Term: Fall 2019
LING 077 Mapping the Dialects of American English
We all know that languages have different regional dialects, and American English is no exception. But what are the dialects of American English, and how are they determined? Does every town have its own dialect, or are there broader patterns across larger regions? Are the patterns different for different demographic categories? Are there different dialect regions depending on gender? Race? How do we know where one dialect region stops and another begins? It turns out that there is no one answer to these questions. Moreover, the answers we find depend greatly on what aspect of language we are looking at. This hands-on seminar explores different ways of visualizing how language varies across geographical space, with a focus on dialect variation. Students study recent research discussing new techniques for analyzing geographic patterns of linguistic variation, and apply those techniques to survey data collected in recent years by the Yale Grammatical Diversity Project. Students develop their own mapping projects based on these data, and discover novel ways to visualize and analyze regional dialect variation. The course involves an introduction to some basic concepts in linguistics, as well as an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software.
LING 381 Argument Structure and Morphology
The intersection of argument structure and morphology. We study the ways that different argument structure configurations are reflected in the morphological shape of verbs (passives, causatives, reflexives, etc.), and how argument structure interacts with derivation, especially nouns and adjectives formed from verbs.
Prerequisite: LING 253 or permission of the instructor.
Term: Spring 2020
LING 254 Syntax II
This course continues the development of the “principles and parameters” approach to grammatical theory in Government-Binding theory and the Minimalist Program. We begin with a brief review of the architecture of syntactic theory, move on to an extended exploration of the mechanisms of dependency formation in syntax (including displacement, agreement, control, scope and anaphora), and conclude with a discussion of the nature of syntactic representation (constituency in double object constructions, the mapping between structure and thematic relations, the role of functional categories). Throughout, a major goal of the course is to engage in foundational issues by reading primary literature in syntax and applying theoretical concepts to novel data.
Prerequisite: LING 253.
LING 491 The Senior Essay
Research and writing of the senior essay under the guidance of a faculty adviser. Students present research related to their essays in a weekly colloquium.