Graduate Linguistics Courses 2009-10:


LINGUIST 9500Y- Models & Methods in Linguistics - David Heap
Thursday, 12:30pm-2:30pm, room UC 138a
This seminar applies to 2nd year MA linguistics Graduate students.

LINGUIST 9620A Empirical issues in theoretical phonology -David Heap

Wednesday, 12:30pm - 3:30pm, room UC 317

A range of readings are used to examine development of phonological theory over a number of decades, from the early generative linear approaches to more recent non-linear alternatives. he emphasis is on the dynamics which drive change from one model to another, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of different  approaches in accounting for linguistic facts. Students explore a range of datasets from various languages to illustrate phonological processes and cross-linguistic typological patterns.

LINGUIST 9640A Morphology - Chet Creider

Tuesday, 1:30pm - 4:30pm, room UC 317

Morphology is the study of the internal structure of words, of the processes by which words are created, and of the relation of words and word-parts to meanings and to syntax. This course will survey some of the important phenomena which have been noted in the course of recent morphological research and the major approaches which have been proposed to deal with them. Where possible readings will be taken from the primary linguistic literature focussing on key articles and monographs.


Computational Linguistics - Robert  E. Mercer
A variety of structures found in natural language text (included syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic structures) will be introduced and computational methods used to uncover these structures will be investigated. The course will provide the necessary background.
Various tools and techniques will be presented. The student will research a topic of interest and present the findings in a presentation and a term paper. Other exercises will be given.

LINGUIST 9451B - Philosophy and Linguistics - Ileana Paul and Rob Stainton (cross-listed with Philosophy 9451) - View outline

This seminar will cover philosophy and linguistics as well as philosophy of linguistics. That is, it will address issues at the intersection of the two disciplines, as well as philosophical foundations of contemporary theoretical (broadly generative) linguistics.

The seminar will begin with a brief textbook-based introduction to linguistics in the generative tradition. Having arrived at some sense of what linguistics is, we will then consider in more detail philosophical issues about the discipline. This “philosophical foundations” section will focus on ontological and epistemological issues: What, if anything, do facts about natural languages supervene upon? What is the ontological status of natural languages, material, mental or abstract? Given the answers to the foregoing, what are the proper methods for investigating natural languages? We will read classic papers from Philosophy of Language, followed by a series of rebuttals by Noam Chomsky. The seminar will culminate in a component on intersections: “case studies”, drawn from Ray Jackendoff’s recent work, in which philosophy and generative linguists overlap. The topics will likely include the contribution of linguistics to theories of mental computation and representation, consciousness, action and social cognition.

Of interest to graduate students in both the linguistics and philosophy graduate programs, the course will not presuppose detailed knowledge of either discipline.

LINGUIST 9819B - Sociolinguistics - Jeff Tennant

This course offers students the opportunity to explore the research literature on a range of topics related to the study of language and society, including sociolinguistic theory and research methodology, the ethnography of speaking, the role of social variables (such as age, socio-economic status and sex/gender) in language variation and change, bilingualism and language contact, and language policy and planning. Students will be encouraged to carry out an empirical analysis of a set of language data, or an in-depth critical survey of the literature on a specific sociolinguistic topic, as part of their course project. The concepts studied will be illustrated using examples drawn from various languages, but the primary focus will be on sociolinguistic aspects of French, Spanish and English. The language of instruction will be English, however the graduate program in which a student is enrolled may require that she or he submit all written work in French or in Spanish. Where the student’s program imposes no such requirement, the student may choose to write in any of these three languages.

LINGUIST 9600B - Syntax - Ileana Paul


Goal of the course:
By the end of the course students should

  • feel confident reading formal syntactic literature
  • be able to apply theoretical analyses to original data
  • be able to critique and present research papers
  • feel confident about doing original research within the frameworks provided
  • be able to communicate their research results (in the form of abstracts, squibs, and oral presentations)

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