Courses

For a complete list of languages offered by the University, please click here.

To learn more about the languages offered by the Linguistics department, please click here.

 

Undergraduate Courses

Introduction to Linguistics
This course offers a brief survey of how linguists analyze the structure and the use of language. Looking at the structure of language means understanding what phonemes, words, and sentences are, and how each language establishes principles for the combinations of these things and for their use; looking at the use of language means understanding the ways in which individuals and groups use language to declare their social identity and the ways in which languages can change over time.
Alan Yu, Itamar Francez, Autumn

Introduction to Syntax
20201. PQ: LING 20001. This course is an introduction to basic goals and methods of current syntactic theory through a detailed analysis of a range of phenomena, with emphasis on argumentation and empirical justification. Major topics include phrase structure and constituency, selection and subcategorization, argument structure, case, voice, expletives, and raising and control structures.
Adam Singerman, Autumn

Code Making, Code Breaking
26040. This course investigates the nature and use of codes and ciphers: what they are, how they are constructed and solved, and the significant roles they have played throughout history. We will begin by looking at the development of writing, the most basic tool for encoding thought and experience, and at the techniques for deciphering it. We will then turn to a deeper examination of the ideas and methods of cryptography and cryptanalysis, and their roles in concealing and revealing information in different areas of humanistic inquiry, including literature, religion, and philosophy.        Chris Kennedy, Autumn

Professional Persuasions: The Rhetoric of Expertise in Modern Life
27220. This course dissects the linguistic forms and semiotics processes by which experts (often called professionals) persuade their clients, competitors, and the public to trust them and rely on their forms of knowledge. We consider the discursive aspects of professional training (e.g., lawyers, economists, accountants) and take a close look at how professions (e.g., social work, psychology, medicine) stage interactions with clients. We examine a central feature of modern life-the reliance on experts - by analyzing the rhetoric and linguistic form of expert knowledge.              Susan Gal, Autumn

Geometric Models of Meaning
28630. This course is an introduction to geometric approaches to meaning in natural language. We will discuss methods which represent the meaning of linguistic entities (words, paragraphs, etc.) as objects in Euclidean space, and seek to find meaningful patterns in the relative positions of these objects. The course will motivate the approach, examine its strengths and limitations, and prepare students for further study in an active field of research.
Daniel Edmiston, Autumn

Undergraduate Experimental Methods
28710. Linguists use a variety of different tools to answer a diverse set of questions. This course will focus on the experimental methodologies linguists use in the laboratory, and will address all aspects of experimentation, including design, data collection and analysis. First, this course will provide a foundational overview to the different experimental paradigms from across the subfields of linguistics. Then, as a class, we will workshop a phonetics experiment using eye-tracking, with hands-on opportunities for students through each step of the process.
Jacob Phillips, Autumn

Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology
20101. PQ: LING 20001. This course is an introduction to the study of speech sounds and their patterning in the world’s languages. The first half of the course focuses on how speech sounds are described with respect to their articulatory, acoustic, and perceptual structures. The second focuses on fundamental notions that have always been central to phonological analysis and that transcend differences between theoretical approaches: contrast, neutralization, natural classes, distinctive features, and basic phonological processes (e.g., assimilation).
Jason Riggle, Winter

American Deaf Community: Language, Culture, and Society
26030 (=SIGN 26018). This course will focus on the Deaf community that uses American Sign Language (ASL) as a lens into the disciplines of linguistics, psychology, and cultural studies, and how the use of ASL contributes to individual identity and identity within society.  In addition to these disciplinary foci, topics of Deaf literature and art forms will figure in the discussion and readings, which come from a variety of sources and include seminal works in the field from historical and contemporary perspectives.
Diane Brentari, Winter

Introduction to Psycholinguistics
27010 (=PSYC 27010). This is a survey course in the psychology of language. We will focus on issues related to language comprehension, language production and language acquisition. The course will also train students on how to read primary literature and conduct original research studies.
Jeff Geiger, Winter

Verbal Arts
27170. This course introduces linguistic patterns of speech play and verbal art (SPVA), including parallelism, jokes, language games, sound symbolism, puns, ideophones, poetry, and other expressive strategies. We examine how speakers of indigenous and minority languages around the world use these strategies in everyday speech, and discuss how native intuitions and interpretations of SPVA data provide a key to understanding epistemologies, social identities, power and inequalities, and language ideologies. Through a humanistic and scientific lens, we will theorize how SPVA pushes the boundaries of iconicity, creativity, and variation. The everyday use of SPVA becomes central to understanding the language, culture, society, and individual nexus.
Natalia Bermúdez, Spring


Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

The Language of Deception and Humor
23920. In this course we will examine the language of deception and humor from a variety of perspectives: historical, developmental, neurological, and cross-cultural and in a variety of contexts: fiction, advertising, politics, courtship, and everyday conversation. We will focus on the (linguistic) knowledge and skills that underlie the use of humor and deception and on what sorts of things they are used to communicate.
Jason Riggle, Autumn

Battle in the Mind Fields
26550/36555.  The goal of this course is to better understand both the ruptures and the continuity that we find in the development of linguistics, psychology, and philosophy over the period from early in the 19th century up until around 1960.
John Goldsmith, Autumn

Chicago Linguistic Landscape
27150/37150. The field of Linguistic Landscapes examines the public display of languages, dialects, and writing systems: who is the author and audience of such messages? which languages are chosen for official signage? what can we learn about present or past multilingualism? what is conveyed by nonstandard dialect forms or stylized writing? In this course students will collaborate on creating an online map of Chicago with geo-tagged images. At least three weekend days will be spent on field trips to Chicago neighborhoods.
Amy Dahlstrom, Autumn

Computational Linguistics
28610/38610. This course is an introduction to topics at the intersection of computation and language, oriented toward linguists and cognitive scientists. We will study computational linguistics from both scientific and engineering angles -- the use of computational modeling to address scientific questions in linguistics and cognitive science, as well as the design of computational systems to solve engineering problems in natural language processing (NLP).
Allyson Ettinger, Autumn

The Evolution of Language
21920/41920.  This course is designed to review critically some of the literature on the phylogenetic emergence of Language, in order to determine which questions have been central to the subject matter, which ones have recurred the most, and to what extent the answers to these are now better informed. The class will also review new questions such as the following: What is the probable time of the emergence of modern language(s)? Should we speak of the emergence of Language or of languages, in the plural? What does the choice of the singular or plural delimitation of language entail for accounts of the emergence of typological diversity? How do debates on the emergence of language(s) bear on the nature and significance of Universal Grammar (aka the language organ or the biological endowment for language, among other names)? Is there any real conflict between arguing that languages are cultural artifacts and supporting the position that humans are biologically endowed to develop or learn them? What ecological factors explain the fact that human populations are primarily speaking rather than signing? Assuming that languages are communicative tools or technology, are there any strong reasons for expecting the architectures of signed and spoken languages to be identical? To what extent does modality bear on the architecture of signed and spoken languages? Can these questions be addressed independent of what the ecology of the phylogenetic emergence of language(s) is? Etc.
Salikoko Mufwene, Winter

Linguistic Introduction to Swahili I
28355/38355.  Spoken in ten countries of Eastern and Central Africa, Swahili has more speakers than any other language in the Bantu family, a group of more than 400 languages most prevalent in sub-equatorial Africa. Based on Swahili Grammar and Workbook, this course helps the students master key areas of the Swahili language in a fast yet enjoyable pace. Topics include sound and intonation patterns, noun class agreements, verb moods, and sentence structures. Additionally, this course provides important listening and expressive reading skills. For advanced students, historical interpretations are offered for exceptional patterns observed in Swahili, in relation with other Bantu languages. This is a general introduction course with no specific prerequisites.
Fidèle Mpiranya, Winter

Linguistic Introduction to Swahili II
LING 28356/38356.  Based on Swahili Grammar and Workbook, this course is a continuation of Linguistic Introduction to Swahili I. It addresses complex issues related to grammatical agreement, verb moods, noun and verb derivation, non-typical adjectives and adverbs, double object constructions, subordinate/coordinated clause constructions, and dialectal variation. Additionally, this course provides important listening and expressive reading skills. For advanced students, historical interpretations are offered for exceptional patterns observed in Swahili, in relation with other Bantu languages.
Fidèle Mpiranya, Spring

Computational Linguistics (CS)
28600/38600 (= CMSC 25020/35050). This is a course in the Computer Science department, intended for upper-level undergraduates, or graduate students, who have good programming skills. There will be weekly programming assignments in Python.  We will look at several current topics in natural language processing, and discuss both the theoretical basis for the work and engaging in hands-on practical experiments with linguistic corpora.  In line with most current work, our emphasis will be on systems that draw conclusions from training data rather than relying on the encoding of generalizations obtained by humans studying the data. As a consequence of that, in part, we will make an effort not to focus on English, but to look at a range of human languages in our treatments.
John Goldsmith, Spring

 

