Linguistics

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Linguistics 5301: Principles of Linguistic Analysis Fall ‘10 Professor: Nicholas Sobin 2-3 p.m. M-R, & by appt.

Office & hours: LART 113;

Formal class meetings: 4:30-5:50 p.m. M Open tutorials: 4:30-5:30 p.m. W Text: On-line materials including Amastae, Jon. A course in phonology. (Chs 1-4, and possibly 5) Sobin, Nicholas. Syntactic analysis: the basics. General description: For some of you, the ideas about linguistic analysis presented here may be new ones. For others not new to the study of linguistics, the course will review and amplify some key analytical concepts that you’ve worked with before. One goal here is to get everyone on the same footing for entering more advanced courses in linguistic analysis. We will ‘start from scratch’, so to speak, assuming very little, but then we will build quickly toward current ideas about the analysis of the grammatical systems of human language. One key observation about the character of human language sets the tone for the whole study. The question is this: How large is a human language? If by a ‘human language’ we mean the sentences/utterances that are possible in that language (e.g. the Spanish language is all that stuff that sounds like Spanish, etc.), then every human language is infinitely large. It must be that when children ‘learn a language’, what they really do is to learn its ‘grammar’--a finite system which can (re-)produce the language. Following this line of thinking, three key questions for linguistics are these: (i) how are human language grammars structured (that is, what are the elements involved and what are the rules of their combination); (ii) how does a child learn the grammar of a human language; and (iii) are there elements or rules of this grammar which are pre-programed/hard-wired? Linguistic theory seeks to answer these questions. These subsystems are not only of considerable interest in their own right, but also relate strongly to work in other areas such as sociolinguistics, speech pathology, cognitive psychology, computer science (computational linguistics/natural language processing), discourse analysis, and current issues and practices in language pegagogy, both native and foreign. So there is a potentially large benefit to understanding these subsystems. This course is a graduate-level introduction to linguistic analysis concerning the subsystems of phonetics (sounds themselves), phonology (pronunciation systems), morphology (word structure), and syntax (sentence structure). Of course, each of these is a very large area, and a single course could not do comprehensive justice to one of them, much less to all of them. However, there are some fundamental aspects of each that are essential to the further study of these areas, and it is these fundamentals which we will deal with here. Basic to the phonetic analysis of any human language are a phonetic alphabet, and the features of which sounds are composed. Basic to classic phonological analysis are the binary feature analysis of sounds, the notion natural class, phones, phonemes, allophones, phonological rules, phonemic vs. phonetic forms, markedness, and phonotactics. Fundamental to morphology are notions like morpheme, root, stem, affix, derivation, inflection, and word formation rule. And key to classic syntactic analysis are concepts like phrase (constituent), phrasal structure, argument structure, c-command, binding, movement, and parameters. At this point, some of these terms may be familiar to you and some may not. However, by the end of the course, you should have attained the goals below. Goals: In completing this course, you should acquire • knowledge of important terms, ideas, and structural concepts; • the ability to analyse and discuss linguistic structure within the theories studied;

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• an understanding of the arguments/motivations for particular proposals. Course format: The course will be offered in a hybrid format. Much of what would be class lectures will appear as...
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