Introduction to the Study of Languages [CRN 83323]

Discipline: English
Instructor: Núñez
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1710
End: 1830
Field Work: Day 1 | October 6, 2019 | Croatia
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

The course presents the basic concepts and theories that 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 and phonology, morphology, syntax, sociolinguistics, neurolinguistics, and others. We will examine the relationships between language forms and the systematic behavior of language. Students will reflect on issues related to gender, word order, tenses and perception of time, semantics, pragmatics, creation of pidgin and creoles, and the history of languages.

The linguistic data analyzed in class will mostly come from English and Spanish with other languages that are spoken in the ports that we visit: Polish, Portuguese, Croatian, Arab, French, Akhan, and others from the Niger-Congo family.

Field Work

Country: Croatia
Day: 1
Date: October 6, 2019

The field class will begin with a walking tour of old town in this historical city, where we will visit some of the most significant cultural and historic sites such as the ancient city walls, St. John’s and Revelin Fortress, Spanza Square, Convent of St. Claire and the home of Marin Drzic (our Shakespeare equivalent). The city of Dubrovnik was built on maritime trade. In the Middle Ages it became the only city-state in the Adriatic to rival Venice. Supported by its wealth and skilled diplomacy, the city achieved a remarkable level of development during the 15th and 16th centuries. Furthermore, Dubrovnik was one of the centers of the development of the Croatian language and literature, home to many notable poets, playwrights, painters, mathematicians, physicists, and other scholars.

We will spend a couple of hours at the Rector’s Palace, now a museum, looking at lovely rooms full of history. This building has survived explosions and earthquakes throughout the years. It is a beautiful building at the top of the Stratum and also hosts the extremely moving Memorial Room to the Dubrovnik Defenders. The Rector's Palace houses exhibits showing the city's history over the ages.

Students will write a field class paper with a reflection of their experience in the museum and the significance of the Croatian language in the Mediterranean trade (making reference to readings and material provided in class before the trip). They are encouraged to make connections to the linguistic landscapes they have experienced in other ports.

Learning Objectives:

1. Describe Croatian culture practices from what you observe in the museum.
2. Connect the written signs and descriptions in the museum with material provided in class about Croatian language patterns.
3. Learn about the Croatian language history as a Slavic language.
4. Learn about specific aspects of Croatian culture (history, traditions, daily habits, etc.)
5. Explore the museum with an analytical eye for the evolution of the Croatian language and its interaction with culture practices.
6. Understand the important connection of this port in the Mediterranean trade.