Current LING 447 Course Offerings

Selecting a course

We are offering five 447 options in Winter 2024/2025. Each of the 5 seminars will cover different topics. Details about topics will be released in June.

These 447 courses are classified under 447E-001 (term 1) and 447F-002 (term 2), with two seminars for term 1 (447E-SM1, 447E-SM2) and three seminars for term 2 (447F-SM1, 447F-SM2, 447F-SM3).

In order to register for a 447 class, please first select your term (447E-001 or 447F-002) and then choose which corresponding seminar (SM1, SM2, OR SM3) you would like to take. You must enroll in both a section (E/F) AND a seminar section (1/2).

For example, a student could choose to enroll in 447E-001 and 447E-SM1. This is similar to the process of selecting a course section and then choosing a corresponding tutorial.

Current course offerings

Discover the current LING 447 courses offered by the Department of Linguistics for the 2024W academic year.

Term 1

The Language(s) of Stories

Course #: LING 447E-SM1
Days/times: Tues/Thurs 9:30am-11:00am
Instructor: Hotze Rullmann
Prerequisites: at least one of LING 327, LING 345, or LING 300 (or permission from the instructor)

Telling stories is a crucial part of what makes us human. Stories occur in a wide variety of genres, including fiction (novels and short stories), oral narratives, myths, legends, epic poetry, history, (auto)biography, and even jokes.

In this capstone seminar course, we will explore some of the linguistic mechanisms that are used in story-telling. These include tense and aspect (for instance, the “historical present” and the perfective-imperfective distinction), modality and evidentiality, deixis, quotation, clause-typing, obviation, logophoricity, etc. These linguistic devices all contribute to the internal structuring of stories, and help to convey the important but elusive notion of narrative point-of-view -- the sense that a story may be told as if viewed “through the eyes” of one or more of the characters.

One of the central concerns of the course will be the phenomenon of Free Indirect Discourse (FID). This is a narrative style that appears to mix elements of direct and indirect discourse, and conveys a strong sense of being “inside the head” of the main character. FID raises profound questions about the representation of “other minds”, point-of-view, deixis, context, and quotation, among other issues. Although it is often viewed as a strictly literary phenomenon, FID frequently occurs in less formal styles as well, including oral narration.

While the course will approach narrative linguistic devices mainly within the framework(s) of theoretical linguistics (semantics, pragmatics, and syntax), we will also consider interdisciplinary perspectives from fields such as literary studies, narratology, the philosophy of language, and cognitive science. Students from any of these areas are also welcome to take the course. (If you’re not sure whether you fulfill the course prerequisite, feel free to e-mail the instructor.)

Although much of the literature on narrative discourse focuses on English and a few closely related languages, one of the goals of the seminar is to expand our horizon by looking at the linguistics of story-telling in other languages. For their term project, students are encouraged to pursue empirical and theoretical research on stories in any language of their choice.

How to register for this course:

    1. First, register for LING 447E 001 (Lecture)
    2. Next, register for LING 447E SM1 (Seminar)

Communicating Linguistics

Sharing tools, findings, and perspectives from theoretical and applied linguistics beyond a specialist audience

Course #: LING 447E-SM2
Days/times: Mon/Wed 2:00pm-3:30pm
Instructor: Strang Burton
Prerequisites: None

It is increasingly recognized that scientists and researchers have a social responsibility to communicate findings from their fields beyond a narrow audience of specialists; however, this form of communication is a difficult skill, and one for which standard academic training may offer no preparation at all. The goal of this course is to explore how those of us with specialized knowledge in linguistics can master skills in science communication, and direct these towards important goals including promoting inter-disciplinary cooperation, informing social policy, and building public engagement with and understanding of the field.

Students in the course will explore readings, and later develop their own projects, focused on topics including good research communication, the role of linguistics in schools, how linguists can support community-led language programs, ways of communicating ideas from specific areas of linguistics, and communication in specific professional contexts including health care and law. We will, of course, also examine the work of some of the top linguistics communicators working today.

How to register for this course:

    1. First, register for LING 447E 001 (Lecture)
    2. Next, register for LING 447E SM2 (Seminar)

Term 2

Talking in Two Tongues

Course #: LING 447F-SM1
Days/times: Mon/Wed 11:30am-1:00pm
Instructor: Jahurul Islam
Prerequisites: LING 314 or LING 313

This course will explore the phenomenon of articulatory transfers in bilingual speakers, focusing on how speech articulation patterns from a first language (L1) influence the production of sounds in a second language (L2) and vice versa. While language transfer in speech is often discussed in the context of phonological features and acoustic characteristics, this course will emphasize the articulatory nature of such transfers. At a more general level, we will aim to understand how general bodily physiology can relate to the transferability between L1 and L2 in bilinguals. As part of the course, students will engage in collaborative research projects related to the course topics, completing a full project cycle from conceptualization to pre-publication manuscript preparation.

How to register for this course:

    1. First, register for LING 447F 002 (Lecture)
    2. Next, register for LING 447F SM1 (Seminar)

Course Title: TBD

Course #: LING 447F-SM2
Days/times: Mon/Wed 2:00pm-3:30pm
Instructor: Rose-Marie Déchaine
Prerequisites: TBD

Please contact the instructor for more information about the course and its prerequisites.

How to register for this course:

    1. First, register for LING 447F 002 (Lecture)
    2. Next, register for LING 447F SM2 (Seminar)

The Grammar of Gradience

Course #: LING 447F-SM3
Days/times: Tues/Thurs 3:30pm-5:00pm
Instructor: Marcin Morzycki
Prerequisites: LING 327 or 425

The basic building blocks of syntax and semantics are discrete. A sentence is either grammatical or it isn't and true or it isn't. Yet language is riddled with gradience. That can be seen clearly in the difference between 'somewhat tall', 'tall', and 'very tall'. It's also a crucial ingredient in comparatives like 'Floyd is taller than Clyde', superlatives like 'Floyd is the tallest', and excessive constructions like 'Floyd is too tall'. This sort of gradience is at the heart of degree semantics: the project of providing discrete analyses for gradient semantic phenomena by recognizing scales and degrees as part of the ontology of natural language. This seminar will explore how this has made it possible to analyze a wide range of gradient constructions across languages, including degree modifiers like 'hella' and 'totally', numerals and measure phrases as in '6 feet tall', extreme adjectives like 'gorgeous', gradability in nouns ('big idiot'), and many others. It is also in this area that some of the best theories of semantic variation across languages have taken shape, and it's an excellent proving ground for exploring subtle differences in the lexical semantics.

How to register for this course:

    1. First, register for LING 447F 002 (Lecture)
    2. Next, register for LING 447F SM3 (Seminar)