Monday, January 18, 2010

Poll for Fall 2010 Courses

The poll featured in the sidebar is geared toward identifying student interest in more advanced topics (not toward guaranteeing the offering of said topics); the majority of the options would be run under ENG 442: Topics in Linguistics.  Since none of these courses have been run before, I'm including course descriptions of the listed options in this post.  Please note that not all options for Fall 2010 courses are included in the poll (e.g., Structures of English, History of the English Language, Introduction to Linguistics); again, the poll is dedicated to the more advanced courses to identify areas of interest.

While none of the courses would have linguistic prerequisites, prior linguistic knowledge would be beneficial (if not necessary) for the following three topics: Corpus Linguistics, Historical Linguistics, and Comparative Linguistics.

Forensic Linguistics
Linguistic study of texts and recordings to determine authorship, evasion strategies, possible coercion in writings/recordings, stylistic changes, deception, and so on.  Linguistic tools include phonetic analysis, structural analysis, and word choice.  Texts analyzed include hate mail, suicide letters, ransom notes, and confessions; recordings include interviews, interrogations, and confessions.

Advanced Grammar
Advanced investigation of the concepts of grammatical form and function, including the application of labels such as noun, adjective, verb, subject, object, phrase, clause.  Study will also include discussion of the use of grammar in written and spoken language, the teaching of grammar in classrooms, the debates about grammatical change in current language, and the notion of standard language.

Examination of the facilities in the brain necessary for language comprehension and production, the process of first language acquisition, the mental processing of language, and the specific language disorders that result when language facilities (or the connections to them) are damaged.

Corpus Linguistics
Study of the tools available for collecting and analyzing data, and examination of current corpora available for research.  Students will learn to collect and create their own corpora, utilize existing corpora, and analyze data through corpus research.

Historical Linguistics (Diachronics)
Study of the types of regular language changes, the practice of internal and external language reconstructions, and socio-historical influences on language change.  Students will learn to identify types of language change through data from languages around the world and conduct research on socio-historical background of language change on a language other than English.

Language and Literature
Examination of linguistic tools and techniques and application of those linguistic devices to the study of literature, focusing on structural and semantic aspects.  Some examples include the representation of dialects in literature, stylistics, use of metaphor, verb selection, and genre differentiation.

Comparative Linguistics
Linguistic analysis of a set of languages or a language family, focusing on the differences and similarities in sounds and structures among the languages.  Examination of possible comparative methods and their application to data sets; analyses of phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics within language change, including sociohistorical variables.  No prior knowledge of the languages in question is required.

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