DirectorY. Hirata
PROGRAM SITE

This 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, and 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.

Courses

Explores how infants and adults acquire native and foreign languages. What goes on in the brains of new-born infants before they discover the meanings of words? What might be the linguistic and social consequence of acquiring an English dialectal accent, distinguishing or not distinguishing between Mary, merry, and marry? Why do some adults succeed in learning a second language, while others do not? Why are some Japanese unable to tell the difference between rice and lice? When a girl had no contact with a language speaking community, is she able to acquire her first language after puberty? Are bonobo chimpanzees able to learn human language? Students read books and articles that address these issues, watch films and have some direct experience of learning a difficult second language. Physiological, linguistic, psychological, and social factors that determine whether one succeeds or fails to acquire native and foreign languages are discussed.

Logic is the science of correct reasoning. It provides rigorous methods for evaluating the validity of arguments. This introductory course covers the basic concepts and techniques of propositional logic and first-order predicate logic with identity, including truth tables, proofs, and elementary model theory.

Structured as an intensive composition class. Emphasis is placed on mastering the fine points of Spanish grammar in order to improve writing skills. In addition to regular class meetings, students are required to attend a series of cultural events, which may include film, theater, etc. Language Placement Guidelines