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Linguistics courses
Course number Course title Section Instructor Days Time Room

CAS LX 245

Language and Mind

web A1 Alrenga MWF 10-11 KCB 102
Foundations of linguistics as a science, in relation to cognitive science, philosophy, and psychology, including a critical overview of the research program initiated by Noam Chomsky. Specific questions that we will consider include: what exactly is a language--a set of utterances, a set of sentences, a set of cognitive abilities? Do humans possess an innate "instinct" to acquire a language? How are our linguistic abilities realized in the brain? Does the language we speak determine the structure and content of our thoughts? Is language a uniquely human ability? Students read and discuss original works, and write short essays.
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.

CAS LX 250

Introduction to Linguistics

web A1 Barnes TR 2-3:30 KCB 101
S1 Laidman F 9-10 KCB 104
S2 Bang F 10-11 KCB 104
S3 Laidman F 11-12 KCB 104
S4 Bang F 12-1 KCB 104
S5 Laidman F 1-2 KCB 104
S6 Bang F 2-3 KCB 104
S7 Garity F 10-11 TBA
S8 Garity F 11-12 TBA
S9 Garity F 1-2 COM 210
Study of the fundamental properties that all languages share, and of how languages differ, with respect to structure (sound system, word formation, syntax), expression of meaning, acquisition, variation, and change; cultural and artistic uses of languages; comparison of oral, written, and signed languages. [Prereq: none]
  • Students signing up for CAS LX 250 A1 should also sign up for one of the Friday discussion sections.
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
  • This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas:
    • Scientific Inquiry I
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
    • Critical Thinking

CAS LX 500

Topics in Linguistics: Universals of Language

web A1 Hagstrom TR 12:30-2 KCB 104
Survey of a range of characteristics that differentiate possible from impossible human languages, which inform modern understanding of the human language capacity. Discussion will center on readings presenting different perspectives on issues of typology, modalities, acquisition, variation, change, and creolization. [Prereq: CAS LX 250]

CAS LX 504

Topics in Pragmatics

web A1 Alrenga M 4-7 KCB 104
Covers the main areas of linguistic pragmatics, the study of language use and the relation between meaning and context. We will study pragmatic phenomena such as presuppositions, implicatures, anaphora, and focus, from the perspective of linguistic semantics. [Prereq: CAS LX 502 Semantics I or consent of instructor.]

CAS LX 510


web A1 Barnes TR 9:30-11 KCB 107
Introduction to phonetic and phonological theory at an elementary level. Transcription and production of sounds, International Phonetic Alphabet, the anatomy and physiology of speech, speech acoustics, phonological rules, analysis of data from a variety of languages. [Prereq: CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or consent of instructor.]
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.

CAS LX 522

Syntax I

A1 Hagstrom TR 3:30-5 COM 217
Introduction to the logical structure and organization of language, and to generative theory. Application of principles of syntactic analysis to students' own and other languages through data-oriented problems from different language types. [Prereq: CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or consent of instructor.]
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
Related courses at BU
Course number Course title Section Instructor Days Time Room

CAS AN 351

Language, Culture, and Society

A1 Smith-Hefner MWF 12-1 CAS 314
Introduction to basic concepts, problems, and methods used by anthropologists in the investigation of relationships among language, culture, and society. Topics include language and conceptual systems, language and role, language and social context, and language and thought.
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
  • This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas:
    • Social Inquiry II
    • Individual in Community
    • Research and Information Literacy
  • CAS EN 516

    History of the English Language II

    A1 Green TR 8-9:30 CAS 204B
    Everyone who uses English has reason to wonder about its idiosyncrasies and its history. How can words with such different spellings as “eight” and “ate” be pronounced alike? Why do we say “a twenty foot” pole, rather than “twenty feet”? And why is it “feet” rather than “foots”? What did Shakespeare’s spoken language sound like? What happened to the word “thou”? What is an Anglo-Saxon rune (∑∏∑) and how do you read it? This course will address everyone’s curiosity about these and other features of the English language through analysis of medieval and early modern literary texts, noting especially changes in pronunciation, syntax, spelling, and vocabulary. We will also explore the pre- and early print culture of England, locating these early forms of English in relation to the material forms onto and into which they were written; students will learn to read and analyze not only handwritten scrolls, manuscripts and early printed books but also other media including sword belts, jewels, illuminated manuscripts, goblets, stone cross monuments, pregnancy girdles, barrow tombs and king’s coffins. We will also give some thought to constructed and fictional languages that draw on medieval British languages, such as JRR Tolkien’s Orkish, Elvish, and Mannish. No previous knowledge of linguistics or medieval literature required. Fulfills English major Pre-1800 Literature requirement.

