Linguistics (LIN)

College of Arts and Humanities

How to Read Course Descriptions

LIN 130. The World's Languages. 3 Credits.

Language diversity is a central part of the human experience. How many languages are there in the world, where are they spoken, and where do they come from? Why are some languages very similar, while others are very different? Why have some languages disappeared, while other languages are thriving? This course presents a general survey of language diversity in the world from the perspectives of language structure, language use, and language history. The core of the semester consists of a panoramic view of the world's main language families and the main languages in each of them. Other topics covered include: the origin of language among humans; language fragmentation and the birth of languages; language families; language contact; language endangerment and death; the main writing systems; and the meaning of bilingualism and multilingualism.
Gen Ed Attribute: Humanities Distributive Requirement.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

LIN 140. Language, Power, and Ideology. 3 Credits.

This course investigates the relationship between language and power as it is manifested in a variety of contexts. It examines the discourse of politics, the language of advertising and journalism, and the discourse of institutions and organizations to uncover ideological biases towards socioeconomic class; sexuality and gender; and race, ethnicity, and age. It also examines how these marginalized groups resist oppression and use language as an agent to speak against and subvert exclusion and discrimination in the United States and globally. Students will look at marginalized groups, including women, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, speakers of low prestige dialects, such as Pittsburghese and African American English, and low prestige languages, such as creoles and pidgins, and they will examine how these groups use language to resist and subvert dominant ideologies. The course aims to introduce students to the basic principles of critical discourse analysis, critical stylistics, and sociolinguistics, enabling them to conduct their investigations of issues related to language and power as well as foster an informed and reasoned openness to, and understanding of, difference.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement, Humanities Distributive Requirement.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

LIN 211. Language Communities in the US and Canada. 3 Credits.

Exploration and analysis of how aspects of language usage (dialect, "accent," bilingualism) relate to language-based discrimination in the U.S. and Canada generally. Emphasis is on bias, discrimination, and profiling based on race, class, gender, religious affiliation, and ethnicity. Examples will be drawn from mainstream media, including popular film and television.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

LIN 230. Introduction to Linguistics. 3 Credits.

Basic concepts of language description, classification, change, reconstruction, dialectology, and sociolinguistics.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.
Cross listed courses ENG 230, LIN 230.

LIN 333. Conversation Analysis. 3 Credits.

How do people use language to communicate and accomplish social action? This course will introduce students to the field of conversation analysis, a branch of discourse analysis that focuses on the structural organization of naturally occurring talk. Though initially developed as a sociological framework for examining the production of social order in everyday life, conversation analysis is a widely used research methodology in linguistics, communication studies, social psychology, and other allied fields. Students in this course will learn to look beyond the commonsense or stereotypical answers to questions about how and why we behave as we do and will learn specific details of ways in which speakers use language to accomplish mundane activities of everyday life and institutional tasks. This class will also introduce the role of some nonverbal behavior and ecology (including gesture, eye gaze, head nods and shakes, and features of the surrounding environment) in accomplishing mutual understanding and negotiating relationships.
Typically offered in Spring.

LIN 380. Language & Culture. 3 Credits.

This course provides a comprehensive overview of anthropological approaches to the study of language, culture, and society. Topics of study include anthropological theories of language, linguistic relativity, language diversity and inequality, language shift, and the creative use of language in performance. Students also will gain experience conducting original research on the social and interactional role of language in our everyday social life.
Pre / Co requisites: LIN 380 requires a prerequisite of ANT 102 or ENG 230.
Typically offered in Fall.
Cross listed courses ANT 380, LIN 380.

LIN 411. Seminar Linguistics. 3 Credits.

Specialized studies in linguistics. Topics announced annually.
Pre / Co requisites: LIN 411 requires prerequisite of LIN 230 or LAN 327.
Repeatable for Credit.