Linguistics (2018 - 2020)
LING-UA 1 Offered every semester. Champollion, Gallagher, Gouskova, Szabolcsi. 4 points.
Language is a social phenomenon, but languages share elaborate and specific structural properties. Speech communities exist, exhibit variation, and change within the strict confines of universal grammar, part of our biological endowment. Universal grammar is discovered through the careful study of the structures of individual languages, by crosslinguistic investigations, and the investigation of the brain. Introduces fundamental properties of the sound system and of the structure and interpretation of words and sentences against this larger context.
Language and Mind
LING-UA 3 Offered every year. Cournane, Davidson, Marantz, Marcus, McElree, Murphy, Pylkkänen, Szabolcsi. 4 points.
Introduces the field of cognitive science through an examination of language behavior. Begins with interactive discussions of how best to characterize and study the mind. These principles are then illustrated through an examination of research and theories related to language representation and use. Draws from research in both formal linguistics and psycholinguistics.
Introduction to Semantics
LING-UA 4 Prerequisite: Language (LING-UA 1), Language and Mind (LING-UA 3), or permission of the instructor. Offered every year. Barker, Champollion, Szabolcsi. 4 points.
Focuses on the compositional semantics of sentences. Introduces set theory, propositional logic, and predicate logic as tools and goes on to investigate the empirical linguistic issues of presuppositions, quantification, scope, and polarity. Points out parallelisms between the nominal and the verbal domains.
Introduction to Psycholinguistics
LING-UA 5 Offered occasionally. 4 points.
Psycholinguistics aims to understand the mental processes that underlie both the representation and acquisition of language. Topics include language acquisition, speech perception, lexical representation and access, sentence production, and the relationship between phonology and orthography.
Patterns in Language
LING-UA 6 No prerequisites. Offered every year. Bowman, Champollion. 4 points.
Can machines think? Do patterns in online searches predict the spread of the flu? Did Shakespeare really write that sonnet? Scientists use patterns in language to answer these questions, using the same concepts that underlie search engines, automatic translators, speech recognition, spell-checkers, and auto-correction tools. Focuses on the technological and linguistic ideas behind these applications and offers hands-on experience and insight into how they work. No programming experience required.
LING-UA 7 Prerequisite: Language (LING-UA 1), Language and Mind (LING-UA 3), or Logic (PHIL-UA 70), or permission of the instructor. Offered occasionally. Champollion, Pryor. 4 points.
Formal language theory is a collection of formal computational methods drawn chiefly from mathematics and computer science. Formal languages can be used to represent the syntax of axiomatic systems studied in the guise of logical calculi, or as models of richer information-encoding systems like natural languages or human cognition. Examines applications in linguistics, philosophy, and computer science, and such topics as set theory, algebra, automata theory, the Chomsky hierarchy, parsing, tree-adjoining grammars, and effective decidability.
Indigenous Languages of the Americas
LING-UA 9 No prerequisites. Offered every other year. Gallagher. 4 points.
Focuses on phonology and phonetics (i.e., sound structure), but also addresses the structure of words and phrases. Topics: bilingualism, language contact, language loss, indigenous language education, literacy, orthography, and language policy. Emphasis on the Quechuan languages of the Andes in South America, spoken in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.
Structure of the Russian Language
LING-UA 10 Prerequisite: Grammatical Analysis (LING-UA 13). Offered every other year. Harves. 4 points.
An introduction to the morphosyntax of Russian. Students learn how to analyze the underlying structures of this language by using formal tools in syntactic theory. The core areas of Russian grammar: case, aspect, argument structure alternations, topic/ focus structure, negation, binding, control, and wh-movement. No knowledge of Russian required.
Sound and Language
LING-UA 11 Offered every fall. Davidson, Gallagher, Gouskova. 4 points.
Phonetic and phonological theory at an elementary level. Topics include the description and analysis of speech sounds, the anatomy and physiology of speech, speech acoustics, and phonological processes. Students develop skills to distinguish and produce sounds used in the languages of the world and to transcribe them using the International Phonetic Alphabet.
LING-UA 12 Prerequisite: Sound and Language (LING-UA 11) or permission of the instructor. Offered at least every spring. Davidson, Gallagher, Gouskova, Stanton. 4 points.
How languages organize sounds into highly constrained systems. Topics: What do the sound systems of all languages have in common? How can they differ from each other? What is the nature of phonological processes, and why do they occur?
LING-UA 13 Prerequisite: Language (LING-UA 1), Language and Mind (LING-UA 3), or permission of the instructor. Offered at least every fall. Collins, Harves. 4 points.
