Welcome to the main Linguistics page. To go to a specific course, please click on the one of the links under the Linguistics tab above. Here’s a description of course topics.
Introduction to Linguistics (Summer 2016)
Syntax – We begin by looking at the structure of language, how we create grammar, and how we hierarchically represent our sentences using phrase structure rules.
Semantics – We look at the meaning of words, the meaning of sentences, ambiguity, presupposition, implication, and Grice’s maxims.
Morphology – We use our knowledge of syntax and semantics to look at individual units in words. Does English have a plural marker? Does that plural marker have more than one form in the language, or are there multiple?
Phonetics – We now move into the human anatomy and uncover the secrets behind the sounds we make. English speakers produce over 30 unique sounds, yet most of us don’t even know exactly how we produce these sounds. What is the difference between an /s/ and a /z/? You may be surprised there’s only one difference in our oral cavity that distinguishes /s/ from /z/!
Phonology – Looking at sounds individually is fun, but why is it that some sounds are a little bit different when they’re in the context of different words. For example, are you aware that the /l/ in letter and ball are actually different sounds? Native English speakers might not be able to hear the difference, but some languages make a distinction and can hear them very distinctly!
Mathematical Linguistics (Summer 2016)
Set Theory – We introduce the foundation of mathematics. We look at sets, intersections, unions, differences, power sets, cardinalities, infinities, and paradoxes.
Logic – We introduce propositional and quantificational logic, proofs, induction, model theory, and representing English sentences in logic, as well as determining their truth values compositionally.
Algebras – We look more abstractly at boolean algebras, morphisms, completeness, and soundness. This section is mathematically rigorous and covers material present in Abstract Algebra courses (usually 2nd/3rd year) for math majors.
Grammars and Automata – We look at regular languages, finite state automata, context-free languages, pushdown automata, and Tree-Adjoining Grammar.