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Four-week Session

Four-week Session

  • Introduction to Pragmatics

    Craige Roberts

    We’ll consider an integrated general approach to the study of the role of context in interpretation.  Beginning with a model of discourse context based on work by Stalnaker (1979), Lewis (1979), and Roberts (1996), we’ll consider how this notion of context can be integrated into a dynamic semantics, one in which context is updated in the course of compositional interpretation.  In the course of this investigation, we’ll consider some classical issues in pragmatics which are currently under intensive investigation in the literature, including scalar implicatures, exhaustiveness and embedded

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  • Introduction to Semantics

    Chris Kennedy

    This course provides an introduction to the goals and methods of formal semantics, and to some of the core empirical phenomena and questions that drive contemporary research in this area. Topics to be addressed include patterns of inference (entailment vs. implicature vs. presupposition), compositionality and the syntax-semantics interface, ambiguity, intensionality and subjectivity. Topics will be explored through lectures, readings (available online) and problem sets.

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  • Introduction to Sociolinguistics

    Penelope Eckert

    This course will introduce students to socially patterned variation in language, bringing together the insights of sociology and linguistic anthropology with quantitative linguistic data. With the goal of understanding the nature of meaningful variability in social practice, we will examine variability at all levels – from the macro-sociological to the micro-interactional, and from language choice to subtle phonetic variation. The focus will be on the construction of meaning through variability, with an emphasis on phonological variation. 

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  • Introduction to Syntax

    David Pesetsky

    This elementary-level course will acquaint you with some of the important results and ideas of the last half-century of research in syntax. We will explore a large number of issues and a large amount of data so that you can learn something of what this field is all about — emphasizing ideas and arguments for these ideas in addition to the the details of particular analyses. Though there are various approaches to syntax under active investigation, this class will highlight one particular approach, sometimes called Principles and Parameters syntax.

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  • Language and Law

    Lawrence Solan

    During the past half century, enormous strides have been made by linguists, philosophers and cognitive psychologists in coming to an understanding of the human language faculty.  Some of this progress has direct implications for the legal system.  This course is designed to study some of the most interesting of these interactions.  In particular, we will ask how this learning should cause us to question some of the tacit assumptions about language that are embedded in the law, and how knowledge about the human language faculty can bear directly on the resolution of disputes within the legal

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  • Language and Memory

    Philip Hofmeister

    Memory is an integral part of language comprehension. A firm grasp of language processing therefore calls for an understanding of general theories of memory and the data they are built upon, including data that has historically motivated the fractionation of memory along various lines (time, modality, task, etc). These proposed fractionations have, in turn, affected how linguists conceive and discuss memory retrieval during language processing.

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  • Language Contact

    Pattie Epps

    This course considers the phenomenon of language contact from both structural and sociocultural angles. We will investigate the processes and patterns involved in lexical and structural borrowing, the formation of new contact varieties such as creoles and mixed languages, and the role of contact in driving and shaping language change. We will take a close look at the dynamics of specific contact zones, most notably the Vaupés region of the northwest Amazon.

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  • Language in Social and Cultural Context

    Michael Silverstein

    Language contextualized as social action and as a medium of cultural knowledge and value.  The semiotics of 'interaction ritual' (Goffman): How "what one says" projects as "what one comes to have done" in discursive interaction.  Denotation and the pragmatics of language: indexicality in the entextualization/contextualization process.  The specifically socio-cultural component of "knowledge of language" and the sociolinguistic division of denotational labor.  Heteroglossia (Bakhtin) and language variation: semiotic processes of enregisterment in relation to sociolinguistic variation.  Cultu

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  • Language Variation and Thought

    John Lucy

    This course explores research on the significance of language variation in shaping thought.  The first unit of the course provides introduces historical and conceptual perspectives on the relation of language and reality that continue to shape our understanding of language variation and surveys early work in anthropology (Boas, Sapir, Whorf) and psychology (Brown, Lenneberg, Carroll) linking language variation to thought.

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  • Language, Gender and Sexuality

    Rusty Barrett

    This course presents an overview of current research on language, gender and sexuality, emphasizing work across a wide range of linguistic and cultural contexts. We will first examine cross-linguistic variation in categories related to gender and sexuality and linguistic variation in representations of gender and sexual differences. We will then examine gendered variation within specific languages and gendered patterns of conversational interaction. The course will then turn to the role of language in regulating sexual markets and understandings of the body.

