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Fall 2020

GER/LING 597 - Morphology: structure, acquisition, & attrition

Time: TR 9:05-10:20
Instructor: Mike Putnam
Course Description: Although the term and concept word is omnipresent is foreign language instruction and linguistic research, its attributes and functions are poorly understood. In this course we attempt to define the concept of wordhood through the formal study of its content, i.e., morphology. Developing a derivational approach, we will gain a better understanding of the structural properties of words and their relationship with other aspects of grammar (i.e., phonology, semantics, & syntax). Our discussion of the structural properties of words will aid us in enhancing our understanding of the acquisition (in both L1 and L2 contexts) and attrition of morphology.

LING 504 - Phonology

Time: TR 12:05-1:20
Instructor: John Lipski
Course Description: Phonology is concerned with understanding sound patterns in language. This course introduces current theories of the basic organizational units of phonology:  features, segments, autosegments, suprasegmentals, syllables, and words.  Special emphasis will be placed on the role of the syllable, feature geometry, and general non‑linear approaches to phonology.  Constraint-based phonology/optimality theory will be introduced as used in contemporary research paradigms. We will begin by studying the grounding of phonology in phonetics, including the fundamentals of acoustic, articulatory, and auditory phonetics. Students will analyze data in formal problem sets and we will examine particular problems through reading various journal articles treating the same topic from different experimental and theoretical approaches.

SPAN 508/LING 500 - Generative syntax

Time: TR 1:35-2:50
Instructor: Karen Miller
Course Description: This course serves as an overview of principle elements involved in the formal analysis of syntactic structure in natural language. Using a wide array of cross-linguistic data, we will explore which elements of syntactic structure are essential building blocks in the human language. The theoretical approach adopted in this course combines both formal and functional factors, and will function as an essential grounding for the combination of theoretical and experimental research moving forward. 

Spring 2021

SPAN 597 - Trends and topics in second language acquisition

Time: TR 9:05-10:20 a.m. 
 Manuel Pulido
Course Description: The course provides an overview of topics and theories in second language acquisition (SLA), with a focus on the linguistic and cognitive aspects of learning a language during adulthood. The course will explore in depth the specificities of adult language learning (as opposed to L1 acquisition) through topics that include age effects, input processing, salience and attention, implicit/explicit learning, error prediction and feedback, social interaction, desirable difficulties, and individual-based differences. While most readings will be provided, students will be responsible for exploring a linguistic topic of their interest and for contributing additional papers. Students will be encouraged to build on previous and/or current interests and to pursue them within approaches to second language acquisition.

SPAN 519 - Current statistical practice in language science

Time: TR 10:35-11:50 a.m. 
Instructor: Matthew Carlson
Course Description: This course is designed to help students become active participants in the use and development of quantitative data analysis in the language science community. Students will gain familiarity with basic statistical concepts and techniques as well as more advanced techniques that are commonly used in our field. More importantly, students will consider the motivations behind researchers’ choices in how to analyze their data, by reading contributions to the growing literature on quantitative methodology in language science, critiquing published work, and conducting their own analyses of published and unpublished data. The goal is to equip students with the tools to both begin analyzing their own data, and to expand their knowledge by critically examining current practice, and assessing new developments in our field. 

SPAN 509 - Functional Syntax

Time: TR 1:35-2:50 p.m. 
Instructor: Rena Torres Cacoullos
Course Description: In a usage-based perspective, grammatical structures are shaped by their frequency and discourse contexts, as domain-general cognitive processes are at work. In this course, the data to be accounted for are usage frequencies and the factors conditioning speakers' choices between forms with a shared grammatical function. Our objectives are for students (1) to sample approaches in this area--grammaticalization, typology, discourse-based syntax, construction grammar--and (2) to carry out an original quantitative syntactic analysis, developing corresponding argumentation. The report on this analysis should result minimally in submission of a conference abstract.

