Courses

Upper Level

Comparative Phonetics and Phonology of Spanish and Portuguese 

This course explores the phonetic and phonological factors that explain how Spanish and Portuguese have diverged from a single language around AD 1000 to their present-day myriad of dialects. Specifically, it addresses how sound change may outweigh grammatical similarity in bringing about language divergence. Theoretical issues such as asymmetric mutual intelligibility (e.g. why Spanish speakers may have a hard time understanding Portuguese, but usually not the other way around), and language/dialect prestige will also be discussed. Basic notions of phonetics, phonology and historical comparative linguistics are revised and expanded upon. 

 

Introduction to Language Change

Introduces theories and methods of comparative and historical linguistics, with an emphasis on a typologically informed understanding of diachronic change. It introduces students to concepts that assist in determining common cross-linguistic paths and mechanisms of language evolution in a data-driven fashion. In this course, advanced undergrads and graduate students explore issues that pertain to the study of phonetic, phonological, morphosyntactic and semantic change within a functional perspective.

[sample syllabus]

Romance Linguistics 

This seminar delves into the developments that took place in Classical and Vulgar Latin that eventually gave rise to the modern Romance languages in terms of  their structure (phonetics/phonology, morphosyntax and semantics). Students contrast the traditional comparative method with a more contemporary corpus approach to historical linguistics. In the beginning of the semester, each student is assigned a Romance language or variety and to examine for small class assignments. Students are encouraged to include data from lesser known Romance languages such as Catalan, Romanian or Romansh for their final projects.

Lower Level

Introduction to the Study of Language 

University of New Mexico

Proposes a broad overview of the field of linguistics. Students are introduced to the basic elements of linguistic analysis so that they acquire the skills to discuss attitudes to language, the evolution of language and how it changes over time, the power dynamics behind the teaching and use of language varieties (e.g., ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ English), how children acquire language and how adults acquire a second language, and so forth. Spoken minority languages (including Native languages of the Southwest USA) and American Sign Language receive special focus.

[sample syllabus]