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Undergraduate Courses

See below for descriptions of all linguistics courses, and be sure to check the the roster for the official and most up-to-date list of current offerings and room assignments and the timetable for next semester's offerings when they become available.

Fall 2008 Course Offerings and Homepages

CourseHomepage
Time: ; Instructor: Julie Legate
Time: ; Instructor: Gillian Sankoff
Time: ; Instructor: Rolf Noyer
Fall 2008
Time: ; Instructors: Richards, Ungar
Fall 2008
Time:
Time: ; Instructor: Eugene Buckley
Time: ; Instructor: Delphine Dahan
Time: ; Instructor: William Labov
Time: ; Instructor: Charles Yang
Fall 2008
Time: ; Instructor: Beatrice Santorini
Time: ; Instructor: David Embick
Time: ; Instructor: Anthony Kroch
Time: ; Instructor: Gillian Sankoff

All Undergraduate Linguistics Course Descriptions

For a complete list of course descriptions, see The Register. For a list of general undergraduate course requirements fulfilled by linguistics courses, see this table.

LING 001: Introduction to Linguistics

A general introduction to the nature, history and use of human language, speech and writing. Topics include the biological basis of human language, and analogous systems in other creatures; relations to cognition, communication, and social organization; sounds, forms and meanings in the world’s languages; the reconstruction of linguistic history and the ‘family tree’ of languages; dialect variation and language standardization; language and gender; language learning by children and adults; the neurology of language and language disorders; the nature and history of writing systems. Intended for any undergraduate interested in language or its use, this course is also recommended as an introduction for students who plan to major in linguistics.
NAT SCI AND MATH; LIVING WORLD ('09 AND PRIOR)
Fall 2008: Julie Legate
Previously: Fall 2007
Previously: Spring 2007
Previously: Fall 2006 : Course Homepage
Previously: Spring 2006 : Course Homepage

LING 009: Critical Writing Seminar in Linguistics

This is a critical writing seminar. It fulfills the writing requirement for all undergraduates. As a discipline-based writing seminar, the course introduces students to a topic within its discipline but throughout emphasizes the development of critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills. For current listings and descriptions, visit the Critical Writing Program's website at www.writing.upenn.edu/critical.

LING 010: Fundamentals of the Grammar of Standard English

LING 010 uses a combination of traditional and modern approaches to grammar to improve the student's knowledge of the English language. The course covers a wide range of topics, including traditional grammar (parts of speech and sentence diagramming), prescriptive grammar/stylistics (dangling participles, split infinitives, etc.), modern generative syntax (sentence structure, pronoun reference), discourse structure, and composition. LING 010 is of use to anyone who wishes to strengthen his or her oral and written communication skills as well as to those students who plan to teach English or language arts.

LING 054: Bilingualism in History

This course takes a historical approach to tracing (and reconstructing) the nature of language contacts and bilingualism, over the course of human history. Contacts between groups of people speaking different languages, motivated by trade, migration, conquest and intermarriage, are documented from earliest records. At the same time, differences in socio-historical context have created different kinds of linguistic outcomes. Some languages have been completely lost; new languages have been created. In still other cases, the nature and structure of language has been radically altered. The course introduces the basics of linguistic structure through a discussion of which aspects of language have proved to be relatively stable, and which are readily altered, under conditions of bilingualism.
Distribution II: History & Tradition; Freshman Seminar

LING 057: Language and Popular Culture

The purpose of this course is to examine representations of human (and non-human) language as they appear in popular media such as the film, television, cartoons, advertising, and other popular genres. Popular (mis)conceptions of what human language is like will be contrasted with more scientific conceptions of language based on the knowledge constructed in linguistics, psychology, cognitive science, anthropology, and other disciplines.
Distribution I: Society; WATU
Previously: Fall 2005 : Course Homepage

LING 059: Language in Native America

This course serves as a introduction both to linguistics (the scientific study of human language) and to the languages native to North America (their nature and distribution, typological similarities and differences). The emphasis is on language in its historical, social, and cultural context. Three main topics are covered: 1. Historical linguistics: how the languages of the Americas are grouped into families; how languages change over time; what the study of language change tells us about prehistory. 2. Language in culture and society: how language reflects the categories that are important to a culture; some significant ways in which the categories in North America languages differ from those in English. 3. Language and thought: ideas about how language and thought are interrelated; to what extent does your language affect the way you see the world? WATU course.
Distribution I: May be counted as a Distributional course in Society. Freshman Seminar.

