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: First year seminars

Ling 033 - Words, Words, Words: The Structure and History of English Words

Meggings. Perpendicular. Up. Ain’t. Eerily. Bae. The. These are all words in the English language, but, like all words, they have different meanings, functions, and social purposes; indeed, the meaning and function may be different for the same word depending on the context in which we use it (whether spoken or written). In this course, we explore the wonderful world of words. We look at how we create new words (and why), how we change the meaning of words, and how words have been lost (and revived) over time. As we do so, we look at debates over words and their meanings now (such as the feeling by some that ain’t is not a word at all) and historically (such as the distaste for subpeditals for ‘shoes’ in the sixteenth century), and how words can be manipulated to insult, hurt, and discriminate against others. We look at a wide range of texts by well-known authors (such as Shakespeare) as well as anonymous online bloggers, and we make use of online tools like the Google Ngram viewer and the Corpus of Historical American English to see how words change over time. At the end of the course, I hope you see how we make sophisticated use of words and how studying them opens up new ways for you to understand why other people use words the way they do and how you can use words for various purposes in your own speech and writing.

Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.

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

This course may satisfy a historical distribution requirement for English majors with permission from the instructor and the DUS. The English Distribution Request Form is available at https://english.yale.edu/undergraduate/deadlines-and-forms.

Professor: Peter Grund
Course Type: First year seminars
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: MW 9am-10:15am
Course Type: Introductory courses

Ling 110 - 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.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.

Professor: Jason Shaw
Course Type: Introductory courses
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: TTh 1pm-2:15pm

Ling 119 - How to Create a Language: Constructed Language and Natural Language

This course explores how languages get invented, drawing inspiration both from well-known constructed/invented languages like Klingon, Dothraki, and Esperanto, as well as from natural languages. Students learn about the primary linguistic aspects of natural language—Phonetics, Phonology, Morphology, Syntax, and Semantics—and learn how those aspects of grammar are used in various constructed languages. Students, working in small groups, create and describe a new language (or at least a fragment of a new language) over the course of the semester, using the principles learned in class.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.

Professor: Lydia Newkirk
Course Type: Introductory courses
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

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.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.

This course meets during the Reading Period: the week between the last week of classes and finals week.

Professor: Maria Piñango
Course Type: Introductory courses
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm
Course Type: Intermediate courses

Ling 200/600 - Experimentation in Linguistics

Principles and techniques of experimental design and research in linguistics. Linguistic theory as the basis for framing experimental questions. The development of theoretically informed hypotheses, notions of control and confounds, human subject research, statistical analysis, data reporting, and dissemination.

Prerequisite: LING 110, 117, 220, CGSC 110, or PSYC 110, or permission of instructor.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.

Professor: Maria Piñango
Course Type: Intermediate courses
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: W 9:25am-11:15am

Ling 212/612 - Linguistic Change

How languages change, how we study change, and how language relates to other areas of society. This seminar is taught through readings chosen by instructor and students, on topics of interest.

Prerequisite: LING 112 or equivalent.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.

Professor: Claire Bowern
Course Type: Intermediate courses
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

Ling 220/620 - Phonetics I

Each spoken language composes words using a relatively small number of speech sounds, a subset of the much larger set of possible human speech sounds. This course introduces tools to describe the complete set of speech sounds found in the world’s spoken languages. It covers the articulatory organs involved in speech production and the acoustic structure of the resulting sounds. Students learn how to transcribe sounds using the International Phonetic Alphabet, including different varieties of English and languages around the world. The course also introduces sociophonetics, how variation in sound patterns can convey social meaning within a community, speech perception, and sound change.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.

Professor: Jason Shaw
Course Type: Intermediate courses
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: MW 1pm-2:15pm

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.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.

Professor: Raffaella Zanuttini
Course Type: Intermediate courses
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: MW 11:35am-12:50pm

Ling 263/663 - Semantics I

ntroduction 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.

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 2022
Day/Time: TTh 11:35am-12:50pm
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.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.

