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Swarthmore College    
College Bulletin - Course Catalog 
  
 
  Sep 19, 2017
 
College Bulletin - Course Catalog

Linguistics


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Courses  

 


Faculty

THEODORE B. FERNALD, Professor 3
K. DAVID HARRISON, Professor and Chair
DONNA JO NAPOLI, Professor
BROOK D. LILLEHAUGEN, Assistant Professor (Tri-College)
JAMIE A.THOMAS,  Assistant Professor
JONATHAN NORTH WASHINGTON, Assistant Professor
EMILY A. GASSER, Visiting Assistant Professor
PATRICIA L. IRWIN, Visiting Assistant Professor
PETER KLECHA, Visiting Assistant Professor
JEREMY FAHRINGER, Laboratory Instructor
MELANIE DROLSBAUGH, Instructor, American Sign Language
DOROTHY KUNZIG, Administrative Assistant


3 Absent on leave, 2017-2018.


What is Linguistics?

There are 7,000 languages in the world. Linguistics is the scientific study of language-we develop techniques to explore patterns that all human languages have in common and investigate the ways in which each is unique. Our explorations yield insights not only about languages, but also about the nature of the human mind.

The relevance of linguistics to the fields of anthropology, cognitive science, language study, philosophy, psychology, and sociology has been recognized for a long time. Linguistics cross list courses from ten departments, reflecting the diversity of fields with strong relevance to our field. The interdisciplinary nature of the field, and our program, further encourages students to broaden their horizons and interact with a wide variety of students, scholars, and ideas.

What we hope students will get from studying Linguistics

Because the very nature of modern linguistic inquiry is to build arguments for particular analysis, the study of linguistics gives the student finely honed argumentation skills, which stand in good stead in careers in law, business, and any other profession where such skills are crucial.

Linguistics at Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr College, and Haverford College

The Linguistics Department is a constituent in the Tri-College Linguistics Department, which includes courses at Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College. Linguistics courses at Swarthmore College regularly include students from all three schools.

The Academic Program


The Linguistics Department offers a course major, a course minor, an honors major, and an honors minor. In addition, a special course major and a special honors major are offered in linguistics and languages.

Course Major: Linguistics


The course major in linguistics consists of at least eight credits in linguistics, including all of the following:

  1. A course in sounds from the following: LING 045, 052.
  2. A course in forms: LING 050.
  3. A course in meanings from the following: LING 026, 040.
  4. A course in the Structure of a Non-Indo-European Language: LING 061, 062, 64, 067 and at Haverford College: LINGH282, and LING215.
  5. LING 100, in which students complete and defend a one or two-credit (honors only) senior thesis. This course constitutes the comprehensive requirement for the major.
  6. Two electives in linguistics. LING 001 (Introduction to Language and Linguistics) may be included in the major at the student's option.

Special Course Major: Linguistics and Languages


The special course major in linguistics and languages consists of at least twelve credits: six credits in linguistics and three credits in each of two languages*. The languages can be ancient or modern. Students must complete each of the following:

  1. A course in sounds from the following list: LING 045, 052.
  2. A course in forms: LING 050.
  3. A course in meanings from the following list: LING 026, 040.
  4. A course in the Structure of a Non-Indo-European Language: LING 061, 062, 64, 067 and at Haverford College: LINGH282, and LING215.
  5. LING 100, in which students complete and defend a one or two-credit (honors only) senior thesis. This course constitutes the comprehensive requirement for the major.

*Please see attached for the Modern Languages Department requirement. Please contact the Classics Department to get the necessary courses to complete the language part of this special major. 

Some work in each foreign language included in the major must be done in the student's junior or senior year.

If one or both of the foreign languages is modern, the student must study abroad for at least one semester in an area appropriate for one of the foreign languages.

Course Minor


Four minors are offered, each totaling 5 credits (courses below plus any other two credits in linguistics):

  • Theory: LING 040, LING 045, LING 050
  • Phonology/Morphology: LING 045, LING 043, and LING 052 or LING 025
  • Syntax/Semantics: LING 040, LING 050, LING 043
  • Individualized: Student may choose five courses in linguistics and provide justification why the courses form a coherent minor.

Honors Major


The honors major in linguistics consists of at least eight credits in linguistics, and includes all of the following:

  1. A course in sounds from the following list: LING 045, 052.
  2. A course in forms: LING 050.
  3. A course in meanings from the following list: LING 026, 040.
  4. A course in the Structure of a Non-Indo-European Language: typically LING 061, 062, or 064.
  5. LING 195, in which students complete and defend a two-credit senior thesis. This course constitutes the comprehensive requirement for the major.
  6. Two electives in linguistics.
  7. Complete and defend an honors major portfolio as explained below.

Honors Major Portfolio requirements:


Thesis: Students are required to write a two-credit thesis in LING 195 (Senior Honors Thesis) in the fall of their senior year. The thesis may be on any topic in linguistics. It need not be related to course work. Work may be collaborative with one other student at the discretion of the faculty. The oral examination will consist of a discussion of up to one hour with the external reader.

