Ling 104: Indigenous Languages of North America
This course explores the indigenous languages of North America, including their histories, linguistic properties, cultural settings, and the key social issues facing them in the 21st century.
North American indigenous languages show remarkable diversity in sound, structure, and social context, and each embodies a unique view of what it means to be human. Many different linguistic aspects of North American languages will be discussed, including the sound systems; person, number, gender and classification; the expression of time and space; and specialized grammatical phenomena like polysynthesis and reduplication. Social contexts of language will include performance, speech games, language change, language endangerment, and government policies.
Students will investigate and report on patterns and phenomena in a specific language, culminating in a final project and presentation that summarizes their research over the term. More generally, they will become familiar with basic concepts for studying human languages, appreciate the great diversity of indigenous languages in North America, talk with people who speak and study these languages, learn why and how these languages are endangered, and discover how indigenous communities are working to keep their languages alive.
Ling 351/751: Na-Dene languages
This course explores the Na-Dene (Dene-Eyak-Tlingit) family of indigenous languages of North America, which includes languages from Alaska (e.g. Tlingit), northern Canada (e.g. Dëne Sųłiné), western Canada (e.g. Dakelh), Oregon (e.g. Tolowa), California (e.g. Hupa), and the American southwest (e.g. Navajo). Topics addressed include historical and comparative research, phonology, morphology and syntax, and semantics, as well as some intersections between language and culture in the family. Students investigate and report on patterns and phenomena that are documented across multiple languages in the family, culminating in a final presentation and paper that summarize their research over the term.