Linguistics Courses

Linguistics courses are taught by faculty from many different units across campus. The courses listed here are offered regularly. Those classes marked with an asterisk (*) fulfill particular requirements for the linguistics major; the others may count as electives. For a complete list of courses, please consult the University Catalog. Check Myzou for the current and upcoming schedule of courses.

LINGST 1060:  Human Language*

Language is a uniquely human achievement, a development that sets us apart from other animals. It is a powerful tool that we use during our every waking hour (and during much of our sleep). Still, we rarely stop to appreciate the complex role it plays in our everyday life. This course explores language from a variety of perspectives. We consider the structure of language, looking at how sounds combine to form words and how words combine to form sentences. To gain a sense of the diversity of linguistic structures, we consider examples from a variety of the world's languages. We also investigate the social functioning of language and look at regional and social variation. Most importantly, the course provides students with the skills to think critically about language. [cross-listed with ANTHRO 1060, CSD 1060, & ENGL 1060]

LINGST 2601:  Languages of Africa*

This course is an introduction to the 2000+ languages of Africa and an introduction to the field of linguistics through African languages. The course overviews the considerable diversity of African languages, surveying the social contexts in which African languages are used and the history of their development up to the present day. Core linguistic properties of African languages, including the types of sounds used and the structure of words and sentences, are also introduced and compared to English and other languages of the world. Students are also exposed to specific African languages, working through interviews or recorded materials from speakers of African languages. [cross-listed with BL STU 2601 & ENGL 2601]

LINGST 2700:  Elementary Logic*

Logic is primarily the study of validity, that is, a study of arguments which have the following feature: if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. In order to explicate the latter notion, formal logic developed ways to study properties of arguments that hold in virtue of the logical form of the premises and the conclusion. The connection between logical form and sentences of natural languages (such as English) is a matter of great interest within philosophy and linguistics, and is one of the focuses of our class as well. [cross-listed with PHIL 2700]

LINGST 3010:  American Phonetics

Students learn about the analysis of production and acoustics of the sounds of speech with an emphasis on American English. The course includes ample practice in broad and narrow transcription using the International Phonetic Alphabet. [cross-listed with CSD 3010]

LINGST 3210:  Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech Mechanism

This course introduces students to the anatomical and functional aspects of the speech mechanism. [cross-listed with CSD 3210]

LINGST 3220:  Speech Acoustics

This course offers an introduction to the acoustic aspects of speech as they relate to the respiratory, phonatory, resonatory, and articulatory systems. [cross-listed with CSD 3220]

LINGST 3470:  Culture as Communication

This course studies the influence of culture on communication processes, examining topics such as the impact of values, languages, and nonverbal behavior on intercultural interaction. [cross-listed with COMMUN 3470]

LINGST 3721:  Spanish Phonetics

This is an introductory course to the study of Spanish phonological, phonetic and spelling systems, practice of pronunciation, phonetic transcriptions, and introduction to the variation of Spanish pronunciation in the Hispanic world. The course is conducted in Spanish. [cross-listed with SPAN 3721]

LINGST 4200/7200:  Introduction to Old English

This course is an intensive introduction to Old English, the earliest form of English recorded in writing and the language spoken in Anglo-Saxon England from about the 5th to the later 11th century. While the focus of this class is the acquisition and practice of the Old English language, the course also introduces students to the fascinating literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England (including its art, archaeology, manuscript culture, and religious practices).  This course is intended to give students a solid grounding in Old English grammar, enabling them to read a wide range of Old English texts in the original with the help of a dictionary and to proceed to more advanced studies in early English language and literature. Another purpose of this course is to become acquainted with the rich culture of Anglo-Saxon England, which combines oral and written, pre-Christian and Christian-Latin traditions. [cross-listed with ENGL 4200]