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  • Lexical Semantics

    John Beavers

    The goal of this course is to explore theories of the lexical semantic underpinnings of grammar, focusing on (a) how word meanings can be classified and decomposed, (b) how subcomponents of lexical meaning interact to form more complex meanings, (c) how lexical meaning determines and is determined by the word's syntactic and morphology properties, and (d) how languages vary in the relationship of lexical meaning and grammar.  The semantic and grammatical properties of verbs, nouns, and adjectives will be especially central, with an emphasis on the truth conditional basis for the link betwee

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  • Lexicalist Approaches to Syntax

    Stephen Wechsler

    In lexicalist approaches to syntax, words are equipped with information about the way they combine with other constituents and the meaning of the resulting combination.  The lexicon also encodes the systematic relations between word forms, such as voice alternations and derivational cognates. There are no syntactic transformations mapping one sentence structure to another.  This course is an introduction to two important lexicalist frameworks, Lexical-Functional Grammar and Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar. 

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  • Second Language Acquisition

    Silvina Montrul, Tania Ionin

    Second language acquisition refers to the acquisition of another language after the foundations of the native language are in place. This course will cover second language acquisition of different linguistic domains (syntax, semantics, phonology, morphology), by both child and adult learners. The topics covered will include: the linguistic nature of interlanguage grammars; age effects and the Critical Period Hypothesis; L1 transfer, fossilization, and access to Universal Grammar in second language acquisition; and second language processing.

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  • Sentence Processing

    Lyn Frazier

    This course will cover the basics of adult sentence processing. Beginning with a discussion of foundational assumptions, the course will then take up phrase structure parsing, gap-filling, islands, and ellipsis. It will end with a discussion of the role of Question Under Discussion (Roberts, 2012) and implicit QUD in processing.

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  • Sociophonetics

    Lauren Hall-Lew, Jennifer Nycz

    This course will examine the social aspects of phonetic variation, paying particular attention to the relationship between method and theory. The course will introduce students to the field through a survey of contemporary research, drawing on studies from variationist sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, and laboratory phonology. Basic methods for studying the production of different types of phonetic variables (vowels, consonants, voice quality, and prosody) will be introduced to give students the foundational tools for conducting sociophonetic work.

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  • Syntax-Phonology Interface

    Caroline Féry

    A number of approaches to the syntax-prosody interaction will be introduced and compared: the transformational and cyclic approach of Chomsky & Halle, prosodic hierarchy, edge-based/alignment theory and recursive mapping will serve as main theoretical models. At the same time, different kinds of languages-intonational languages, tone language, phrase-based languages-will be investigated for their properties at the syntax-prosody interface, so that universals and language-specific phenomena can be kept apart.

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  • The Emergence of Hybrid Grammars: Pidgins, Creoles, and Beyond

    Enoch Aboh

    Children are extremely gifted in acquiring their native languages, but languages nevertheless change over time. Why does this paradox exist? In this course, we address this question by studying pidgin and creole languages. More precisely, we examine how, in a situation of contact, syntactic and semantic features of different language types or varieties may recombine into a new emergent linguistic system.

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  • The Evolution of Language from an Ecological Perspective

    Salikoko Mufwene

    The subject matter of the phylogenetic emergence of language in mankind preoccupied many philosophers and philologists from Antiquity to the mid-19th century, when La Société de linguistique de Paris imposed a ban on it in 1866. The ban has been ignored since the late 20th century. Speculations and publications have increased substantially, leading also to the emergence of what some now call evolutionary linguistics as a research area.

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  • The Structure of the Dene (Athabaskan) Verb

    Keren Rice

    Dene (Athabaskan) languages are well known for their complex verb morphology, being analyzed as a verb stem that is potentially preceded by a large number of prefixes. Traditionally treated as templatic in structure, in Rice 2000 I argue that semantic scope plays a major factor in the order of the morphemes. In this course we examine phonological and syntactic factors in addition to the semantic that play a role in determining the order of morphemes in the verb, looking both at particular languages and across the family.

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  • Topics in Algonquian Morphology and Syntax

    Amy Dahlstrom, Monica Macaulay

    This course focuses on several topics in the complex morphology and nonconfigurational syntax of languages of the Algonquian family, including issues and controversies arising in the traditional analysis of the tripartite or bipartite verb stems, the syntactic role played by many of the derivational verbal suffixes, and recent syntactic analyses of Algonquian derivational morphology.  The course will also present the complex inflectional system of Algonquian verbs, including the controversial topic of inverse verbs, and an overview of word order issues (e.g.

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