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Linguistics courses
Course number Course title Section Instructor Days Time Room

CAS LX 110

SAY WHAT ? Accents, Dialects, and Society

web A1 Myler TR 12:30-2 CAS 216
When people from different regions of the US and from various parts of the English-speaking world meet for the first time, they are immediately struck by differences in the way they speak. For speakers of so-called “non-standard” dialects, this can give rise to insecurity and frustration, and dialect prejudice may lead such speakers to suppress aspects of their native variety (an experience familiar to many American college students). But is there any objective reason to consider non-standard dialects as inferior? What are the implications of dialect diversity for education, civil rights, and other aspects of public policy? How are dialects and their speakers represented in literature, film, humor, music, and other aspects of popular culture? How exactly does English vary across different places and social groups? Where do these accents and dialects come from in the first place? This course, which assumes no previous background in linguistics, investigates these questions from both a linguistic and a more broadly humanistic perspective. [Prereq: None. Students who have already taken CAS LX 250 or any higher-level linguistics course (or are doing so concurrently) are not eligible to take CAS LX 110.]
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
  • This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas:
    • Social Inquiry I
    • Individual in Community
    • Research and Information Literacy

CAS LX 250

Introduction to Linguistics

web A1 Neidle TR 2-3:30 LSE B01
S1 Jeannette F 9-10 KCB 104
S2 Gerrish F 10-11 SED 205
S3 Jessee F 11-12 SED 206
S5 Jeannette F 1-2 KCB 104
S6 Gerrish F 2-3 KCB 201
S7 Jessee F 10-11 SED 206
S8 Jessee F 1-2 KCB 102
S9 Gerrish F 11-12 KCB 102
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 301

Phonetics & Phonology: Introduction to Sound Systems

web A1 Chang TR 11-12:30 KCB 106
Introduction to the nature and patterning of sounds in human language. Presents articulatory and acoustic phonetics, and basic phonological analysis, focusing on cross-language typology and comparison. Hands-on development of practical skills, including IPA transcription, field techniques, and digital speech analysis.

[Prereq: CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or consent of instructor.
Please note that this course cannot be taken for credit towards the MA or PhD program in Linguistics.]
[Meets with GRS LX 601; Previously offered as CAS LX 510 "Phonetics"]
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
  • This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas:
    • Scientific Inquiry II
    • Quantitative Reasoning I
    • Critical Thinking

CAS LX 328


web A1 Hagstrom MWF 2-3 CAS 212
Exploration of question formation across languages, and from several theoretical perspectives, integrating syntax, phonology, semantics, morphology, pragmatics, and philosophy in pursuit of a general understanding of one of the central phenomena in theoretical linguistics. [Prereq: CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or consent of instructor.]
[Meets with GRS LX 628; Previously offered as CAS LX 519 "Questions"]

CAS LX 331

Semantics & Pragmatics: Introduction to Linguistic Meaning

web A1 Alrenga MWF 11-12 CGS 123
Systematic examination of how meaning is encoded in words and sentences, and how it can emerge from the complexity of the grammar. This course also touches on various aspects of pragmatics—the study of how meaning is shaped by context. [Prereq: CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or consent of instructor.
Please note that this course cannot be taken for credit towards the MA or PhD program in Linguistics.]
[Meets with GRS LX 631; Previously offered as CAS LX 502 "Semantics I"]
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
  • This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas:
    • The Individual in Community
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
    • Critical Thinking

CAS LX 342

Language, Race, and Gender

web A1 Erker MWF 10-11 CAS 214
Do women talk differently from men? How do race and ethnicity relate to the way people use language? This course examines these inter-related questions from the perspective of modern sociolinguistic theory, analyzing a range of languages and communities throughout the world. [Prereq: CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or consent of instructor.]
[Meets with GRS LX 642; Previously offered as CAS LX 320 "Language, Race, and Gender"]

CAS LX 349


web A1 Chang TR 3:30-5 CAS 204A
The psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics of life with two languages. Topics include bilingual language use, processing, acquisition, organization; effects of bilingualism on cognition and development; the bilingual brain; the bilingual speech community; bilingual education; bilingualism in the media and public eye. [Prereq: CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or consent of instructor.]
[Meets with GRS LX 649; Previously offered as CAS LX 545 "Bilingualism"]

CAS LX 360

Historical and Comparative Linguistics

web A1 Nikolaev TR 12:30-2 CAS 204B
Introduction to language change and the methodology of historical linguistic analysis, using data from a wide array of languages. Investigates genetic relatedness among languages, language comparison, historical reconstruction, and patterns and principles of change in phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. [Prereq: CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or consent of instructor.]
[Meets with GRS LX 660; Previously offered as CAS LX 535 "Historical and Comparative Linguistics"]
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.