What determines the sequencing of words in a given language? How can we explain word-order variation within and across languages? Are there universal syntactic properties common to the grammar of all languages? Presents the modern generative approach to the scientific study of language and systematically develops a model that will account for the most basic syntactic constructions of natural language.
LING-UA 14 Offered every other year. Guy. 4 points.
The methods of genealogical classification and subgrouping of languages. Examines patterns of replacement in phonology, morphology, and syntax. Focuses on internal and comparative phonological, morphological, and syntactic reconstruction. Considers phonological developments such as Grimm’s, Grassmann’s, and Verner’s Laws.
Language and Society
LING-UA 15 Identical to SCA-UA 701. Offered every fall. Blake, Guy, MacKenzie. 4 points.
Considers contemporary issues in the interaction of language and society, particularly work on speech variation and social structure. How social factors affect language. Topics: language as a social and political entity; regional, social, and ethnic speech varieties; bilingualism; and pidgin and creole languages.
Grammatical Analysis II
LING-UA 16 Prerequisite: Grammatical Analysis (LING-UA 13). Offered every other year. Collins, Harves, Kayne. 4 points.
Introduces primary literature in syntactic theory and leads to an independent research project. Topics vary: binding theory, control, case theory, constraints on movement, antisymmetry, argument structure and applicatives, ellipsis, derivation by phase, etc.
LING-UA 18 Offered every fall. Vrzic. 4 points.
Considers social forces that favor or inhibit bilingualism, as well as the educational consequences of bilingual education (and of monolingual education for bilingual children). Examines the impact of bilingualism on the languages involved. Special attention to code switching, with particular reference to its psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic aspects.
LING-UA 19 Prerequisite: Semantics (LING-UA 4). Offered every other year. Champollion, Szabolcsi. 4 points.
Builds a solid command of predicate logic and elements of the lambda calculus. Introduces the principles of compositional model theoretic semantics. Analyzes constituent order and a set of specific phenomena, possibly varying from year to year.
Sex, Gender, and Language
LING-UA 21 Identical to SCA-UA 712. Offered every spring. Vasvari. 4 points.
How linguistic practices reflect and shape our gender identity. Do women and men talk differently? Are these differences universal or variable across cultures? How does gendered language intersect with race and class-linked language? What impact does gendered language have on social power relationships?
African American Vernacular English
LING-UA 23 Identical to SCA-UA 799. Offered every other year. Blake. 4 points.
African American Vernacular English in terms of its linguistic and cultural distinctiveness, both intrasystemically and compared to other dialects of American English. Relates the English vernacular spoken by African Americans in urban settings to creole languages. The history of its expressive uses, and the educational, attitudinal, and social implications connected with the language.
Languages in Contact
LING-UA 25 Prerequisite: Language (LING-UA 1), Language and Mind (LING-UA 3), or permission of the instructor. Offered occasionally. 4 points.
Considers the impact that contact can have on existing languages, paying attention to contact that gives rise to new languages and also to the kind that kills languages. Topics: borrowing, bilingualism, language maintenance and language shift, language birth and language death, code switching, diglossia, pidginization and creolization, new Englishes, and mixed languages.
Language and Liberation: At Home in the Caribbean and Abroad
LING-UA 26 Identical to SCA-UA 163. Offered every other year. Blake. 4 points.
Explores the linguistic and cultural transformations that took place in the Commonwealth Caribbean from 17th-century slavery and bond servitude to the present day. Discusses the socio-historical conditions that led to the creation of new Caribbean languages called “pidgins” and “creoles.” Examines historical and current relationship of English-based creoles to their social, cultural, political, and literary/expressive contexts and aspects.
LING-UA 27 Prerequisite: Grammatical Analysis (LING-UA 13) or permission of the instructor. Offered every year. Collins, Kayne. 4 points.
Introduces the syntax of languages quite different from English, from various parts of the world. Considers what they may have in common with English and with each other and how to characterize the ways in which they differ from English and from each other.
LING-UA 29 Offered occasionally. Gouskova, Marantz. 4 points.
Introduces rules for composing words and sentences from the smallest units of linguistic combination (morphemes). Why can the same message be expressed in one word in some languages but require an entire sentence in others? Why do the shapes of prefixes, suffixes, and roots change depending on their semantic and phonological context? What rules do different languages use for forming new words? No previous background in linguistics is required.
Language in Latin America
LING-UA 30 Offered every other year. Guy. 4 points.
