LIN: Linguistics

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 199. Transfer Credits. 1-10 Credits.

Transfer Credits.
Repeatable for Credit.

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, Writing Emphasis.
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 300. Language and the Internet. 3 Credits.

This course focuses on how language is used online and investigates different forms of electronically-mediated communication. Students will look at the language of text messaging, social media, and other genres of online interaction to understand both the structural and social functions of digital communication from a linguistic perspective. To achieve this goal, students will examine research from various sub-fields of linguistics, including semantics, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics. This course will also offer students practice in identifying a range of perspectives on ethical issues in linguistics pertaining to both researchers as well as citizens in online spaces. Coursework will involve not only learning about linguistic approaches to examining language online, but also learning to put yourself in another's shoes to investigate issues of ethical problem-solving. Students will be introduced to different ways of analyzing digital language data and will critically discuss various research methodologies used in the field and some ethical dilemmas that accompany doing linguistic research in the digital age.
Gen Ed Attribute: Ethics Requirement.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

LIN 332. Phonetics and Phonology. 3 Credits.

Introduction to the basic concepts of phonetic and phonological analysis in the world's languages. The aim of this course is to provide students with theoretical and practical skills in the scientific description and explanation of language sound systems. Areas covered include: the production and perception of sounds; the gestural organization of speech and theories of speech perception; the physiological and acoustic description of sounds; the IPA transcription system; and basic principles of phonological contrast, alternation and contrastive feature representation. It also covers applications of phonetics and phonology to other areas of linguistics: typology; sociophonetics; and historical linguistics; and the basics of phonetics and phonology in sign languages.
Pre / Co requisites: LIN 332 requires a prerequisite of LIN 230/ENG 230 or LAN 327 or introductory linguistics coursework at another university.
Gen Ed Attribute: Speaking Emphasis.
Typically offered in Fall.

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, and its development over the past fifty years reflects the interdisciplinary coalitions of scholars that have adopted it as a research methodology. 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.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall.

LIN 350. Semantics and Pragmatics. 3 Credits.

This course provides an introduction to the theoretical frameworks of Semantics (meaning in language) and Pragmatics (meaning in context). In the first part of the semester, we will focus on semantics, exploring how the meaning of a sentence or a phrase is derived from its parts. In the second part of the semester, we will focus on pragmatics and investigate how meaning is related to conversational context. We will investigate linguistic meaning and its role in communication, culture, society, politics, advertising, and literature. The course will explore the following topics: word and sentence meaning; logical semantics; thematic roles and lexical conceptual structure; presupposition, text organization, and implicature; reference, sense, and mental images; speech acts and implicature; deixis; relevance theory.
Pre / Co requisites: LIN 350 requires a prerequisite of ENG 230 or LIN 230.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

LIN 355. Computational Linguistics. 3 Credits.

Computational linguistics is a broad interdisciplinary field that incorporates tools, research, and techniques for processing language with computers at different levels of linguistic structure. This course will introduce you to some of the topics and tasks in computational linguistics that focus on linguistic structure. This class is designed with the expectation that students have a background in either linguistics or computer science, though not necessarily both, and will provide them with the necessary foundations in both of these disciplines in order to conduct their own research in computational linguistics.
Pre / Co requisites: LIN 355 requires a prerequisite of CSC 115, CSC 141, ENG 230, or LIN 230.
Typically offered in Fall.

LIN 373. Language Change. 3 Credits.

Introduction to the theory and methods in the study of language change and historical linguistics. Topics covered will include: reasons for language change; types of change (phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic); the comparative method and linguistic reconstruction; generative approaches to language change; usage-based approaches to language change; the relationship between language variation and change; historical sociolinguistics; dialect and language contact; pidgins, creoles, and the emergence of new languages; language attrition and language shift.
Pre / Co requisites: LIN 373 requires prerequisites of LIN 230, ENG 330, and ENG 331, or permission to register.
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.

LIN 412. Capstone Seminar in Linguistics. 3 Credits.

This course is a variable-topic research seminar entailing specialized studies in linguistics. The topic for each section will be announced before registration.
Pre / Co requisites: LIN 412 requires prerequisites of LIN 230, ENG 331, LIN 332, and LIN 350; or department consent.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.