Fall 2021

LING 520 - Seminar in Psycholinguistics

Time: TR 9:05-10:20
Instructor: Giuli Dussias
Course Description: The exponential growth of the use of experimental methods in linguistic research has extended our ability to examine the cognitive processes underlying human language, thus making psycholinguistics an increasingly important branch of linguistics. In this seminar we will examine psycholinguistics through the lens of bilingualism. Bilingualism is of interest for a number of reasons. First, despite the prevalence of monolinguals in the United States, most people of the world are bilingual. To have a genuinely universal account of human cognition will therefore require a detailed understanding of the relations between language and thought in individuals who speak and understand more than one language. It will be essential that research on basic cognitive functions in bilinguals examine both the course and the consequence of second language acquisition. 

The primary goal of this course will be to introduce the core themes of psycholinguistics, using multilingual speakers as the case study. We will begin with issues concerning the acquisition of core linguistic levels, continue with lexical (e.g. how do multilingual speakers process cognates [piano] and false cognates [fin]?) and sentence processing (e.g. How do the two languages influence each other in predictive processing or when resolving syntactic ambiguity?), and finish with the cognitive neural consequences of bilingualism on general cognition, examining both production and comprehension throughout. A secondary goal for the course, is to help students become familiar with current experimental methods used in psycholinguistic and increasingly in traditional linguistic research, e.g. self-paced reading tasks, syntactic priming, eye-tracking methodologies, EEG recordings, and fMRI.

SPAN 597 - Usage-based approaches to Second Language Acquisition

Time: TR 10:35-11:50
Instructor: Manuel Pulido
Course Description: Usage-based approaches view linguistic knowledge as emerging from input experience and general cognitive mechanisms. This course explores second language learning and generalization, with a particular emphasis on the notion of constructions. By examining data from experimental methods and corpus linguistics, we will explore the question of how the distributional patterns of linguistic input affect the learnability of a second language. In problem sets, students will be introduced to essential skills for the computational analysis of text corpora (tagging; automatized extraction of n-grams, collocations, collostructions, etc.). Students will also complete an original project, analyzing the learnability of L2 constructions based on the quantitative analysis of linguistic data. 

SPAN 597 - Language Acquisition and Variation

Time: TR 12:05-1:20
Instructor: Karen Miller
Course Description: This course brings together research in sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and first and second language acquisition in order to prepare students to investigate how learners acquire and process sociolinguistic variation. The course will cover various corpus and experimental studies on the acquisition of variation and review how these studies inform models of L1 and L2 acquisition. 

Spring 2022

SPAN 510 - Spanish Descriptive Linguistics: Phonology

Time: TR 9:05-10:20
Instructor: Matt Carlson
Course Description: This is a second graduate course in phonology, with a primary focus on Spanish. Our primary goals will be to understand the Spanish sound system and to engage the field by generating and pursuing research questions that have the potential to contribute to advancing our knowledge of this topic. This is an ambitious goal. To achieve it, students will conduct focused explorations of the literature, generate research questions that build on our current knowledge, and seek answers to those questions. This will be done via mini-studies and assignments, presentations where students interpret and communicate their findings, and a final project that aims to contribute to the field both empirically and theoretically. Our goals are as much methodological as theoretical: we aim for a critical evaluation of how we know what we know about phonology. We will therefore stress the perspective and techniques of Laboratory Phonology. Familiarity with the basic concepts of phonology, and with the major schools of thought in phonology (from LING 504) will be assumed.

SPAN 597- Code-switching: a usage-based perspective 

Time: TR 10:35-11:50
Instructor: Rena Torres Cacoullos
Course Description: This seminar will provide an examination of codeswitching (CS), drawing on corpus- and lab-based methods. We will attend to bilinguals' linguistic experience and community norms as impacting the cognitive representation of language and thus linguistic structures.  We will address (1) linguistic concerns with constraints on CS by asking: Is CS favored at particular syntactic and prosodic junctures of the two languages? and (2) psycholinguistic concerns with the facilitation of CS by asking: Is CS predicted by "triggering" (either situational, e.g., by the interlocutor, or linguistic, e.g. by cognates)?  Rather than assume that bilingual patterns need be derivable from syntactic principles for monolingual grammar, our goal will be to identify bilingual CS strategies--quantitative preferences to switch at particular sites and structural adjustments for switching at dispreferred sites. Students will present and evaluate published articles; learn to extract and code CS data; and conduct a pilot study toward an original research proposal.