How and why American varieties of Spanish and Portuguese differ from European varieties, as well as the distribution and nature of dialect differences throughout the Americas. Examines sociolinguistic issues: class and ethnic differences in language, the origin and development of standard and nonstandard varieties, and the effects of contact with Amerindian and African languages. Considers Spanish- and Portuguese-based creoles and the question of prior creolization.
Form, Meaning, and the Mind
LING-UA 31 Prerequisites: Introduction to Semantics (LING-UA 4) and Grammatical Analysis (LING-UA 13), or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year. Baltin. 4 points.
The relationship between cognitive organization and the interaction between syntax and semantics in natural language. Asks whether or not the mind is modular (divided into distinct faculties, such as language and vision) and whether or not syntax is an autonomous component of grammar.
Writing Systems of the World
LING-UA 33 Offered occasionally. 4 points.
Discusses how various writing systems relate to language and questions whether writing affects language. The communicative purpose of writing, the application of graphical marks on a durable surface, and the achievement of communication by virtue of the marks’ conventional relation to language. Traces the evolution of writing.
The Syntax/Semantics Interface Cross-linguistically
LING-UA 37 Prerequisite: Grammatical Analysis (LING-UA 13) or permission of the instructor. Introduction to Semantics (LING-UA 4) is recommended but not required. Offered occasionally. Szabolcsi. 4 points.
In many languages of the world, the topic and the focus of the sentence, the scope relations among quantifiers and negation, and the role of the speaker and addressee are made transparent by word order and various suffixes on the verb. Studies data from languages from Hungarian to Kathmandu Newari from the perspective of theoretical linguistics and asks what they tell us about how the syntax/semantics interface works in universal grammar.
Pidgin and Creole Languages
LING-UA 38 Prerequisite: Language (LING-UA 1), Language and Mind (LING-UA 3), or permission of the instructor. Offered occasionally. 4 points.
Addresses three questions: (1) how pidgins/creoles (P/Cs) come into being, (2) why P/Cs have the properties they do, and (3) why P/Cs—regardless of the circumstances of their genesis—share so many features. Examines P/Cs vis-a-vis other types of languages.
Language in Use
LING-UA 41 Offered occasionally. Guy. 4 points.
We consider theoretical issues, such as how to model diversity in language use, and methodological issues, such as how to study language change while it is under way. We study appropriate quantitative methods for investigating variation across linguistic contexts, speakers, settings, and time.
LING-UA 42 Prerequisite: Grammatical Analysis (LING-UA 13) or permission of the instructor. Offered occasionally. Kayne. 4 points.
Introduces the syntax of Romance languages, primarily French, Italian, and Spanish, but also various Romance dialects. Considers what they have in common with each other (and with English) and how best to characterize the ways in which they differ from each other (and from English).
Neural Bases of Language
LING-UA 43 Identical to PSYCH-UA 300. Prerequisite: Language (LING-UA 1), Language and Mind (LING-UA 3), PSYCH-UA 25, PSYCH-UA 29, or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year. Pylkkänen. 4 points.
A state-of-the-art survey of the cognitive neuroscience of language, a rapidly developing multidisciplinary field at the intersection of linguistics, psycholinguistics, and neuroscience. Covers all aspects of language processing in the healthy brain, from early sensory perception to sentence-level semantic interpretation, as well as a range of neurological and development language disorders.
LING-UA 44 Identical to LING-GA 44. Prerequisite: Sound and Language (LING-UA 11) and either Phonological Analysis (LING-UA 12) or Grammatical Analysis (LING-UA 13), or permission of the instructor. Offered every year. Collins, Gallagher, Gouskova. 4 points.
Students interview a native speaker of an unfamiliar language to study all aspects of the language’s grammar: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics. We evaluate and organize real, nonidealized linguistic data and formulate generalizations that serve as the basis for research.
African American English II: Language and Education
LING-UA 46 Identical to SCA-UA 800. Offered occasionally. Blake. 4 points.
Contemporary, social, linguistic, and educational issues that arise for speakers of African American English in the United States. Topics: a history of African American language behavior, politics and policies around the language, teacher education, language attitudes, culture and curriculum, and controversies about African American English in the schools.
The Language of America’s Ethnic Minorities
LING-UA 47 Offered every other year. Blake. 4 points.
Examines the role of language in communities in the United States, specifically within African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American populations. Explores the relationship of language to culture, race, and ethnicity. Looks for similarities and differences across these communities and considers the role that language experiences play in current models of race and ethnicity.
Linguistics as Cognitive Science
LING-UA 48 Identical to LING-GA 48. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Offered every other year. Marantz. 4 points.
