Courses offered in 2014-1015


Start Date: September 5, 2014;  

Time & location:Fridays 2:30-5:30pm, Univesrity College room 288

 (0.25 credit);

 *LINGUIST9500Q: Course number reserved for 2nd year MA students only

**LINGUIST9501Q: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, data bases, 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.

LINGUIST9621A/SP9716A - Phonology - Dr. Yasaman Rafat
Start Date: Fall 2014
Time & location: Tuesdays 2:30-5:30pm University College room 288
course outline

Our overall goal is to examine phonological phenomena using methods from experimental phonetics, introduce you to important theoretical innovations and debates, and to strengthen your skills in instrumental and modeling techniques related to the study of sound structure. We will explore topics in speech production, acoustics, and perception centered on the broad theme of variation. These topics will be illustrated with experimental studies in sound variation and second language acquisition.

LINGUIST9819A/FR9800A/SP9717A- Sociolinguistics- Dr. Jeff Tennant
Start Date: September 12, 2014
Time & Location: Fridays 10:30am-1:30pm,  Old Ivey Building room 2R 09
course outline

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.

LIS9733A- Multilingual Information Access - Dr. Victoria Rubin
Start Date: TBA
Time and Location: TBA

Course Descritption

LINGUIST9237A/ANTH3237A- Linguistic Field Techniques -Dr. Tania Granadillo
Start Date: Fall 2014
Time & Location: Tuesday 1:30pm until 2:30pm & Thursday 12:30pm until 2:30pm  in University Community Center (UCC) room 63 


Students elicit and record linguistic data from a native speaker of a designated language and then study its phonological and lexical-grammatical systems.  Selected aspects of the language are analyzed in terms of current problems in linguistic theory. Half course (0.5); one term

LINGUIST9453B/PHIL9614B/4210G-Survey of Philosophy of Language -Dr. Robert Stainton
Start Date: January 2015
Time & location: Tuesday 11:30am-2:30pm, Stevenson Hall Building, room 1145

An advanced introduction to contemporary Philosophy of Language in the Analytic Tradition. Topics addressed will include: sense and reference; meaning, truth and modality; linguistic meaning and mental representation; semantic indeterminacy and context sensitivity; speech acts; the semantics-pragmatics boundary. The course will be built around canonical readings from key figures such as J.L. Austin, D. Davidson, K. Donnellan, J. Fodor, G. Frege, H.P. Grice, S. Kripke, W.V.O. Quine, B. Russell, J.R. Searle, P.F. Strawson, and L. Wittgenstein.

LIS9732B- Language and Computer Technologies for Libraries and Beyond - Dr. Victoria Rubin
Start Date: January 13, 2015
Time and Location: Tuesday, 9am-11:50am,  North Campus Building (NCB) 295

Course outline

The course is an introduction to Natural Language Processing (NLP). I describe it as "a gentle transition from a humanities background towards a more technologically oriented way of thinking".
More information is available at   
and more formally at

EDU9538B/FRENCH9840B -Minority Languages Issues- Dr. Shelley Taylor
Start Date: January 2015
Time & location: Monday 6:30 -9:30pm, Faculty of Education Building (FEB) room 2025
course outline

The objectives of this course are to introduce students to principles of minority language learning and teaching, identify issues which often arise in different settings, and raise students' awareness of the how beliefs, assumptions and educational structures may shape minority language students' educational experiences.

Half course; one term Cross-listed with French

CS/LINGUIST9660B Computational Linguistics - Dr. Robert Mercer
Start Date: January 2015
Time & location: TBA

Modern computational linguistics uses a variety of techniques to process human language. In this graduate level introduction to this subject we will investigate a number of these techniques. They include finite state automata and finite state transducers applied to words; n-grams and part of speech tagging to connect words to grammar; grammars to describe the syntactical structure of sentences; parsers that use these grammars to generate the structure; the semantics of words and sentences; and discourse.

Half course; one term

LINGUIST9603B/SP9699B - Comparative Syntax: Non-Indoeuropean Languages- Dr. Joyce Bruhn de Garavito
Start Date:Winter 2015
Time & location:Friday 10:30-1:30 Univesrity College room 207
Course Outline

The objectives of this course are to introduce students to principles of minority language learning and teaching, identify issues which often arise in different settings, and raise students' awareness of the how beliefs, assumptions and educational structures may shape minority language students' educational experiences. Half course; one term

LINGUIST9707B/SP9707B-Research Methods and Statistics- Dr. Silvia Perpiñan
Start Date: Winter 2015
Time & Location: Wednesdays 2:30- 5:30pm Social Science Centre room 1000

Course Outline

This graduate course is an introduction to research design, data handling, and statistics in linguistics projects, with special emphasis on quantitative second language research. We will explore the general concept of research questions and how to design an experiment according to our hypotheses. Data collection, handling, analysis, and interpretation will be covered, as well as an introduction to basic statistical concepts and tests in SPSS.

Course Outcomes: After this course, students will be able to:

1- Understand and evaluate the appropriateness of the methodology and statistical analysis when reading a research paper.
2- Formulate research questions and hypotheses in language studies.
3- Design their own experimental tests according to their research questions.
4- Handle quantitative data and perform basic statistical tests on them.
5- Be familiar with the American Psychological Association style and write a paper according to its general guidelines.
6- Be familiar with data entering in SPSS, and its outputs.