Courses

Courses

Course offerings for the current semester are listed below. For more details on each of these courses, view the Yale Course Search. For a full listing of our past and regularly offered courses, see the Yale College Programs of Study.

Course Type: Introductory courses

LING 101 - Introduction to English Words

Where do the words of English come from, and where do they go? When do words stick around, and when do they fade? What is the difference between informal speech and slang? This course introduces students to the study of language through the lens of English word structure, with occasional glances at the structure of words in other languages of the world. We study different ways of forming new words from prefixes and suffixes, as well from compounding, blending, and other more exotic processes. We study the sound structure of words and how they are used in sentences. We study what happens when English adopts words from other languages, and when English words are used in other languages, and how words change their sound, shape, and meaning over time. Finally, we discuss the different ‘effects’ that different words might have in conversation, and the issues that word choice raises in society at large. 

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Jim Wood
Course Type: Introductory courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 1:00p - 2:15p

LING 102 - Introduction to Language and Religion

This survey course examines topics related to how language structures intersect socially with concepts related to religion. Students develop tools to talk about how linguistic form and meaning reflect different properties of religion through building their knowledge of linguistics literature. Students demonstrate their ability to synthesize their own novel research that expand on current lines of research.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Roslyn Burns
Course Type: Introductory courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday 11:35a -12:50p

LING 110/510 - Language: Introduction to Linguistics

This is a course about language as a window into the human mind and language as glue in human society. Nature, nurture, or both? Linguistics is a science that addresses this puzzle for human language. Language is one of the most complex of human behaviors, but it comes to us without effort. Language is common to all societies and is typically acquired without explicit instruction. Human languages vary within highly specific parameters. The conventions of speech communities exhibit variation and change over time within the confines of universal grammar, part of our biological endowment. The properties of universal grammar are discovered through the careful study of the structures of individual languages and comparison across languages. This course introduces analytical methods that are used to understand this fundamental aspect of human knowledge. In this introductory course students learn about the principles that underly all human languages, and what makes language special. We study language sounds, how words are formed, how humans compute meaning, as well as language in society, language change, and linguistic diversity.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Claire Bowern
Course Type: Introductory courses
Term: Fall 2020
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday 11:35a - 12:50p

LING 112/512 - Historical Linguistics

Introduction to language change and language history. How do people use language, and how does that lead to language change over time: sound change, analogy, syntactic and semantic change, borrowing. Techniques for recovering earlier linguistic stages: philology, internal reconstruction, the comparative method. The role of language contact in language change. Evidence from language in prehistory (doing archaeology with language).

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Chelsea Sanker
Course Type: Introductory courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 4:00p - 5:15p
Course Type: Languages

LING 115/515 - Introductory Sanskrit I

An introduction to Sanskrit language and grammar. Focus on learning to read and translate basic Sanskrit sentences in Devanagari script.

No prior background in Sanskrit assumed.

1.5 credits for Yale College students

Professor: Aleksandar Uskokov
Course Type: Languages
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday - Friday 9:25 - 10:15a

LING 138/538 - Intermediate Sanskrit I

The first half of a two-term sequence aimed at helping students develop the skills necessary to read texts written in Sanskrit. Readings include selections from the Hitopadesa, Kathasaritsagara, Mahabharata, and Bhagavadgita.

After SKRT 120 or equivalent.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Aleksandar Uskokov
Course Type: Languages
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:30 - 11:20a

LING 150/500 - Old English

An introduction to the language, literature, and culture of earliest England. A selection of prose and verse, including riddles, heroic poetry, meditations on loss, a dream vision, and excerpts from Beowulf, which are read in the original Old English.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Emily Thornbury
Course Type: Languages
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday 11:35a - 12:50p

LING 327 - History of the Arabic Language

This course covers the development of the Arabic language from the earliest epigraphic evidence through the formation of the Classical ‘Arabiyya and further, to Middle Arabic and Neo-Arabic. Readings of textual specimens and survey of secondary literature.

Prerequisite: ARBC 140 and permission of instructor.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Kevin van Bladel
Course Type: Languages
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 1:00 - 2:15p
Course Type: Intermediate courses

LING 217/617 - Language and Mind

The structure of linguistic knowledge and how it is used during communication. The principles that guide the acquisition of this system by children learning their first language, by children learning language in unusual circumstances (heritage speakers, sign languages) and adults learning a second language, bilingual speakers. The processing of language in real-time. Psychological traits that impact language learning and language use. 

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Maria Piñango
Course Type: Intermediate courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 2:30p-3:45p

LING 219/619 - The Evolution of Language and Culture

Introduction to cultural and linguistic evolution. How human language arose; how diversity evolves; how innovations proceed through a community; who within a community drives change; how changes can be “undone” to reconstruct the past. Methods originally developed for studying evolutionary biology are applied to language and culture.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Claire Bowern
Course Type: Intermediate courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 9a - 10:15a

LING 220/620 - General Phonetics

Phonetics is the study of the physical aspects of speech, including the movement of the articulatory organs and the resulting acoustic signal. Students will learn to recognize, transcribe, and produce the sounds of the world’s languages. They will learn methods for visualization and analysis of speech acoustics and articulatory kinematics. The course will also explore connections between phonetics and other aspects of language, including phonology, cross-linguistic typology, and sound change, and provide introductions to speech perception and sociophonetics. 

