Courses offered in 2017-1018

Courses ending with suffix "A" or "Q" :Fall term 2017 (from September until December)

Courses ending with suffix "B": Winter term 2018 (from January until April)


Start Date: Sept 11, 2017
Time & location: Mondays 8:30-11:30am  Room 3305, Sommerville house Building

 *LINGUIST9500A: Course number reserved for 2nd year MA students only
**LINGUIST9501A:Course Number reserved for 1st year MA students only

Course outline

A seminar for all students in the Linguistics M.A. program. Its objectives are: orientation to the program, its faculty and the larger University; development of professional and scholarly skills; and increased familiarity with various linguistic methodologies. It encompasses four kinds of classes. There are orientation classes to make students aware of the resources available to them across the campus: e.g., libraries, databases, writing tutors. There will also be talks by faculty members, both to make students aware of the kind of research being done at Western, and to help them identify a potential supervisor for their Research Paper. These talks will also afford a survey of numerous research methodologies within linguistics. There will be workshop classes on professional skills such as: creating and maintaining an academic CV; drafting grant proposals and ethics protocols; compiling and formatting a bibliography; preparing abstracts and posters; applying to doctoral or professional programs; etc. Finally, second year students will be given an opportunity to practice presenting their work to a scholarly audience – whether it be a draft of their prospectus, a paper to be submitted for a conference, or what-have-you. Half course; one term.

LINGUIST9600A/4248A- Generative Syntax - Dr. Michiya Kawai
Start Date:
Time and Location: Thursday 9:30am-12:30pm room: UCC63

Critical analysis of the development of transformational generative grammar.  We first examine Chomsky’s (1957) analysis of English auxiliary system, and see how the earlier theory is developed into the current minimalist program.
The course will be conducted through lectures and classroom discussions based upon the reading materials, students’ individual research, videos and other materials.
Students are expected to actively participate in discussion and conduct their own research.  

FR9800A/LINGUIST9819A- Sociolinguistics: Language Variation and Change- Dr. Jeff Tennant
Start Date: Sept 12, 2017
Time and Location: Tuesdays 8:30am-11:30pm
, Arts & Humanities Building room 2R09

This course offers students the opportunity to explore foundational research as well as some of the most recent work on language and society, with a particular focus on the theory, methodology and findings of sociolinguistic research on language variation and change. Students will carry out an empirical analysis of a set of language data as part of their course project, or do a critical survey of the literature to argue a position on a given sociolinguistic topic. Through bibliographic research and a class presentation, they will progress incrementally in their research on their chosen topic throughout the course, and this work will culminate in a final paper. While some “classic” work in sociolinguistics will be read and reviewed, a significant proportion of our effort in the course will be devoted to studying some of the most recent research in the field. The language of instruction will be English but students have the option of submitting written work in English, French or Spanish. Students in French Studies graduate programs are required to submit all written work in French.

LINGUIST9640A - Morphology - Dr. Ileana Paul
Start Date: Sept 8, 2017
Time and Location: Friday 9am-12pm room AHB 2R09

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.

LINGUIST9709A/SP9720A - Second Language speech learning in context - Dr. Yasaman Rafat
Start Date: 
Time & location: Tuesdays 12:30-3:30 Room TBD

In this course we will examine some of the important topics in L2 speech learning. Various aspects of L2 speech learning will be contextualized within the fields of L2 phonological acquisition, psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics.


LINGUIST9622B/4247B - Phonological Analysis- Dr. David Heap
Start Date:
Time and Location: Thursday 9:30am-12:30pm Room UCC 54A

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. The 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/SPANISH9723B - First Language Acquisition - Dr. Joyce Bruhn de Garavito
Start Date: January 8th, 2018
Time and Location: Mondays 1:30pm-4:30pm Room: TBD

Most people assume there is no interesting problem in the acquisition of your native tongue. However, language is perhaps one of the most complex activities we engage in, and yet a child is able to acquire the necessary linguistic knowledge in around three years. How is this possible? What steps does the child go through? Using examples from different languages we will learn to think about the ‘miracle’ of acquisition, and try to understand how it is accomplished. Understanding L1 acquisition is particularly interesting for what it contributes to the nature/nurture debate.

Some of the questions we will be addressing are:
·      How do we test babies at very young ages for linguistic knowledge?
·      What do the results tell us about the infant’s capacity for language?
·      How does the infant able to extract words and morphemes from the stream of speech?
·      What is the role of input the child receives from caretakers?
·      What stages do we find in the process of language acquisition?
·      What differences are there between monolingual and bilingual development?

LINGUIST/SPANISH9724B - Language attrition - Dr. Yasaman Rafat
Start Date:
Time and Location: Tuesdays 12:30-3:30 Room TBD

Description coming soon

Lingusitics courses offered in other Departments:

PHIL9xxxB - Philosophy of Language - Dr. David Bourget
Start Date:
Time and Location:  TBD

This course will survey central themes in philosophy of language, including theories of reference, modes of presentation, propositions, and the semantics/pragmatics boundary.

ANTHRO9216B/4412G:- Advanced Research in Language and Society: Topic: Language and Power -Tania Granadillo
Wednesday, 10:30 am –1:30 pm, TBA

The purpose  of  this  course  is  to  examine  linkages  between  linguistic  practices  and  relations  of power,    drawing    primarily    on    techniques    of    linguistic anthropology    and    discourse analysis. Following Philips (1999) we will assume that the power of language lies in its capacity for  creating  the  world  and  that  this  capacity  can  be  explored  in  three  different  but  integrated ways:  in  the  structure  of  language,  in  face-to-face  interaction  and  in  its  connection  to  macro socio-historical processes.