Professor: Natalie Weber
Course Type: Advanced courses
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

Ling 261/661 - Current Trends in Syntax: Agree

Syntactic features like gender, number, and person can be expressed in more than one node in a syntactic structure. One example is subject–verb agreement (for example, Sabbi has/*have bought a car), where the fact that the subject is 3rd person singular is registered on the verb. In contemporary grammatical theory, the operation agreement phenomena like this is attributed to is called Agree. Beyond agreement, Agree is taken to be an operation that establishes a dependency between different points of a syntactic representation at a distance–that is, Agree can connect non-adjacent elements. This course is an investigation of this fundamental operation. We address questions such as the following: How far away can the elements connected via the operation Agree be? What are the structural conditions that must be met in order for Agree to apply? What is the motivation of this operation? Why would the faculty of language have such an operation? What are the morphological reflexes of Agree? How can languages be organized in a typology, based on their agreement patterns? Examining Agree also allows us to delve into the rich set of phenomena that underpin this operation.

Prerequisite: LING 253 equivalent experience.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.

Professor: Suzana Fong
Course Type: Advanced courses
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: TTh 1pm-2:15pm

Ling 280/680 - Morphology

What is a word? Do the things we put spaces around when we write correspond to anything in our mental grammars? How does morphology relate to phonology, and to other areas of grammar, such as syntax and semantics? To what extent do the principles governing the structures and forms of words need to be boxed off from other areas of grammar, and to what extent are they symptomatic of deeper principles which hold of the language faculty as a whole? This course aims to answer these and other questions by examining morphological phenomena from across the world’s languages, including English and languages which are (at least superficially) very different from it

Prerequisites: LING 232 (Phonology I) and 253 (Syntax I), or permission of instructor.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.
Professor: Suzana Fong
Course Type: Advanced courses
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: MW 11:35am-12:50pm

Ling 333/733 - Bridges between Formal Semantics and Historical Linguistics

The course seeks to bring together two sub-disciplines within linguistics: historical linguistics and formal semantics. Both of these sub-disciplines have evolved from distant intellectual fields: the first comes from the philological world, while the second has its origins in the world of mathematical logic. Recently, there has been a rapprochement between these fields dealing mostly with the study of changes of meaning, grammaticalization and reanalysis. This course aims to examine the research paradigms that attempt to integrate them and explore new methodologies for building bridges between them.

Prerequisite: Any introductory linguistics class.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.
Course Type: Advanced courses
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: MW 1pm-2:15pm
Course Type: Seminars

Ling 343/743 - Topics in Phonology: Models of Phonological Variation

Exploration of variable phonological phenomena and how they are best modeled, both within and across lexical items. Topics include gradient phonotactic knowledge and the nature of phonological grammar as well as the larger cognitive system in which it is situated.

LING 235 (Phonological Theory) or permission of instructor.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.
Professor: Natalie Weber
Course Type: Seminars
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: T 3:30pm-5:20pm

Ling 350/750 - Topics in Language Documentation: Technology

Using technology to support documentation for low-resource languages. Overview of linguistic diversity; techniques for language documentation; metadata; practical exercises in using javascript to create materials for analysis.

Permission of instructor is required.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.
Professor: Claire Bowern
Course Type: Seminars
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: Th 9:25am-11:15am

Ling 392/792 - From Morpho-Syntax to Meaning: Definiteness, Indefiniteness, Genericity

This course explores how individual languages encode the notions of definiteness, indefiniteness and genericity, and whether it is possible to predict such meanings when overt morpho-syntactic cues are absent. Languages with and without definite/indefinite articles provide critical test cases. Students read primary semantic literature on each of these three topics to get a solid grounding in the theoretical issues surrounding them. They also evaluate how empirical discoveries from different languages have shaped our understanding of the connection between morpho-syntax and semantics. The broader question considered here is the possibility of a restrictive theory of cross-linguistic variation in the interpretation of nominals.

Prerequisite: LING 263 or permission of instructor.

This course can be applied towards the Social Sciences Yale College distributional requirement.
Professor: Veneeta Dayal
Course Type: Seminars
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: W 3:30pm-5:20pm
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. 

Professor: Raffaella Zanuttini
Course Type: Senior requirements
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: W 4pm-5:50pm
Course Type: Graduate courses

Ling 519 - Perspectives on 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: Graduate courses
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: F 1:30pm-2:45pm (every other week)

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. 
Professor: Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl
Course Type: Graduate courses
Term: Fall 2022
Day/Time: W 3:30pm-5:20pm