CAS LX 365

Variation in Dialects of English

web A1 Myler TR 9:30-11 CAS 218
This course explores how dialects of English differ from each other, focusing on grammatical variation in the US, with occasional forays into British dialects. The class will examine grammatical diversity on a number of levels (including accents, dialectal vocabulary, and social factors in language variation), but the main focus will be on studying and accounting for morphosyntactic differences amongst varieties. Students come to appreciate how linguists investigate grammatical diversity scientifically, revealing the complex structure of non-standard dialects. [Prereq: CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or consent of instructor.]
[Meets with GRS LX 665; Also offered as CAS EN 313; Previously offered as CAS LX 530 "Variation in Dialects of English"]

CAS LX 383

The Sounds of Spanish

web A1 Erker MW 12:30-2 CAS 203
(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]
[Meets with GRS LX 683; Also offered as CAS LS 507; Previously offered as CAS LX 507 "The Sounds of Spanish"]
  • If you are trying to register for this course as CAS LS 507 and it appears full, you can just as well register for the LX number. These 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.

CAS LX 433

Intermediate Pragmatics: Meaning in Context

web A1 Alrenga M 4-7 CAS 223
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 331/ GRS LX 631 Semantics & Pragmatics: Introduction to Linguistic Meaning (or CAS LX 502) or consent of instructor.]
[Meets with GRS LX 733; Previously offered as CAS LX 504 "Topics in Pragmatics"]
Related courses at BU
Course number Course title Section Instructor Days Time Room

CAS AN 532

Literacy and Islam in Africa

A1 Ngom TR 12:30-2 PLS 512
Ajami comes from the Arabic word for non-Arab, or foreigner. It also refers to the practice of writing other languages using a modified Arabic script. Although written records are rarely regarded as part of sub-Saharan Africa’s intellectual heritage, important bodies of Ajami materials have existed in numerous communities in Africa for centuries. In South Africa, Muslim Malay slaves produced the first written record of Afrikaans in Ajami. Africa’s Ajami traditions developed in communities with a long history of practicing Islam, and who sought to adapt the Arabic alphabet to their own tongues, first for religious purposes such as prayers, writing magical protective devices, and disseminating religious materials and edicts, and later for secular functions such as commercial and administrative record-keeping, writing eulogies and family genealogies, recording important events such as births, deaths and weddings, and writing biographies, poetry, political satires, advertisements, road signs, public announcements, speeches, and personal correspondence. The course will examine both major and minor African Ajami traditions. It will investigate (1) the Islamization of Africa and the subsequent development of Ajami literary traditions in the continent, (2) the forms, contents, and goals of Ajami materials, (3) their role in the spread of Islam and the reverse effect of African influences on Islam, (4) the past and current secular functions of Ajami materials, and (5) the Arabic and Ajami materials written by enslaved Africans in the Americas. The primary goal of this course is to enable students to have access to the unique sources of knowledge generally missed in the studies on Africa written in Arabic and European languages, and to provide them with a deeper understanding of the spread of Islam and its Africanization in the continent. The course will open new research opportunities for students interested in the histories and traditions of sub-Saharan African Muslim communities. [Prereq: Consent of the instructor]

CAS LJ 410

The History of the Japanese Language

A1 Ishikawa MWF 3-4 CAS 430
(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 Webb MWF 9-10 CAS 211
B1 Bokulich TR 11-12:30 CAS 313
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.

CAS PH 261

Puzzles and Paradoxes

A1 McSweeney TR 2-3:30 CAS B25B
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 PH 463

Philosophy of Language

web A1 Floyd TR 11-12:30 STH 541
Critical survey of the main issues in the philosophy of language and the foundations of linguistics, including the ideas of logical form and the universality of languages as well as the basic ideas of generative grammar, possible-worlds semantics, Wittgenstein, and speech-act theories. [Prereq: Prerequisites: CAS PH 310 and CAS PH 360.]

CAS PS 544

Developmental Neuropsychology

A1 Carrillo T 10-1 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]

CAS PS 545

Language Development

A1 Caldwell-Harris MWF 2-3 PSY 153
Language development in children. The acquisition of phonological, morphological, and syntactic systems; the role of both parent and child in the acquisition of communicative competence. [Prereq: CAS PS 241, PS 243, or 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 2-3:30 MET B02B
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