LING 102: Introduction to Sociolinguistics

Human language viewed from a social and historical perspective. Students acquire tools of linguistic analysis through interactive computer programs, covering phonetics, phonology and morphology, in English and other languages. These techniques are then used to trace social differences in the use of language, and changing patterns of social stratification. The course focuses on linguistic changes in progress in American society, in both mainstream and minority communities, and the social problems associated with them. Students will engage in field projects to search for the social correlates of linguistic behavior, and use quantitative methods to analyze the results.
SOCIETY SECTOR. QUANTITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS COURSE.
Fall 2008: Gillian Sankoff
Previously: Spring 2007

LING 103: Language Structure and Verbal Art

An exploration of the relationship between the structure of language and the use of language in works of art, both ‘folk’ art and ‘high’ art. The major topics of the course are the history of meter in English poets from Chaucer to Shakespeare to Yeats; the history of rhyme from the troubadours to today’s pop music; the Oral Theory and the composition of epics such as Beowulf in ancient, medieval and contemporary nonliterate cultures; the linguistic basis of jokes; and the structure of ordinary stories and contemporary narratives of personal experience.
ARTS AND LETTERS SECTOR
Fall 2008: Rolf Noyer [Course Homepage]
Previously: Fall 2006 : Course Homepage
Previously: Fall 2005

LING 105: Introduction to Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science is founded on the realization that many problems in the analysis of human and artificial intelligence require an interdisciplinary approach. The course is intended to introduce students from many areas to the problems and characteristic concepts of cognitive science, drawing on formal and empirical approaches from the parent disciplines of computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology. Topics covered include perception, action, learning, language, knowledge representation, and inference, and their relations and interactions. Cross-listed as CSE 140, COGS 001, PHIL 044, PSYC 107.
FORMAL REASONING COURSE
Fall 2008: Richards; Ungar [Course Homepage]
Previously: Fall 2007 : Course Homepage
Previously: Fall 2006 : Course Homepage
Previously: Fall 2005 : Course Homepage

LING 106: Introduction to Formal Linguistics

This course is intended as an introduction to the application of formal language and automata theory to natural language. Topics include regular languages and finite state automata; context-free languages and pushdown auto- mata; recursive transition networks; augmented transition networks; tree-adjoining grammars.
FORMAL REASONING COURSE
Fall 2008:
Previously: Fall 2007
Previously: Fall 2006 : Course Homepage
Previously: Fall 2005

LING 110: Introduction to Language Change

This course covers the principles of language change and the methods of historical linguistics on an elementary level. The systematic regularity of sound change, the reasons for that regularity, and the exploitation of regularity in linguistic reconstruction are discussed. Special attention will be paid to the ways in which linguistic evidence is relevant to the study of history and can provide historical data unobtainable by other methods. Examples are drawn from a wide variety of languages, both familiar and unfamiliar.
Gen Req II: History & Tradition
Previously: Spring 2007

LING 115: Writing Systems

The historical origin of writing in Sumeria, Egypt, China, and Mesoamerica; the transmission of writing across languages and cultures, including the route from Phoenician to Greek to Etruscan to Latin to English; the development of individual writing systems over time; the traditional classification of written symbols (ideographic, logographic, syllabic, alphabetic); methods of decipherment; differences between spoken and written language; how linguistic structure influences writing, and is reflected by it; social and political aspects of writing; literacy and the acquisition of writing.
HISTORY AND TRADITION SECTOR
Fall 2008: Eugene Buckley
Previously: Fall 2007
Previously: Fall 2006 : Course Homepage
Previously: Fall 2005 : Course Homepage

LING 120: Introduction to Speech Analysis

This course focuses on experimental investigations of speech sounds. General contents include: the fundamentals of speech production and perception; speech analysis tools and techniques; and topics in phonetic studies. The course consists of integrated lectures and laboratory sessions. Students will learn modern computer techniques for analyzing digital recordings, whether of laboratory speech, political oratory or ordinary conversation.
Previously: Fall 2007

LING 135 (PSYC 135): Psychology of Language

This course describes the nature of human language, as well as the linguistic knowledge and mental processes involved in language use (in production, comprehension, and acquisition). Topics include: speech perception, word recognition, lexicon, sentence processing, discourse, language production and acquisition, language and the brain, non-human communication, and the relationship between language and thought. Prerequisite: PSYC 001 or LING 001 .
Fall 2008: Delphine Dahan
Previously: Fall 2007
Previously: Spring 2005

LING 160: African American and Latino English

An introduction to the use and structure of dialects of English used by the African American and Latino communities in the United States. The field work component involves the study of the language and culture of everyday life and the application of this knowledge to programs for raising the reading levels of elementary school children. The course will focus on linguistic and cultural differences and similarities of Latinos and African Americans. Particular attention will be given to hip-hop language and culture of both Latino and African American artists.