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Jason Shaw
Course Type: Intermediate courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday 1pm - 2:15pm

LING 224/624 - Mathematics of Language

Study of formal systems that play an important role in the scientific study of language. Exploration of a range of mathematical structures and techniques; demonstrations of their application in theories of grammatical competence and performance including set theory, graphs and discrete structures, algebras, formal language, and automata theory. Evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of existing formal theories of linguistic knowledge.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Robert Frank
Course Type: Intermediate courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday 2:30pm - 3:45pm

LING 233/633 - The Literate Brain and Mind

The development of fluent reading and writing skills in children is essential for achieving success in the modern world, yet significant numbers of people from all languages and cultures fail to obtain adequate literacy outcomes. This course examines: 1) the genetic neurobiological and cognitive foundations of reading and writing, 2) how learning to read both depends upon and changes oral language systems in the brain, 3) how insights from cognitive neuroscience inform our understanding of teaching and remediation of language and literacy disorders, and 4) how all of this is both similar and dissimilar across contrastive written languages and diverse cultures. Students acquire familiarity with multiple brain imaging tools and what we need to do to deliver on the promise of neuroscience in education.

LING 110 or CGSC 110 is recommended, but not required.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Kenneth Pugh
Course Type: Intermediate courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday 9a - 10:15a

LING 253/653 - Syntax I

If you knew all the words of a language, would you be able to speak that language? No, because you’d still need to know how to put the words together to form all and only the grammatical sentences of that language. This course focuses on the principles of our mental grammar that determine how words are put together to form sentences. Some of these principles are shared by all languages, some differ from language to language. The interplay of the principles that are shared and those that are distinct allows us to understand how languages can be very similar and yet also very different at the same time.

This course is mainly an introduction to syntactic theory: it introduces the questions that the field asks, the methodology it employs, some of the main generalizations that have been drawn and results that have been achieved. Secondarily, this course is also an introduction to scientific theorizing: what it means to construct a scientific theory, how to test it, and how to choose among competing theories.

Professor: Raffaella Zanuttini
Course Type: Intermediate courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 11:35a-12:50p

LING 263/663 - Semantics I

Introduction to truth-conditional compositional semantics. Set theory, first- and higher-order logic, and the lambda calculus as they relate to the study of natural language meaning. Some attention to analyzing the meanings of tense/aspect markers, adverbs, and modals.

1 credit for Yale College students
 
This course can be applied towards the following Yale College distributional requirements:
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Social Sciences
Professor: Veneeta Dayal
Course Type: Intermediate courses
Term: Fall 2020
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 2:30p-3:45p

LING 271 - Philosophy of Language

An introduction to contemporary philosophy of language, organized around four broad topics: meaning, reference, context, and communication. Introduction to the use of logical notation.

1 credit for Yale College students

This course can be applied towards the Humanities and Arts Yale College distributional requirement.

Professor: Jason Stanley
Course Type: Intermediate courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 11:35a - 12:50p
Course Type: Advanced courses

LING 235/635 - Phonology II

Topics in the architecture of a theory of sound structure. Motivations for replacing a system of ordered rules with a system of ranked constraints. Optimality theory: universals, violability, constraint types and their interactions. Interaction of phonology and morphology, as well as the relationship of phonological theory to language acquisition and learnability. Opacity, lexical phonology, and serial versions of optimality theory.

Prerequisite: LING 232 or permission of instructor.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Natalie Weber
Course Type: Advanced courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday 11:35a - 12:50p

LING 241/641 - Field Methods

Principles of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics applied to the collection and interpretation of novel linguistic data. Data are collected and analyzed by the class as a group, working directly with a speaker of a relatively undocumented language. Discussion of ethics, linguistic diversity, and endangerment,

Open to majors and graduate students in Linguistics, and to others with permission of instructor. Students should have taken LING 232 or LING 220 and one other linguistics class.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Chelsea Sanker
Course Type: Advanced courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday 1:00p - 2:15p

LING 332/732 - Speech Planning and Production

How do the cognitive processes involved in speech production relate to linguistic structure, including the morphological and phonological structure of words? This seminar engages with this question by bringing together primary readings on (1) neurocognitive models of speech motor control and (2) language-specific phonetic patterns, as they relate to morphological and phonological structure.

