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Linguistics

(For 2014–2015 academic year)

Associate Professor A.D. Nakhimovsky (Director)

Advisory Committee Aveni, Campbell, Davies, Garland, Hirata, Kelly, A.D. Nakhimovsky (Director), Ries, Stolova, Witherspoon

This academic minor focuses on the rigorous study of language from the perspectives of several contributing disciplines: the study of a specific language or language group in its contemporary condition or historical development; classical philology; philosophy; psychology and neuroscience; acoustic analysis; computer science. Students pursuing a minor in linguistics will encounter a wide variety of methodologies: careful data collection and classification, rigorous philosophical analysis, sociological surveys, psychological experiments, ethnographic and ethnolinguistic methodologies, and the writing of computer programs to analyze and interpret language data.

The themes addressed by the linguistics minor include the sounds of language; word structure and etymology; styles and dialects; syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of language; language acquisition by children and adults; language in society; language and culture, historical development and language families; language and mind; language and the brain; language processing by computer; psychological perspectives on language.

Minor Program

To complete the minor in Linguistics, the student must consult with a member of the advisory committee and/or the director to identify a course of study that includes five courses from the list below. The five-course minor will normally include one of the courses listed in section 1 and four courses from section 2, with restrictions as outlined below. The courses can be taken in any sequence:
1. One of the following courses:
  • CORE 115S, Brains and Tongues: How Do We Acquire Language?
  • CORE 140S, Language and Cognition
  • CORE 150S, Linguistics: Data, Theories, and Experiments
  • CORE 169S, Languages, Grammars, and Machines: The Complexity of Human and Computer Languages
  • LING/ALST 210, Speaking in Tongues: Linguistics, Language Learning, and Language Teaching
2. Four additional courses selected from among those listed below, subject to the following conditions:
  1. No more than two of the four courses can be taken in the same department.
  2. At least two courses must be at the 300 or 400 level. Only one of these two courses can be an advanced language course. In other words, all four courses may come from the Other Courses listed below, with two of them at the 300 or 400 level; or one of the four courses may be an advanced language course, and the other three from the Other Courses list, with one of those three at the 300 or 400 level. Only one course from the Other Courses list may be an independent study course.
Advanced Language Courses
CCHIN 303, Films and Broadcasts
CHIN 405, Reading Chinese Newspapers
FREN 361, Advanced Grammar, Style, and Conversation
FREN 401, Stylistics
GERM 341, Advanced Conversation and Composition
GREK 301, Greek Tragedy
GREK 302, Aristophanes
GREK 310, Homer
GREK 320, Herodotus
GREK 321, Thucydides
GREK 330, Greek Oratory
GREK 350, Plato
ITAL 301, Advanced Grammar and Composition
JAPN 301, Advanced Japanese I
JAPN 401, Readings in Japanese I
LATN 321, Livy
LATN 340, Roman Oratory
LATN 350, Roman Comedy
LATN 360, Roman Elegy
LATN 370, Ovid
LATN 380, Petronius
LATN 410, Tacitus
LATN 420, Lucretius
LATN 430, Lyric Poetry
LATN 440, Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics
LATN 450, Cicero’s Letters
LATN 460, Roman Satire
REST 303, Language and Fiction
REST 306, Advanced Russian
SPAN 361, Advanced Composition and Stylistics


Advanced language courses taken abroad on a study group also qualify with approval by the director.

Other Courses
COSC 430, Artificial Intelligence
ENGL 301, History of the English Language
ENGL 304, Introduction to Early Medieval Languages of Britain and Ireland
JAPN 411, Topics in Japanese Linguistics
PHIL 225, Logic I
PHIL 411, Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Language
PSYC 250, Human Cognition
PSYC 355, Language and Thought
SPAN 475, Spanish as a Global Language
SPAN 476, Linguistic History of Spain
WRIT 210, The Rhetoric of Style
WRIT 346, Language, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States
WRIT 347, Language and Gender

Descriptions of courses listed above can be found under appropriate departments.

Students pursuing the linguistics minor are strongly encouraged to undertake a capstone experience. This might consist of an independent study, a thesis presented at the annual end-of-year event, or both. In addition to the advisory board, the following faculty can supervise the capstone experience: Bruce Hansen (Psychology), Douglas Johnson (Psychology), Alice Nakhimovsky (Russian and Jewish Studies), Jay Swain (Music), Maura Tumulty (Philosophy), Barbara Regenspan (Educational Studies).

Course Offerings

210 Speaking in Tongues: Linguistics, Language Teaching, and Language Learning
A.D. Nakhimovsky
This course is an introduction to the linguistic principles behind language teaching and language learning. It is designed for students who are interested in how languages work, and also for those who plan to teach English abroad, or might find themselves needing to learn another language quickly, or communicate with people whose knowledge of English is limited. Among the topics considered in the course are phonetics, word structure, syntax, semantics, and the pragmatics of language use; linguistic typology (what kinds of languages are there? what structural patterns exist in what language groups?); and the methods of language learning and teaching, including those involving multimedia and the Internet. The course includes a language-learning unit in which the students learn the Jamaican Creole. The course may also include a service-learning unit, teaching an English-language class in the context of an existing ESL program in Upstate New York, or via distance education. Note: This course is not open to students who have completed CORE 115S, CORE 140S, or CORE 150S. This course is crosslisted as ALST 210.

391, 491 Independent Study