Inside Language

Fall 2017 and Winter 2018 quarters

Taught by


This program explores the fascinating world of languages. What do you know when you know a language? How do you acquire that knowledge? Are there properties that all languages share? How do languages change over time? Why are half of the world's languages now under threat of extinction? How are communities held together or torn apart by the languages they speak?

We will consider these questions and others through the lens of linguistics, which is the study of how languages are structured, how they are used in social interaction, and how they change over time. Topics to be examined for fall include phonetics, phonology, morphology, language change, the history of English and its dialects, key issues facing multilingual communities, and language planning. In winter, topics will include syntax, semantics, pragmatics, first language acquisition, language and gender, and linguistic politeness. We will look at well-known languages and lesser-known languages and discover why they matter in our lives today. Throughout the program, students will learn a variety of conceptual and empirical techniques, from analyzing speech sounds to interpreting the rationale behind current language policy.

This program will be an intensive examination of language-related topics. In class, students will participate in lectures, workshops, seminars, labs, and films. Outside of class, students should be prepared to do a significant amount of reading, as well as regular problem sets and essays.

Program Details

Fields of Study

communication language studies linguistics

Preparatory For

linguistics, communication, and education


Fall Open Winter Closed

Location and Schedule

Final Schedule and Room Assignment

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Tuesday, September 26 at 10am (Sem II D3109)

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning