Course objectives

There are two main sets of objectives for this class: one having to do with the linguistic content covered, and the other with the learning skills targeted.

Course objectives: Content-wise

Introducing linguists’ major findings over the last 60 years or so regarding the study of human language in the areas of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, cross-linguistic variation, first language acquisition, sociolinguistics, language change, historical linguistics, pidgins and creoles, language endangerment, language and the brain, as well as human language vs. animal communication systems.

Course objectives: Learning skills targeted

1. Problem-solving skills: Find patterns in a set of data from familiar and unfamiliar languages; draw generalizations from a set of data; make a hypothesis to explain a linguistic pattern and revise it in light of further data.

2. Formalize linguistic facts into concise rules and diagrams.

3. Argue for or against a view using objective and empirical evidence.

4. Critically think and question popular beliefs about language and determine whether they have any scientific validity.

5. Lead discussions about some of these popular ‘language myths’ as well as other language-related issues.

6. Research and write about a linguistic topic of your choice.

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