Introduction to the Study of Language [CRN 29390]

Discipline: English
Instructor: Correa
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 0930
End: 1050
Field Work: Day 2 | February 20, 2018 | Myanmar (Burma)
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

The course presents the basic concepts and theories that linguists/applied linguists adopt in trying to understand how language works and how language is used in different contexts and situations. In this course, we will learn how to analyze language from both a formal and a functional perspective. We will spend time investigating the various sub-disciplines of linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, sociolinguistics, neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics, forensic linguistics, and others) and we will examine the relationships between language forms and the systematic behavior of language.

The course will try to demonstrate that it is possible to study human language in a rigorous and scientific way and that this study leads to a conception of language quite different from that normally assumed by our “common sense”.

The linguistic data analyzed in class will mostly come from English and the languages that are spoken in the ports that we visit (Hawaian Pidgin, Japanese, Mandarin, Tamil, Burmese, Malayalam, Arabic, and others).

Field Work

Country: Myanmar (Burma)
Day: 2
Date: February 20, 2018

The National Museum of Myanmar in Dagon (Yangon) has a section about Burmese Epigraphy and Calligraphy, which contains exhibits on the origins and development of Burmese script/alphabet throughout history, as well as exhibits on other ancient and ethnic scripts. Students will visit a museum where they will learn about the Burmese writing system (history, meaning, different ways of writing it, transliteration to our alphabet…). After that they will take a workshop where they will practice Burmese calligraphy. After that, they will take a tour of the city so they can take pictures for the linguistic landscape assignment. Students will write a Field Class Paper about the writing system they just learned about (making reference to readings that will be provided before the trip). They will include a reflection of their experience practicing the language and they will include pictures they took during the tour. They are encouraged to make connections to the Linguistic landscapes they have been completing in other ports. Learning objectives:

  1. Identify the relationship between linguistic history, linguistic policies and de facto language practices (linguistic landscape) in Yangon;
  2. Reflect critically on linguistic culture, language attitudes and ideologies;
  3. Compare the linguistic landscapes of Yangon and the other ports visited.