Prerequisite: LING 220, LING 235, LING 236, LING 238, or permission of instructor.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Jason Shaw
Course Type: Advanced courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Tuesdday, 9:25 - 11:15a

LING 372/772 - Meaning, Concepts, and Words

A cognitive approach to the structure of meaning from the perspetive of the language system. The brain’s finite collection of stored concepts, which are combined and recombined via predetermined principles. The system of associating combinations of concepts with combinations of words and sentences to produce an unlimited number of novel thoughts.

Prerequisite: at least one course in linguistics, psychology, or cognitive science.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Maria Piñango
Course Type: Advanced courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Wednesday, 9:25 - 11:15a

LING 380/780 - Neural Networks and Language

An introduction to the computational methods associated with “deep learning” (neural network architectures, learning algorithms, network analysis). The application of such methods to the learning of linguistic patterns in the domains of syntax, phonology, and semantics. Exploration of hybrid architectures that incorporate linguistic representation into neural network learning.

Prerequisites: Python programming, basic calculus and linear algebra, introduction to linguistic theory (LING 106, 110, 116, 217 or equivalent).

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Robert Frank
Course Type: Advanced courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 9:00 - 10:15a

LING 519 - Perspectives in Grammar

This biweekly, in-person meeting of all first-year students is led by faculty members and TFs. Students are asked to reflect upon the content introduced in the courses they are taking and share their understanding of how these multiple perspectives connect with each other. The goal is to provide a forum where students can synthesize their views on the grammar of natural language and at the same time create a cohort experience for first-year students.

0.5 credits for Yale College students

Professor: Veneeta Dayal
Course Type: Advanced courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Friday 1:30 - 2:45p

LING 564 - Principles of Language Teaching and Learning

Introduction to the basic principles of second-language acquisition theory, focusing on current perspectives from applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, and psycholinguistics. Topics include language teaching methodology, communicative and task-based approaches, learner variables, intercultural competence, and models of assessment.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl
Course Type: Advanced courses
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Wednesday 3:30 - 5:20p
Course Type: Seminars

LING 278/677 - Semantics: Time & Possibility

What are the mechanisms by which natural languages “displace” discourse in terms of time and possibility space? An introduction to a range of temporal and modal phenomena as exhibited in natural language. We develop formal/model-theoretic tools based on intensional logics in view of better understanding the meaning of tense, aspectual and modal operators, the structure of these semantic domains, and their relation to other linguistic categories (including negation & evidentiality.)Pre- or co-requisite: LING 263/663 (or other introduction to formal semantics) or permission of instructor.

1 credit for Yale College students

This course can be applied towards the Humanities and Arts Yale College distributional requirement.

Professor: Joshua Phillips
Course Type: Seminars
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 1:00 - 2:15p

LING 344/744 - Prosody-Syntax Correspondence

This course explores how languages organize sounds into domains arranged within a hierarchical structure. Research over the past 40 years has shown that this prosodic structure often matches syntactic and syllabic structure, but mismatches can arise due to phonological pressures and restructuring. We examine several theories of the relationship between syntactic and prosodic structure by discussing primary literature and data from a range of languages. The course culminates in an original research paper on a topic chosen by the student.

Prerequisites: LING 232 and LING 253, or permission of instructor. Ling 235 is recommended, but not required.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Natalie Weber
Course Type: Seminars
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Tuesday, 3:30 - 5:20p

LING 365/765 - Semantic Change

Investigation of systematic change in the domain of semantics and pragmatics. Empirical phenomena include grammaticalization and meaning change in at least the domains of tense, aspect, and modality and negation, as well as intensifiers. Focus on reconciling recent literature on grammaticalization, typological research and historical pragmatics with formal semantic studies.

Prerequisite: LING 263 or permission of instructor.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Joshua Phillips
Course Type: Seminars
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Thursday, 3:30 - 5:20p

LING 379/779 - Syntax-Morphology Interface

Syntax and morphology are intertwined in many fascinating ways, and in fact, many current theories take the building of words, phrases, and sentences to involve the same mechanisms in the same modules of grammar. Whether this view is correct or not, there are many phenomena where the form of a word and the structure of a phrase or sentence interact in a way that deserves special attention. This seminar focuses on such phenomena. While there are many things that fall under the umbrella of this course (see possible term paper topics in syllabus), much of the class is devoted to cases where morphological syncretism makes a syntactic structure possible that otherwise would not be.

Prerequisite: LING 253. Either LING 280 or LING 254 would be a huge plus as well, but are not strictly necessary. Please contact the instructor if you have questions.

1 credit for Yale College students

Professor: Jim Wood
Course Type: Seminars
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Wednesday, 9:25 - 11:15a
Course Type: Senior requirements

LING 490 - Research Methods in Linguistics

Development of skills in linguistics research, writing, and presentation. Choosing a research area, identifying good research questions, developing hypotheses, and presenting ideas clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing; methodological issues; the balance between building on existing literature and making a novel contribution. Prepares for the writing of the senior essay.

1 credit for Yale College students
Professor: Raffaella Zanuttini
Course Type: Senior requirements
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Wednesday, 4:00p-5:50p