical and perceptual perspective while phonology is the study of sound patterns from a cognitive perspective. Activities in the class will expose students to the methodologies used by both perspectives (articulatory description and acoustic analysis for phonetics and formal theoretical models for phonology) and show the necessity and utility of both approaches in understanding the nature of sound patterns in human language.

1 credit.

LING 116. Language and Meaning

(See PHIL 116)

This seminar counts for distribution in HU under the philosophy rubric and in SS under the LING rubric.

2 credits.

LING 119. Evolution, Culture, and Creativity

(See SOAN 119.)

2 credits.

LING 120. Anthropological Linguistics: Endangered Languages

(Cross-listed as SOAN 080B)

In this seminar, we address some traditional issues of concern to both linguistics and anthropology, framed in the context of the ongoing, precipitous decline in human linguistic diversity. With the disappearance of languages, cultural knowledge (including entire technologies such as ethnopharmacology) is often lost, leading to a decrease in humans' ability to manage the natural environment. Language endangerment thus proves relevant to questions of the language/ecology interface, ethnoecology, and cultural survival. The seminar also addresses the ethics of fieldwork and dissemination of traditional knowledge in the Internet age.

Prerequisite: One course in linguistics or anthropology or permission of the instructor.

1 credit.

LING 134. Psycholinguistics Seminar

(See PSYC 134)

1 credit.

LINGH215. Structure of Colonial Valley Zapotec (Haverford College)

In this course, we explore the grammar of Colonial Valley Zapotec, through archival documents (mostly wills) written in the mid 1500s to early 1700s. Zapotec is an endangered, indigenous language of Mexico, spoken primarily in the southern state of Oaxaca. We examine all aspect of Zapotec grammar: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, as well as language change and the relation to language and culture. Students gain skills in paleography, grammatical analysis, translation, data presentation, linguistic argumentation, and research skills. This seminar is reading and participation heavy. It focuses on hands-on research, with students actively involved in document analysis and translation. Some knowledge of Spanish is helpful, but not required, though ability and willingness to use a Spanish – English dictionary is. Students should expect near-weekly homework, vocabulary quizzes, responsibility for leading discussion on articles, and a final project.

Prerequisites: Ling 050 and one of the following: Ling 045, Ling 040, Ling 052 or permission of the instructor.

1 credit.


LINGB239. Introduction to Linguistics

An introductory survey of linguistics as a field. This course examines the core areas of linguistic structure (morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics), pragmatics, and language variation in relation to language change. The course provides rudimentary training in the analysis of language data, and focuses on the variety of human language structures and on the question of universal properties.

1 credit.

LINGH240. Literature and Cognition HU (Haverford College)

Literature is discourse. It has intricate and fascinating structure that reveals how the human mind works. In the last 30 years, considerable progress has been made in psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics and philosophy in the study of discourse interpretation. In this class we will learn an influential theory of discourse interpretation that we can then apply to different types of literary work (e.g., sonnets by Shakespeare and Milton; short stories by Nabokov and Bunin; novella by Nerval; novels by Kafka and Bulgakov) and biblical texts (e.g., The Book of Lamentations and The Book of Job). Prerequisite: One 100 level course or consent of instructor.

1 credit.

LINGH250. Seminar in Phonetics and Phonology (Haverford College)

This course provides theoretical and empirical breadth in the phonetic and phonological understanding of tone and stress phenomenon in the world’s languages. The course will focus on data and typology as well as theories and models, which will be evaluated in terms of typological adequacy. The course will be run seminar style, with readings and data guiding class discussions. Students will work on a language with tone and / or stress phenomenon throughout the course and will be responsible for sharing this data with the class on a regular basis. Readings in the last third of the term will be chosen based on student interest and issues raised in their particular languages.

Prerequisites: Ling 045 and at least one of the following: Ling 001, Ling 040, Ling 050 or permission of the instructor.

1 credit.