Research Papers: Students are required to write two research papers. The student will prepare for these research papers by taking at least four credits of course work (two credits in each of the research paper areas). The areas will be selected from any combination of the following, possibly in combination with other course work:

  • phonetics
  • phonology
  • morphology
  • syntax
  • semantics
  • historical and comparative
  • sociolinguistics

Students will take LING 199 (Senior Honors Study) for one credit in the spring of their senior year. The two research papers will be on topics selected by the external readers and must be directly related to course work the student has taken.

Students will work independently on their research papers. The oral examination will consist of a forty-five minute discussion with the external reader for each paper. The discussion will cover the papers and any other material pertinent to the two credits of course work offered in preparation for the paper.

Honors Special Major Linguistics and Languages


The special honors major in linguistics and languages consists of at least twelve credits: six credits in linguistics and three credits in each of two languages. The languages can be ancient or modern. Students must complete each of the following:

  1. A course in sounds from the following list: LING 045, 052.
  2. A course in forms: LING 050.
  3. A course in meanings from the following list: LING 026, 040.
  4. A course in the Structure of a Non-Indo-European Language: typically LING 061, 062, or 064.
  5. LING 195, in which students complete and defend a two-credit senior thesis. This course constitutes the comprehensive requirement for the major.
  6. Complete and defend an honors major portfolio as explained below.

Honors Special Major Linguistics and Languages portfolio requirements:


Thesis: Students are required to write a two-credit thesis in LING 195 (Senior Honors Thesis) in the fall of their senior year. The thesis may be on any topic in linguistics. It need not be related to course work. Work may be collaborative with one other student at the discretion of the faculty. The oral examination will consist of a discussion of up to one hour with the external reader.

Research Papers: Students are required to write two research papers in linguistics and complete one honors examination that is administered by the relevant language department. The student will prepare for the linguistics research papers by taking at least four credits of course work (two credits in each of the research paper areas). The areas will be selected from any combination of the following, possibly in combination with other course work:

  • phonetics
  • phonology
  • morphology
  • syntax
  • semantics
  • historical and comparative
  • sociolinguistics

The third research paper is administered by the relevant language department.

Students will take LING 199 (Senior Honors Study) for one credit in the spring of their senior year. The three research papers will be on topics selected by the external readers and must be directly related to course work the student has taken.

Students will work independently on their research papers. The oral examination will consist of a forty-five minute discussion with the external reader for each paper. The discussion will cover the papers and any other material pertinent to the two credits of course work offered in preparation for the paper.

Honors Minor


If a student is a course major in Linguistics as well as an honors minor in Linguistics, the thesis required for the course major constitutes the portfolio for the honors minor.

Honors minors who are not course majors in linguistics will satisfy the course minor and complete and defend their honors minor portfolio as explained below.

Honors Minor portfolio requirements:


A single research paper will constitute the portfolio for honors. The areas will be selected from any combination of the following:

  • phonetics
  • phonology
  • morphology
  • syntax
  • semantics
  • historical and comparative
  • sociolinguistics

The program requires a one-half credit in LING 199 (Senior Honors Study) in the spring of the senior year. The oral examination will consist of a discussion of up to one hour with the external reader.

Thesis / Culminating Exercise


Every senior linguistics major or linguistics and language major must write a thesis during the fall semester of their senior year.

Application Process Notes for the Major or the Minor


Please follow the process described by the Dean's Office and the Registrar's Office about how to apply for a major.

 

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Credit


Linguistics does not accept AP/IB credit.

Transfer Credit


Linguistics does accept transfer credit. Please contact the department for more information.

Off-Campus Study


Students who special major in linguistics and languages and who focus on two modern languages must spend at least one semester abroad in an area appropriate for one of the foreign languages.

Students planning on a semester abroad must consult with their adviser and the Linguistics Department. Upon return from study abroad, students must present all written work to the department in order to have the course work considered for credit here, including class notes, syllabi, examinations, and papers.

Sample Paths through Linguistics


There are many acceptable paths through the major. We urge students to talk with their advisers to find the one that is best suited to their interests, bearing the following considerations in mind.

The end of the path is satisfaction of the requirements for the major. The most intricate of these is successful completion of the senior thesis. While students are permitted to complete one or more of the core requirements (courses in sounds, forms, and meanings) during their senior year, doing so will preclude writing a senior thesis in one of these areas. We strongly recommend completing these requirements by the end of the junior year. Because students frequently develop thesis topics during their courses in the Structure of a Non-Indo-European Language, we also recommend satisfying this requirement by the end of the junior year. Syntax (LING 050) and Phonetics and Phonology (LING 045) are prerequisites for the Structure of a Non-Indo-European Language (LING 061, 062, 064), the faculty urge students to take these courses by the end of the fall semester of the junior year.

Linguistics Courses


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