Undergraduate Courses FAQ

Do any of the courses in Linguistics have a QR designation?

Yes: Mathematics of Language, Semantics ILanguage and Computation I and Quantitative Linguistics. Some seminars also have a QR designation.

Do any of the courses in Linguistics have a WR designation?

Yes: Syntax II and Evolution of Language and Culture. Some seminars also have a WR designation.

What is the difference between Intro to Linguistics and Cognitive Science of Language?

Both are sound options for introducing you to the scientific study of language, and providing you with a solid grounding to build on in future courses. Intro to Linguistics will be a systematic overview of the field of linguistics and give you exposure to different areas of linguistic analysis. Most of the semester will be spent studying sound systems (phonetics and phonology), word structure (morphology) and phrase/sentence structure (syntax). Broader issues involving linguistic variation will also play a prominent role, including dialect variation, prescriptive versus descriptive grammar, pidgin and creole formation, and the distinctly human nature of the language faculty.

Cognitive Science of Language will situate the study of language and linguistic structure within the broader field of cognitive science, and will explore different methodological approaches (including linguistic analysis, but also experimentation, neuroscience, computation) to the science of language. This course will cover the fundamentals of phonetics/phonology, morphology and syntax, and will prepare students for further courses in these specific subfields.

How is Language and Computation different from Natural Language Processing?

How does LING 227 Language and Computation compares to CPSC 477 Natural Language Processing, offered in the Computer Science department? This is an excellent question: these courses cover many of the same topics and use the same textbook. Nonetheless, they differ in a number of respects. First, Language and Computation spends more time on the linguistic aspects of computational linguistics, exploring the strengths and weaknesses of different NLP methods for the modeling of specific linguistic phenomena. Correspondingly, it spends less time on NLP applications such as question answering, text summarization, and machine translation. Next, it covers a narrower range of topics that CPSC 477, spending more time on each of the topics that are covered. Finally, although both courses require programming, the assignments in Language and Computation are perhaps a bit less intense in that respect.

Can I combine linguistics with another major?

Yes! The linguistics major has a fairly flat structure (that is, many of the classes do not have to be taken in a particular sequence). That makes it relatively straightforward to combine with another major. Students have double-majored in recent years in linguistics and a language/literature program (e.g. Italian, Spanish/Portuguese), Classics, ER&M, Computer Science, Economics, Psychology, Philosophy, English, and Mathamatics (among others). Please consult with the DUS for more information.

Where can I find information about the computing and linguistics major?

Information is available here.

Can I combine linguistics with Directed Studies?

Yes! However, since Directed Studies takes most of your courses for first year, it’s a good idea to take LING 110 (Language: Introduction to Linguistics) in the Fall or LING 112 (Introduction to Historical Linguistics) in the Spring. This will prepare you to take further linguistics classes in Sophomore year.

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Any questions about the undergraduate program can be directed to the DUS below.