Tag Archives: Intro
Articulatory Phonetics

Pat Keating – University of California, Los Angeles
Course time: Tuesday/Thursday 1:30-3:20 pm
2330 Mason Hall

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How can speech sounds be described in terms of their articulations, so that not only contrasts but also small phonetic differences can be understood? This course will cover selected topics related to the articulation of speech sounds, probably including:  the articulatory framework of the IPA;  articulatory descriptions of languages, such as in Ladefoged and Madieson’s Sounds of the World’s Languages (1996); aerodynamic data and modeling for different sound types; phonation types, including high-speed imaging of the glottis, electroglottography, and acoustic analysis; articulatory strengthening and prosodic structure; coarticulation.


Historical Linguistics

Andrew Garrett – University of California, Berkeley
Course time: Monday/Wednesday 9:00-10:50 am
2336 Mason Hall

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This course provides a very basic introduction to core topics in historical linguistics, appropriate for beginning graduate students or advanced undergraduates who have not taken a previous course on the subject. The following topics will be surveyed: patterns and causes of phonological change (week 1), morphological change (week 2), and syntactic and semantic change (week 3); and methods of reconstruction, determining relatedness and subgrouping, and patterns of diversification (week 4).

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Introduction to Computational Linguistics

Jason Eisner – Johns Hopkins University
Course time: Tuesday/Thursday 1:30-3:20 pm AND Friday, June 28 1:00-5:00 pm
1401 Mason Hall

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This class presents fundamental methods of computational linguistics. We will develop probabilistic models to describe what structures are  likely in a language.  After estimating the parameters of such models,  it is possible to recover underlying structure from surface  observations. We will examine algorithms to accomplish these tasks.

Specifically, we will focus on modeling
  • trees (via probabilistic context-free grammars and their relatives)
  • sequences (via n-gram models, hidden Markov models, and other probabilistic finite-state processes)
  • bags of words (via topic models)
  • lexicons (via hierarchical generative models)
We will also survey a range of current tasks in applied natural  language processing.  Many of these tasks can be addressed with  techniques from the class.
Some previous exposure to probability  and programming may be helpful.  However,  probabilistic modeling  techniques will be carefully introduced, and programming expertise will  not be required.  We will use a very high-level language (Dyna) to  describe algorithms and visualize their execution.
Useful related courses include Machine Learning, Python 3 for  Linguists, Corpus-based Linguistic Research, and Computational  Psycholinguistics.


Introduction to Minimalist Syntax

Norbert Hornstein – University of Maryland
Course time: Monday/Wednesday 1:30-3:20 pm
2306 Mason Hall

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This course will be built around novel analytic techniques made available with the adoption of minimalist assumptions.  As novelty is best appreciated against the background of what is conventional, there will be some retrospective glances, with an eye to understanding both what is new and what is continuous with earlier approaches.  To ground the discussion empirically, we will concentrate on the following “hot” areas:

  • Phrase Structure
  • Control and Binding
  • Parasitic Gaps
  • Sidewards Movement
  • Multiple Interrogation and Superiority
  • Multiple Spell Out , Cyclicity, Islands and Ellipsis
  • Existential Constructions

The main idea will be to introduce the central concepts of Minimalism in the context of analyses of these kinds of phenomena.  The minimalist concepts we will discuss include:

    • Bare phrase structure, labels
    • Merge, Internal and External
    • Chain Uniformity
    • Economy, Merge-over Move
    • Relativized Minimality, minimal-domains, Minimal Link Condition
    •  Extension, Virus Theory
    • Bare Output Conditions
    • Levels, Interfaces
    • Last Resort and Greed
    • Linearization
    • Features, Interpretability, Valuation
    • Agree, Probes, Goals
    • Phases
    • Copy Theory and Reconstruction

Topic by Topic:

How To Build A Simple Sentence: For the beginning of classes read Chapter 3 of The Minimalist Program, and Bare Phrase Structure

    1. Merge, External/Internal
    2. Label
    3. Case, minimality and minimal domains, S-structure
    4. Theta relations
    5. D-structure
    6. X’-theory, Bare Phrase structure, Generalized Transformations
    7. Extension

 For the following topics readings will be added as we move along.