Approaches from linguistics, philosophy, and psychology. Topics: the evidence for constructing grammars, the interpretation of grammatical rules as cognitive or neural operations, the significance of neo-behaviorist approaches to language and computational modeling for a cognitive theory of language, the connection between linguistics theory and genetics, and the importance of sociocultural and historical variation for understanding the nature of language.
LING-UA 50 Offered occasionally. Collins. 4 points.
Why do languages die? If a language dies, does a culture die with it? How is the structure of a language affected by language death? Why should we care about language endangerment? Is there anything we can do about it? Students “adopt” an endangered language and research it extensively throughout the semester.
Machine Learning for Language Understanding
LING-UA 52 Identical to DS-UA 203. Prerequisites: at least one course with a substantial Python programming component, such as Introduction to Computer Programming (No Prior Experience) (CSCI-UA 2) or Introduction to Computer Programming (Limited Prior Experience) (CSCI-UA 3), or an advanced CSCI-UA or other programming course; Calculus I (MATH-UA 121) or higher, or equivalent; and background in probability theory, e.g. Theory of Probability (MATH-UA 233); or permission of the instructor. Offered every spring semester. 4 points.
Covers widely-used machine learning methods for language understanding—with a special focus on methods based on artificial neural networks—and culminates in a substantial final project in which students write an original research paper in AI or computational linguistics. Introduces the many approaches that researchers use to teach language to computers. Students gain skills to design and build computational models, to design experiments to test those models, and to read and evaluate results from the scientific literature.
Learning to Speak: The First- and Second- Language Acquisition of Sound
LING-UA 54 Prerequisite: Sound and Language (LING-UA 11) or Phonological Analysis (LINGUA 12). Offered occasionally. Davidson. 4 points.
We discuss scientific data from both first- and second-language acquisition of sound systems to understand how they differ, and how humans learn language both in infancy and adulthood. Presupposes an introduction to phonetics, phonology, and/or psycholinguistics.
Introduction to Morphology at an Advanced Level
LING-UA 55 Identical to LING-GA 1029. Prerequisites: Sound and Language (LING-UA 11) and Phonological Analysis (LING-UA 12). Offered every year. Gouskova, Marantz. 4 points.
The building blocks of words and sentences: the atomic units of word structure, their hierarchical and linear arrangement, and their phonological realization(s). An introduction to fundamental issues including allomorphy, morpheme order, paradigm structure, blocking, and cyclicity. Interactions of morphology with syntax, phonology, semantics, and variation.
LING-UA 57 Offered every year. MacKenzie. 4 points.
Regional dialects of English in the United States and abroad. Dialect variation is studied on many linguistic levels, from word choice to the pronunciation of vowels to the construction of sentences. Topics include the fundamentals of dialectology, the historical development of regional dialects, mechanisms of language change, and social evaluation of dialects. Connections are made to techniques of quantitative data analysis, practical applications of dialectology, and the importance of dialect data for the development of (socio)linguistic theory.
First Language Acquisition
LING-UA 59 Prerequisite: Language (LING-UA 1) or Language and Mind (LING-UA 3). Offered every year. Cournane. 4 points.
Linguistic development from birth to early school age, examining monolingual, bilingual, and atypical (e.g., autistic, Specific Language Impairment) populations. Focuses first on development in the individual linguistic domains of phonology, vocabulary, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics and then examines deeper theoretical and experimental approaches to language acquisition, with a focus on primary literature and active debates in the field.
Seminar: Research on Current Problems in Linguistics
LING-UA 102 Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Offered occasionally. 4 points.
Course content varies.
LING-UA 980, 981 Prerequisite: permission of the director of undergraduate studies. In the term prior to the internship, the student must present a written description of the proposed internship that clearly indicates the linguistic content of the project. 1 to 4 points per term.
LING-UA 997, 998 Prerequisite: permission of the director of undergraduate studies. 1 to 4 points per term.
Approved Electives from the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
With permission, students may choose from Introduction to Audiology (CSCD-UE 221), Anatomy and Physiology (CSCD-UE 231), and/or Neuroanatomy and Physiology (CSCD-UE 241) and count them toward the major as electives. (The Department of Linguistics requires three 4-point major electives.) These courses are offered by the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) in the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, but do not count against CAS students’ allowance of 16 points taken outside of the College in the other schools of NYU. They provide excellent preparation for graduate work and careers in speech pathology and CSD. For more information, consult CSD electives for the linguistics major and the Steinhardt Bulletin and website.