Students will participate in one of four research projects, which engage in one way or another the ongoing programs for tutoring children in reading: (1) to develop the Individualized Reading Program in West Philadelphia schools to further advance children's knowledge of the alphabet; (2) to contrast and compare the reading errors of Latino and African American children in order to adapt these reading methods to both ethnic groups; (3) to write and illustrate narrative texts for Latino and African American children that engage their interests and emotional concerns and so help raise reading levels; or (4) to apply current trends in hip-hop lyrics to develop educational methods that draw upon children's strong involvement in this area.

DIST CRS HIST/TRAD - CL OF 09 AND PRIOR
Previously: Fall 2007
Previously: Fall 2006
Previously: Fall 2005 : Course Homepage

LING 161 (AFRC 161): The Sociolinguistics of Reading

This course will be concerned with the application of current knowledge of dialect differences to reduce the minority differential in reading achievement. Members will conduct projects and design computer programs to reduce cultural distance between teachers and students in local schools and to develop knowledge of word and sound structure.
DISTRIBUTION I: SOCIETY (CLASS '09 AND PRIOR). COMMUNITY SERVICE COURSE.
Fall 2008: William Labov
Previously: Spring 2007

LING 202: Field Linguistics

Instruction and practice in primary linguistic research, i.e. the elicitation of linguistic data through direct work with a native speaker of a language not previously known to the students. Some reference materials may be consulted to supplement and direct the elicitation. The class will collaborate in producing a grammatical sketch and a small lexicon. Prerequisite(s): LING 001, 102 or 330, or permission of instructor

LING 240: Structure of a Language

No description available.

LING 250: Introduction to Syntax

This course is an introduction to current syntactic theory, covering the principles that govern phrase structure (the composition of phrases and sentences), movement (dependencies between syntactic constituents), and binding (the interpretation of different types of noun phrases). Although much of the evidence discussed in the class will come from English, evidence from other languages will also play an important role, in keeping with the comparative and universalist perspective of modern syntactic theory.
Previously: Spring 2007
Previously: Spring 2006 : Course Homepage

LING 252: Logical Analysis of Language

This course is concerned with the relationship between grammatical analysis and logic, with a particular emphasis on using proof theory to extend grammatical analyses. Our focus will be on Categorial Grammar, a system that has interesting connections with first order logic. Topics include: Simple Applicative Categorial Grammar; The Elementary Theory of Logical Types; The Lambda-Calculus and Functions; The Syntax and Semantics of First Order Logic; The Gentzen Calculus, a Sequent Calculus for First Order Logic; The Lambek Calculus, a Sequent Calculus for Categorial Grammar. By the end of the course, students should be able to construct their own proofs and grammatical analyses. Students with a background in programming should be able to construct a parser and then optimize it for incremental analysis of sentences.
Previously: Spring 2006 : Course Homepage

LING 255: Formal Semantics and Cognitive Science

This course introduces the components and formal mechanisms underlying meaning in human language and uses them as a window on the human mind, its psychological development and adult cognitive processes. Topics include what kinds of concepts a noun or a determiner can encode; how children learn the meaning of words; how these "atoms" of meaning are combined in a mathematical procedure to yield the meaning of sentences; how semantic ambiguities are processed psychologically; and the development of a theory of mind. Formal tools from Set Theory and Predicate Logic will be introduced and applied both to the linguistic and to the cognitive characterization of meaning.
Previously: Spring 2007

LING 270: Language Acquisition

How do children learn to speak so effortlessly? Why is language learning so much harder for adults? Why can’t other animals use language at all? How do children learn words? How do we develop accents? What’s up with Chomsky’s Universal Grammar? How innate is the ability to learn language? How does language learning interact with other cognitive developments? Since language obviously changes all the time, does it mean that language learning (obviously) fails too? These are some of the questions we will encounter, or perhaps resolve, in this class.
Fall 2008: Charles Yang [Course Homepage]
Previously: Fall 2007 : Course Homepage
Previously: Fall 2006 : Course Homepage

LING 300: Undergraduate Tutorial in Linguistics

A small seminar-style course restricted to linguistics majors. Students read and discuss primary sources in the linguistic literature and undertake group projects relating to open questions in linguistic theory. Emphasis is placed on the collection and analysis of large bodies of linguistic data. Required for linguistics majors in or before the fall semester of the senior year. OPEN TO MAJORS ONLY.
Fall 2008: Beatrice Santorini
Previously: Fall 2007
Previously: Fall 2006
Previously: Fall 2005 : Course Homepage

LING 310: History of the English Language

This course traces the linguistic history of English from its earliest reconstructable ancestor, Proto-Indo-European, to the present. We focus especiallly on significant large-scale changes, such as the restructuring of the verb system in Proto-Germanic, the intricate interaction of sound changes in the immediate prehistory of Old English, syntactic change in Middle English, and the diversification of English dialects since 1750.
Previously: Fall 2006

LING 319 (LING 519): Topics in Dravidian Linguistics

The focus of this course will be on the topic of Grammaticalization both as a general phenomenon in various languages of the world, and in the Dravidian languages of South India. Many examples will be drawn from Tamil, the Dravidian language with the oldest literary history, but data from other languages, including western languages, African languages, and others will also be examined. The languages of the Dravidian family have been known to be separate genetically since the latter half of the 19th century, and serious linguistic analysis exists from both pre-historic periods (the oldest Tamil text Tolkaappiyam is in fact a grammar of Tamil, dating from the early centuries of the C.E.) and from the period of missionary-grammarians, early applications of Bloomfieldian linguistics (especially the work of M. B. Emeneau), and finally the post-independence period revival of interest in Dravidian matters, much of it inspired by the so-called Rockefeller Project, and Title 6 funding.

LING 330 (LING 503): Sound Structure of Language

An introduction to phonetics and phonology. Topics include articulatory phonetics (the anatomy of the vocal tract; how speech sounds are produced); transcription (conventions for representing the sounds of the world's languages); classification (how speech sounds are classified and represented cognitively through distinctive features); phonology (the grammar of speech sounds in various languages: their patterning and interaction); advanced issues in phonological representation (syllables and feature geometry); Optimality Theory (constraint-based versus derivational phono­logical grammars).
Previously: Spring 2007
Previously: Spring 2006 : Course Homepage

LING 404: Morphological theory

This course will explore some issues concerning the internal structure of words. After a brief introduction to some basic terms and concepts, we will discuss the interaction of morphology with phonology. We will look both at how morphology conditions phonological rules and how phonology conditions morphology. Then we will turn to the interaction of syntax and morphology. We will look at some problems raised by inflectional morphology, clitics and compounds. The main requirement for the class will be a series of homework exercises in morphological analysis.
Fall 2008: David Embick
Previously: Fall 2005

LING 411: Old English

The main purpose of this course is to teach students to read Old English (“Anglo-Saxon”), chiefly but not exclusively for research in linguistics. Grammar will be heavily emphasized; there will also be lectures on the immediate prehistory of the language, since the morphology of Old English was made unusually complex by interacting sound changes. In the first eight weeks we will work through Moore and Knott’s Elements of Grammar and learn the grammar; the remainder of the term will be devoted to reading texts.
Fall 2008: Anthony Kroch
Previously: Spring 2007

LING 440: Pidgins and Creoles

The origins and development of pidgins (languages of intercommunication that have evolved for practical reasons in situations of trade, conquest, or colonization, and spoken as second or auxiliary languages) and creoles (languages with native speakers that have developed from previous pidgins); relations between creoles and other languages; implications of creole studies for general theories of language and language change.
Fall 2008: Gillian Sankoff
Previously: Fall 2006

LING 450: Languages in Contact

Multilingualism from a societal, individual, and linguistic point of view. The different types of contacts between populations and between individuals which give rise to multilingualism. Second-language acquisition and the problem of the "critical age." Cognitive and cultural aspects of multilingualism; applications to the teaching of languages. "Bidialectalism." Code-switching (alternation), interference and integration: the mutual influences of languages in contact. Political and social aspects of multilingualism.
Previously: Fall 2007
Previously: Fall 2005

LING 470: Narrative Analysis

The course will develop our understanding of narrative structure on the basis of oral narratives of personal experience, told by speakers from a wide range of geographic backgrounds and social classes. It will link the principles governing oral narratives to the narratological examination of myth, literature and film by Propp, Greimas, Prince, Chatman, and others. The course will link with the concerns and interests of the course on Narratology taught by Prof. Gerald Prince in the spring of 2003. The general theory includes an analysis of the organization of temporal sequencing, the evaluation of the narrative events, the polarization of participants, the maintenance of credibility, and the underlying theory of causality that links the chain of events reported. A central theme of the class will be the general principles of interest: the study of what makes a narrative interesting, what holds the attention of the audience or the reader, and the relation betweeninterest and entertainment. The principles that emerge from the study of oral narrative will be re-examined in literary narrative, including Scandinavian, Greek and Hebrew epics, medieval romances, and modern novels, with attention to the differences between vernacular, literary and academic style. The class will then consider the narratives written for children of elementary school age, particularly those designed to reflect the cultural and linguistic framework of African American children.
Previously: Fall 2007

LING 480: Language and Neuroeconomics

The course will cover some basic material on behavioral game theory as well as some material on the neuroscience of decision. Our goal is to relate this literature with linguistics, mostly through pragmatics and inferencing.
Previously: Spring 2007
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2012
Department of Linguistics
619 Williams Hall (campus map)
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Telephone: (215) 898-6046
Fax: (215) 573-2091
For more information, contact Amy Forsyth at