    CAS EN 518

    Linguistic Problems in TESOL

    A1 Saitz T 4-7 CAS 220
    Application of linguistic concepts to the teaching of English as a foreign language. Includes description of contemporary English grammatical structures that pose problems for learners and teachers. [Prereq: consent of instructor.]

    CAS LF 503

    The Structure of French: Phonology

    web A1 Neidle TR 11-12:30 KCB 104
    (Conducted in French) The sound system of standard French, with exploration of dialect variation in France, Canada, and other Francophone regions of the world. Questions about mental representation of linguistic information, processes of word formation, and language variation and change. Students discover linguistic regularities through frequent problem sets.
    • Learn how different sounds are produced, and how they fit into the overall phonological system of the French language.
    • Discover ways in which your own pronunciation of French may deviate from that of native speakers, to improve your pronunciation.
    • Explore the kinds of phonological changes have occurred in the evolution of French, as well as the kinds of phonological differences that account for dialectal variations.
    • Reflect upon questions concerning the mental representation of linguistic information, and formulate and evaluate arguments in favor of specific hypotheses.
    [Prereq: CAS LF 303 and CAS LX 250 or equivalent, or permission of instructor. Note: CAS LX 250 can be taken concurrently.]
    See testimonials.

    CAS LJ 410

    The History of the Japanese Language

    A1 Henstock MWF 3-4 CAS 204A
    (Conducted in English) Overview of major issues in the history of Japanese: genetic relationships, changes in sound system, word and sentence structures, and pragmatics. Special attention to the process leading to the current writing system. Representative texts used to demonstrate different literary languages. [Prereq: CAS LJ 211.]

    CAS PH 160

    Reasoning and Argumentation

    A1 Corsentino MWF 10-11 STH B19
    B1 Floyd TR 11-12:30 CAS B12
    A systematic study of the principles of both deductive and informal reasoning, calculated to enhance students' actual reasoning skills, with an emphasis on reasoning and argumentation in ordinary discourse.
    • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
    • This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas:
      • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
      • Critical Thinking

    CAS PH 421

    Frege, Moore, and Russell

    A1 Ganea W 10-1 MUG 424
    An in-depth reading of several works by Russell. [Prereq: CAS PH 310 History of Modern Philosophy and two other philosophy courses, or consent of instructor.]

    CAS PH 486

    Topics in Knowledge, Language, and Logic

    A1 Liebesman M 2-5 STH 541
    This course will focus on new approaches to logic and language theory, as well as their impact on epistemology. [Prereq: any one philosophy course from CAS PH 460-468, or consent of instructor.]

    SAR SH 523

    Introduction to Speech Science

    A1 Lavoie TR 9:30-11 SAR 610
    Lecture, laboratory, and demonstrations. Introduction to the basic physics of sound, including the decibel scale, spectral analysis, and sound resonance. Acoustic theory of speech production. Effects of contact on speech acoustics. Suprasegmental characteristics of speech production. Introduction to speech perception. [Prereq: SAR SH 521]

    SAR SH 524

    Language Acquisition

    A1 Mentis W 9:30-12 SAR 300
    This course will focus on first language acquisition in infancy and childhood. We will cover the progression of language development in each of the traditional areas of linguistic analysis: phonology, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics. The course will be focused on experimental research in typical language acquisition and on different theories that strive to explain the underlying cognitive and linguistic mechanisms at work in an early learner.

    SAR SH 531

    Introduction to Communication Disorders

    A1 Parris TR 9:30-11 SAR 104
    Introduction to various speech and language disorders found across linguistically and culturally diverse populations. Characteristics underlying biological systems and methods for evaluation and treating a variety or communication disorders are examined. Exploration of the professions of speech pathology and audiology