  1. How To build a Complex sentence: Raising, Passive, Wh-movement
    1. Internal Merge
    2. Greed, various kinds
    3. Minimality
    4. Cyclicity
    5. Probes and Goals
    6. Extension and Virus Theory
  1. Control and Raising
    1. Theta roles
    2. D-structure
    3. Features, Greed, EPP
    4. Null case
    5. Bare Phrase structure and the status of PRO
  1. Parasitic Gaps and Adjunct Control
    1. Sidewards Movement
    2. Extension and Virus theory
    3. Probes/Goals and Greed
    4. CED effects
  1. Binding and Reconstruction
    1. S-structure,
    2. Copies, LF and PF
    3. Principles A, B, C
    4. Binding and movement
    5. Locality and spell out/phases
  1. Multiple Interrogation
    1. Superiority
    2. Minimality
    3. Attract vs Move
    4. Tucking In
    5. Virus Theory and Extension
  1. Existential Constructions
    1. Agree and Move
    2. Binding and features
    3. Locality
    4. Merge over Move
    5. Numerations
    6. Phases

By this time we will hopefully have passed the semester equator (we are planning about ten weeks for those core topics). At this point we want to open the discussion to Phase Theory. Since this is a more current topic, we expect the course to evolve towards a more participatory, seminar-like, environment, and we even plan to invite more senior graduate students to join in on the show. Be prepared to engage on a frank discussion of the topic.


The usual for this sort of class. We will have regular homeworks that we may even exchange among participants. We allow – in fact encourage – collective work on homeworks, so long as eventually every participant writes their own contribution and participation is explicitly acknowledged. We will expect some conference-like abstract by the middle of the semester with a concrete suggestion for a research topic. The requirements will end with a short squib, based on the abstract, which can be the basis for a future paper, hopefully to be submitted to a conference.

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Introduction to Morphophonology

Adam Albright – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Course time: Monday/Wednesday 11:00 am – 12:50 pm
2347 Mason Hall

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A survey of ways in which morphological structure influences and constrains phonological processes.  The first half of the course will focus on cases in which phonological processes are sensitive to morphological constituency or the existence of morphologically related forms, including morpheme structure constraints, cyclicity effects in derived words, and paradigm effects (uniformity, antihomophony) in inflected forms.  We will contrast two main approaches: cyclic evaluation of subparts of the word, and surface evaluation employing output-output correspondence constraints.  We then turn to processes that affect some morphemes but not others, including lexically specific allomorphy and affix-specific processes, comparing representational approaches (diacritics, floating features) with dual-route approaches (grammar + memorized exceptions).  A recurring theme throughout the course will be the predictions that different approaches make for acquisition and historical change; in addition, we will consider evidence from corpus studies and psycholinguistic experiments.

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Introduction to Morphosyntax

Karlos Arregi – University of Chicago
Course time: Monday/Wednesday 9:00-10:50 am
2407 Mason Hall

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This course is an introduction to the internal structure of words and its relation to the structure of phrases and sentences. The topics covered will include examination of the primitives of word structure, isomorphism between syntactic and morphological structure and departures from such isomorphism, and the interplay between syntax and morphology in determining morpheme order. The course will draw on data from typologically diverse languages, and will use the tools of current morphological theory to analyze phenomena such as agreement, cliticization, and argument-structure changing morphology.

Requirements: Students must have had an introductory-level course in linguistics. Some previous experience in syntax is recommended.

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Introduction to Neurolinguistics

Jonathan R. Brennan  – University of Michican
Course time: Tuesday/Thursday 3:30-5:20 pm
1401 Mason Hall

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This course concentrates on the neural machinery that underly our ability to speak and understand language. Topics discussed include the brain bases of speech perception and reading, lexical processing, syntax, and semantics. We will draw on a range of state-of-the-art functional neuroimaging techniques, as well as the study of neurological and developmental language disorders. Special attention will be given to how models of linguistic computations and representations can inform, and be informed by, our understanding of the brain.


Introduction to Phonology

Gillian Gallagher – New York University
Course time: Monday/Wednesday 3:30-5:20 pm
2330 Mason Hall

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This course is an introduction to phonological theory, centering on the representations and the analysis of phonotactic patterns. We will cover theories of phonological representations, beginning with distinctive feature matrices as in The Sound Pattern of English (Chomsky & Halle 1968) and continuing through feature geometry (Clements 1985; Sagey 1986; McCarthy 1988) as well as theories of articulatorily and auditorally detailed representations (Browman & Goldstein 1986 et seq.; Gafos 1999; Flemming 2002). The analysis of phonotactic patterns such as dissimilatory co-occurrence restrictions, consonant-vowel interactions, and harmony patterns will be considered in detail, with attention paid both to the representational components of the analysis as well as the structure of grammatical statements (e.g., the form of markedness constraints). The discussion will largely assume either Autosegmental Phonology (Goldsmith 1975) or Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993/2004) as the formal framework. The course is not designed to provide a systematic introduction to either of these frameworks, though a brief introduction to each will be given. Prior knowledge of either framework is not required. A basic understanding of the phonetic properties of speech sounds will be assumed. There is no textbook for the class, though there will be readings for each class and the lecture notes will be made available. There will be several homework assignments, as well as in class exercises to work through the course material.


