Linguistics 001

LING001: 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 other animal communication systems
  • relations of language 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
  • prosody: the "melody and measure of speech"

LING001 satisfies General Requirement V: Living World.

Audience: Any Penn undergraduate interested in language or its use.

Although intended for a general audience, this course is also recommended as an introduction for students who plan to major in linguistics.

Prerequisites: None.

Reading: Course readings will be made available in digital form, linked to the schedule of lectures and readings, or will be handed out in class.

Course Structure:

The course will consist of two one-hour lectures and one one-hour recitation session per week. There will be a midterm and a final exam.

For more information about course structure, grading, and so forth, see the lecture notes for the introductory session.






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