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Linguistics & Language Science

COLA-ENGL-371 Language, Dialects, and Identity 0502-447

This course is an introduction to sociolinguistic theory, application, and methodology with a focus on the US context. We will examine varieties of language that result from regional and social factors (gender, race, ethnicity and class). We will also explore the ways in which language is tied to our identity and marks our place in society as a result of such variation. Topics could include but are not limited to: dialects of American English, language and gender, bi/multilingualism, attitudes toward non-standard and standard varieties of English, and language policy (e.g. the movement to declare English the national language; African American English/“Ebonics”).

COLA-ENGL-470 The Evolving English Language 0502-449

Where do our words come from? Why does Old English look like a foreign language? What causes English to change? Is the English language evolving into Englishes? This course surveys the fascinating story of the English language and its context from its modest beginnings to its present status as a global language to answer such questions as these. Designed for anyone who is curious about the history and periods of the English language or the nature of language change.

COLA-ENGL-310-Introduction to Language Science N/A

This course introduces the basic concepts of linguistics, which is the scientific study of human languages. Students will be introduced to core linguistic disciplines (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics) and to principles of linguistics through discussion and the analysis of a wide range of linguistic data based on current linguistic models. English will often serve as the reference language, but we will discuss a wide variety of languages, including sign languages, to illustrate core concepts in linguistics. The course will have relevance to other disciplines in the humanities, sciences, and technical fields. Students will be encouraged to develop critical thinking regarding the study of human languages through discussions of the origins of languages, how languages are acquired, their organization in the brain, and languages' socio-cultural roles. Some other topics that will be introduced are: language globalization and language endangerment, language and computers, and forensic linguistics.

COLA-ENGL-351-Language Technology N/A

We will explore the relationship between language and technology from the invention of writing systems to current natural language and speech technologies. Topics include script decipherment, machine translation, automatic speech recognition and generation, dialog systems, computational natural language understanding and inference, as well as language technologies that support users with language disabilities. We will also trace how science and technology are shaping language, discuss relevant artificial intelligence concepts, and examine the ethical implications of advances in language processing by computers. Students will have the opportunity to experience text analysis with relevant tools. This is an interdisciplinary course and technical background is not required.

COLA-ENGL-482 Language & Brain 0502-463

This course introduces students to topics that illuminate the way language is represented in the human mind: neurolinguistics (where in the brain language is localized), the language “instinct” or innateness of language (how the human brain is biologically programmed for language), psycholinguistics (how language is acquired and processed), language and thought (whether our thoughts are controlled by the particular language we speak), language disorders (atypical language due to aphasia, autism, etc.), and language evolution (how language first evolved, from sign to speech). Students will read in-depth yet accessible research from the field (e.g. Stephen Pinker’s best-selling The Language Instinct) and will write on these topics in cognitive science. Guest speakers from other disciplines will appear in class throughout the term.

COLA-ENGL-481 Intro to Natural Language Processing N/A

This course provides theoretical foundation as well as hands-on (lab-style) practice in computational approaches for processing natural language text. The course will have relevance to various disciplines in the humanities, sciences, computational, and technical fields. We will discuss problems that involve different components of the language system (such as meaning in context and linguistic structures). Students will additionally collaborate in teams on modeling and implementing natural language processing and digital text solutions. We will program in Python and use the Natural Language Toolkit and related tools (such as Weka). Required previous coursework: Language Technology or a programming class (or a similar course with instructor’s consent).

COLA-ENGL-582 Advanced Topics in Computational Linguistics N/A

Study of a focus topic of increased complexity in computational linguistics. The focus topic varies each semester. Students will develop skills in computational linguistics analysis in a laboratory setting, according to professional standards. A research project plays a central role in the course. Students will engage with relevant research literature, research design and methodology, project development, and reporting in various formats. Prerequisite: Introduction to Natural Language Processing or instructor’s consent.


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