Graduate Courses

Phonological Analysis I
30101. This course introduces cross-linguistic phonological phenomena and methods of analysis through an indepth examination of fundamental notions that transcend differences between theoretical approaches: contrast, neutralization, natural classes, distinctive features, and basic non-linear phonological processes (e.g., assimilation, harmony, dissimilation).
Diane Brentari, Autumn

Phonological Analysis II
30102. PQ: LING 30101. This course is intended for students with a strong background in phonology. We will explores the major themes of phonological theory from 1870 to today, focusing on such questions as the distinction between phonolohy and morphophonology, the nature of phonological representations, and the character of hard and soft constraints on phonological representations.
Alan Yu, Winter

Syntax I
30201. PQ: Graduate student standing. Undergraduates with a grade of A or A- in Intro to Syntax may petition the instructor for admission. This course is an advanced survey of topics in graduate syntax examining current syntactic theory through detailed analysis of a range of phenomena and readings from the primary research literature.
Karlos Arregi, Autumn

Syntax II
30202. PQ: LING 30201. This course is a continuation of Syntactic Analysis I. The primary focus of this course will be A’-movement, as a lens into the syntax-semantics and syntax-phonology interfaces. We will discuss reconstruction, crossover, successive cyclicity, and copy spell-out. Beyond A’-movement, the course will also examine other topics in syntax, such as ergativity, ellipsis, and clausal embedding.
Staff, Winter

Semantics and Pragmatics I
30301. This is the first in a two-course sequence designed to provide a foundation in the scientific study of all aspects of linguistic meaning. The first quarter focuses primarily on pragmatics: those aspects of meaning that arise from the way that speakers put language to use, rather than through the formal properties of the linguistic system itself, which is the domain of semantics.
Chris Kennedy, Autumn

Semantics and Pragmatics II
30302. PQ: LING 30301. This is the second in a two-course sequence designed to provide a foundation in the scientific study of all aspects of linguistic meaning. The second quarter focuses on the syntax-semantics interface. The class will explore in detail how the meaning of complex linguistic expressions is formed compositionally from the meaning of constituent parts, and how semantic and syntactic composition interact.
Itamar Francez, Winter

Psycholinguistics: Language Processing
30401.  Description TBA.
Ming Xiang, Winter

Language in Culture I
31100.  Among topics discussed in the first half of the sequence are the formal structure of semiotic systems, the ethnographically crucial incorporation of linguistic forms into cultural systems, and the methods for empirical investigation of "functional" semiotic structure and history.
Michael Silverstein, Autumn

Field Methods I & II
40301 & 40302.  The field methods course is a two-quarter course, taken by graduate students and advanced undergraduates. (Students may elect to take the course more than once.) This course is devoted to the elicitation, transcription, organization, and analysis of linguistic data from a native speaker of a language not commonly studied. Students will also gain practical experience in the use of fieldwork equipment. Language chosen may vary from year to year.
Staff, Winter and Spring                                                                                                    

Experimental Methods
40310. This course will cover the basic methods for experimental studies, including experimental design, data collection and statistical analysis. To demonstrate different design and analysis tools, we will look at data set from different types of studies, including self-paced reading, acceptability judgment, eye tracking, ERP, etc. Students will also gain hands-on experience on different paradigms.
Ming Xiang, Autumn

Seminar: Syntax
46000. PQ: LING 30201 and 30202. Undergraduates who have taken both may petition the instructor for admission. This course is an advanced graduate seminar in syntax. Through readings from the primary research literature, we will investigate the nature, properties, and precise formulation of some of the elementary (and perhaps some not-so-elementary) operations that build the syntactic structures of human language.
Erik Zyman, Autumn

Linguistics Pedagogy: Proseminar
47800.  This course deals with a variety of topics specific to Linguistic Pedagogy.
Amy Dahlstrom, Autumn, Winter, Spring

Placement Seminar
47850. The Linguistics Proseminar is required for all first-year graduate students. The course exposes students to current research trends and issues in linguistics and to the discipline's culture of professional academic interaction through mandatory attendance at curated departmental colloquia.
Alan Yu, Autumn

Research Seminar
47900.  The course aims to guide students on their research in a structured way and to present professionalization information crucial to success in the field. The course is organized largely around working on the research paper, with the goal of making it a conference-presentable and journal-publishable work. Topics covered include abstracts, publishing, handouts, presentation skills, course design, creating and maintaining a CV, cover letters, webpages, and in general everything that is required for you to successfully compete for jobs in linguistics.
Ming Xiang, Autumn, Winter

Psycholinguistics Seminar
50510.  Topics and description TBA.
Ming Xiang, Winter