Introduction to Psycholinguistics

Matt Traxler – University of California, Davis
Course time: Tuesday/Thursday 9:00-10:50 am
1401 Mason Hall

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Language scientists attempt to answer three fundamental questions:  1. What does one know when one knows a language?  2. How does an individual access and use that knowledge when producing or understanding language?  3. How did we get this way?  This course will focus on the first two of these three questions.  Students will gain an appreciation for the kinds of theories that language scientists have developed to answer these questions as well as the research methods used to investigate them.  The course will focus chiefly on comprehension issues, but we will also examine contemporary theories of speech production, such as Levelt and Roelof’s Weaver ++ and Dell’s interactive account.

Students will review contemporary accounts of lexical, syntactic, and discourse processing.  This review includes both accounts of normal language function but also the sequelae of brain damage and other forms of language dysfunction. Topics relating to lexical processing include theories of semantic representation, lexical access, and the neural basis of lexical representation and processing. Topics relating to syntactic processing include accounts of syntactic parsing, serial versus parallel processing approaches, and processing of unbounded dependencies. Topics relating to discourse processing include contemporary accounts of discourse representation, inferencing, and the neural basis of discourse processing and representations.


Introduction to Semantics

Eytan Zweig – University of York
Course time: Monday/Wednesday 11:00-12:50 pm and 5:30-7:20 pm on Tuesday, June 25 (no class Wednesday, July 10)
2353 Mason Hall

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This course is an introduction to the study of meaning in language, with a focus on formal semantic theory but also touching on some issues in pragmatics and lexical semantics. We will first establish the core principles of formal semantic research, with a special focus on compositionality – how the meaning of sentences and phrases arises from the meaning of its parts. We will also discuss how every utterance involves several layers of meaning, including literal meaning, presupposition, and pragmatic implications. Then, we will look at many of the components that come together to create the meaning of sentences, showing that even seemingly simple and familiar sentences may contain surprising depths. Questions under discussion will include the semantics of modals, propositional attitudes, quantification, definiteness, and plurality.

There are no requirements for the course, but familiarity with basic set theory and logic will be helpful, as will familiarity with basic syntactic concepts such as constituency.


Language Ideology

Susan Gal – University of Chicago
Judy Irvine – University of Michigan

Course time: Tuesday/Thursday 11:00 am – 12:50 pm
2306 Mason Hall

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“Language ideologies” are the conceptualizations people have about the languages, speakers, and discursive practices in their purview. Both embedded in practices and reflexive of them, language ideologies are pervaded with political and moral interests, and are shaped in a cultural setting. To study language ideologies is to explore the nexus of language, culture, and politics – to examine the representations, whether explicit or implicit, that construe language’s role in a social and cultural world and that are themselves acts within it. This course considers current topics and debates in the study of language ideologies, such as: what should we mean by “ideology”? What is ideological in conceptions of “language” itself? In what ways are language ideologies positioned, with respect to distributions of power and resources? What are the sites of language ideologies – the practices and scenes in which they are enacted (and revealed)? What is the role of language ideologies in organizing social identities, groups, boundaries, and activities? How do language ideologies influence linguistic and social change? We will consider these questions in the light of case materials representing a wide range of ethnographic, historical, and linguistic circumstances.

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Speech Perception

Pam Beddor – University of Michigan
Course time: Monday/Wednesday 3:30-5:20 pm

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This course introduces students to the basic principles and theories of speech perception.  We will take a hands-on approach, conducting small-scale experiments to illustrate classic phenomena and test selected theoretical claims.

In a very broad sense, much of the research in the roughly 60-year history of experimental speech perception investigates how listeners map the input acoustic signal onto phonological units. Determining the nature of the mapping is a complex issue because the acoustic signal is highly variable, yet perception remains nearly constant across many types of variation. Some theoretical approaches to speech perception postulate that invariant properties in the input signal underlie perceptual constancy. Other approaches do not assume invariants but either require principles that account for the necessarily more complex mapping between signal and phonological representation, or require more complex representations. As a result, theoretical approaches differ in their assumptions concerning the relevant phonological units (features, gestures, segments, words) and the structure of these units (e.g., abstract representations, stored memory traces of auditory experiences). These issues will serve as our overarching framework. However, in addressing them we will also consider: What initial perceptual capabilities do infants have, what is the nature of our perceptual experiences, and how do these determine perceptual learning? How do listeners weight multiple sources of information, and integrate these cues into a coherent linguistic percept? How might cue weighting serve as an impetus for sound change? How do social categories and phonetic categories interact in perception?

Some background in acoustic phonetics is recommended for this course.

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