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Linguistics courses
Course number Course title Section Instructor Days Time Room

CAS LX 205

The Origins of Writing

web A1 Nikolaev MWF 11-12 STH 625
An overview of the major writing systems of the world: Egyptian and Mayan hieroglyphs, Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform, West Semitic consonantal scripts (abjads), East Asian scripts, runes, and Greek and Roman alphabets. This course has a considerable linguistic component supplemented by historical information about ancient languages and cultures.
    Also offered as CAS CL 205. [Note that this course does *not* satisfy the prerequisite of CAS LX 250 for higher level linguistics courses.]
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
  • This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas:
    • Historical consciousness
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Communication
    • Teamwork/Collaboration

CAS LX 250

Introduction to Linguistics

web A1 Neidle TR 2-3:30 LSE B01
S1 Grillo F 9-10 KCB 104
S2 Grillo F 10-11 KCB 104
S3 Jepson F 11-12 KCB 104
S4 Grillo F 12-1 KCB 104
S5 Jepson F 1-2 KCB 104
S6 Jepson F 2-3 KCB 104
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: Variation in English Dialects

web A1 Myler TR 12:30-2 KCB 104
Exploration of how dialects of English differ from each other, focusing on grammatical variation in the US, with occasional forays into British dialects. Students come to appreciate how linguists investigate grammatical diversity scientifically, revealing the complex structure of non-standard dialects. [Prereq: CAS LX 250 or consent of instructor]
With respect to the Linguistics major, this counts in the category of 'Linguistic analysis of a specific language.'

CAS LX 502

Semantics I

web A1 Alrenga MWF 11-12 KCB 107
Semantics is the study of linguistic meaning. In this course, we will examine meaning from a variety of perspectives, including: how it is encoded in words and sentences, how native speakers interpret language, and how truth and falsehood can emerge from the complexity of the grammar. We will also touch on various aspects of pragmatics - the function of meaning in a communicative setting. [Prereq: CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or consent of instructor.]
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.

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 MWF 10-11 PSY B33
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 513


web A1 Barnes MWF 12-1 KCB 103
Introduction to the sound system of language. Study and analysis of physical and mental aspects of sound production in speech and the system in which sounds are organized. Phonological rules, processes, and universals are examined through consideration of various languages. [Prereq: CAS LX 510 Phonetics or consent of instructor.]

CAS LX 515

Languages in Contact: The high stakes of grammatical border-crossing

web A1 Erker TR 2-3:30 KCB 104
Examines the mechanisms and outcomes of language contact by surveying cases around the globe from the past and present. Topics include lexical-borrowing, code-switching, pidgins and creoles, language death, and the emergence of entirely new linguistic systems. [Prereq: CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or consent of instructor.]

CAS LX 521


web A1 Myler TR 3:30-5 KCB 104
Morphology, the study of the internal structure and the shapes of words across languages, straddles the boundary between syntax and phonology. This course covers the major empirical and theoretical issues in the study of morphology, emphasizing links to other components of grammar. [Prereq: CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or consent of instructor.]
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.

CAS LX 522

Syntax I

web A1 Ahn TR 9:30-11 CAS B18A
W 5-6 CAS B18A
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.

CAS LX 523

Syntax II

web A1 Ahn TR 11-12:30 CAS 323A
W 3-4 CAS 424
Investigation of syntactic commonalities and differences across languages. Scrutiny of evidence and argumentation from past and current analyses, focusing on construction of strong arguments. Topics include movement, passives, question formation, syntactic micro-structure, and interaction with semantics, pragmatics, and phonology. [Prereq: CAS LX 522 Syntax I or consent of instructor.]
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 216
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.

CAS EN 518

Linguistic Problems in TESOL

A1 Saitz T 4-7 CAS 318
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 LX 507

The Sounds of Spanish

web A1 Erker TR 9:30-11 CAS 323B
(Conducted in Spanish) The goal of this course is to introduce students to the linguistic analysis of speech, with a focus on the Spanish language. We examine the vowels and consonants of Spanish from the perspective of articulatory and acoustic phonetics. In addition, the course introduces core concepts in phonological analysis, surveying the phonemic inventory and phonological organization of Spanish. We also investigate a range of regional variation demonstrated by so-called ‘dialects’ of Spanish, with an emphasis on the historical and social significance of such variation in Spain, Latin America, and the United States. In summary, this course aims to examine the sounds of Spanish as physical, mental, and social phenomena. [Prereq: One 300-level Spanish course and CAS LX 250 or consent of instructor]
[Also offered as CAS LS 507]
  • If you are trying to register for this course as CAS LS 507 and it appears full, you can just as well register for CAS LX 507. These two courses are identical, meet together, and satisfy all of the same requirements :-) .
  • This course can satisfy requirements for both the Spanish and the Spanish & Linguistics majors; it can also satisfy the Linguistics major requirement for a course in the linguistic analysis of a specific language, as well as counting toward both the Spanish and Linguistics minors. See http://www.bu.edu/linguistics/UG/spanling.html for further details.

CAS PH 160

Reasoning and Argumentation

A1 Webb TR 11-12:30 KCB 101
B1 Cao MWF 12-1 CAS 211
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 261

Puzzles and Paradoxes

A1 Weiss TR 12:30-2 CAS 323A
Some of our most basic beliefs, when scrutinized, lead to absurd conclusions. For example, using only beliefs that seem uncontroversial, we can conclude that motion is impossible, that everyone is bald, and that it is impossible to give a surprise exam. Carefully scrutinizing the reasoning that leads to these absurdities often yields substantial philosophical insight. This course examines a number of such puzzles and paradoxes in detail. [Prereq: CAS PH 160 or consent of instructor]

CAS PS 544

Developmental Neuropsychology

A1 Carrillo M 1-4 PSY 210
Study of the neural mechanisms underlying behavioral development. Topics include the plasticity of the developing brain in response to deprivation or damage and mechanisms underlying specific syndromes (e.g., aphasia, dyslexia, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, autism, and Tourette's syndrome). [Prereq: consent of instructor]

SAR SH 523

Introduction to Speech Science

A1 Stepp MW 1-2:30 SAR 300
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 531

Introduction to Communication Disorders

A1 Constantino TR 9:30-11 COM 215
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