LINGST 4600/7600:  Structure of American English*

This course is an upper-level introduction to linguistics that investigates the core areas of the structure of American English: phonology (sound structure), morphology (word structure), and syntax (sentence structure). The main aims of the course are to develop students’ analytical and reasoning skills and to provide training on how to construct a linguistic argument, with English grammar constituting the primary object of study. [cross-listed with ENGL 4600]

LINGST 4610/7610:  History of the English Language

This course examines the history of English from the prehistoric roots that bind it to other languages of Europe and Asia, through the period of its earliest attestation, and into the modern era. We see that English has undergone dramatic alterations throughout its life, and we look at changes in sounds, grammar, meaning, and vocabulary. To understand these changes and why they occur, we look for explanations in both the structure of the language and in the social history of its speakers. [cross-listed with ENGL 4610]

LINGST 4620/7620:  Regional and Social Dialects of American English

The course examines how the English language varies in the U.S. along regional and social lines. We study differences in pronunciation, word choice, and grammar, and also explore attitudes toward dialects in U.S. society as we consider the political and educational dimensions of linguistic variation. [cross-listed with ENGL 4620]

LINGST 4630/7630:  Phonology*

This course introduces some of the essential topics in phonology through problem-solving and analysis. We will study diverse sound patterns from languages around the world, and in doing so students will learn to construct phonological arguments and to write professional descriptions and analyses of phonological data following the stylistic and technical conventions of the field. [cross-listed with ENGL 4630]

LINGST 4640/7640:  Syntax*

This course introduces some of the essential topics in morphology and syntax through problem-solving and analysis. Students will learn to construct linguistic arguments by analyzing morphosyntactic patterns of languages from around the world. [cross-listed with ENGL 4640]

LINGST 4710:  History of the French Language

This is a study of the French language from its Latin origin to the present. The course includes a survey of the external social, political, and historical factors that have affected the development of French, followed by a diachronic study of the internal structural features of the language. [cross-listed with FRENCH 4710]

LINGST 4721/7721:  Structure of Modern Spanish*

This course explores a synchronic analysis of phonology, morphology and syntax of spoken Spanish dialects. [cross-listed with SPAN 4721]

LINGST 4722:  Spanish Across the Continents

This course focuses on the effects of migratory movements on language change, considering the Spanish spoken in Latin America, Puerto Rico, Spain and the USA. The class sharpens awareness and recognition of the linguistic diversity of the Spanish-speaking regions of the world. [cross-listed with SPAN 4722]

LINGST 4723:  Language and Society: Spanish in the U.S.

This class surveys linguistic and social issues pertaining to Spanish in the U.S. (past, present and future). Topics include bilingualism, code switching (a.k.a. Spanglish), first language attrition, linguistic identity, and the role of Spanish in education, services and media. [cross-listed with SPAN 4723]

LINGST 4740:  Interdisciplinary Introduction to NLP

The goal of this course is to enable students to develop substantive NLP [natural language processing] applications. It focuses on current structural and statistical techniques for the parsing and interpretation of texts. [cross-listed with CMP SC 4740]

LINGST 4870:  Field Methods in Linguistics*

At a time when minority languages are dwindling and becoming extinct, language documentation is more important than ever. This course has two main pedagogical goals, related to the documentation of understudied languages. The first goal is to train students on the methods of eliciting and evaluating data to construct a detailed linguistic description and analysis of a language that the students do not know, essentially from scratch, by working with a native speaker of the language. The second goal is for students to discover specific details of the structure of the language under investigation. Virtually all of our class time will be spent as a ‘lab’, in which we interview a native speaker of this language, eliciting original linguistic data. Initially, we concentrate on collecting vocabulary, learning how to transcribe the data, and investigating simple morphology (word structure) and syntax (sentence structure). As we progress through the term and become more proficient in transcribing longer utterances, we emphasize the structure of words and elementary syntax, and we survey various aspects of the language to develop an outline of the grammar of the language and to see which areas may prove worthy of further investigation. In the final quarter of the term, we focus on specific research projects in which students delve deeper into some aspect of the structure of the language.