Introduction to Linguistics
Have you ever wondered why the spelling of English often doesn’t make sense? Or why people in the same family might say things slightly differently (try asking how people say “both”)? Or been curious as to why different regions have different dialects, from Boston to Louisiana to Minnesota? In this class we will study Linguistics, a social science, spending time learning about the main branches: Sociolinguistics, Phonetics and Phonology, Syntax and Morphology, Semantics and Pragmatics, historical Linguistics, and more. We will look at how neighboring towns can have different dialects and what that reveals about the communities. We will learn how to find patterns and rules within languages (both in the sounds and in the grammar) in order to pick up languages more easily. We will study history and basic anthropology as we learn how these both impact the way languages develop. Students will also gain a better understanding of English as we study how language changes over time, looking at the progression from Beowulf’s English to Shakespeare’s to the English we speak today.