Final examination: Tuesday, December 18, 2–5 p.m., Noyce
Victor Mair, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at the University
of Pennsylvania, recently contributed a post to Language log
describing how the increasing use among native speakers of Mandarin of
electronic devices with pinyin-based input methods is undermining their
ability to recall and write Han characters (“Character
Linguistics is the science of language. This introductory course deals
with with the basic concepts, distinctions, and methods that linguists
apply in describing linguistic phenomena and with the elementary parts of
the theories that organize and explain their observations.
The patterns of language and the ways we use it are complex and
many-layered, and linguists have found it useful to approach some of the
parts and layers separately, while also recognizing connections among them.
Accordingly, linguistics is conventionally divided into several subordinate
Phonetics, the study of the physical properties of speech
sounds and the mechanics of their production;
Phonology, the study of the ways in which speech sounds are
regimented, distinguished, patterned, and structured in languages;
Morphology, the study of individual words and their internal
Syntax, the study of how words are combined and arranged to
form larger linguistic structures (phrases, clauses, and sentences);
Semantics, the study of meaning and reference;
Pragmatics, the study of the relationship between language and
the context in which it is used;
Historical linguistics, the study of how languages change over
Psycholinguistics, the study of how linguistic knowledge is
represented and applied in the minds of speakers; and
Dialectology and sociolinguistics, which study language
variation and its causes.
The structure of this course loosely reflects this division.
The class meets at 9 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in Noyce
The instructor for this course is John David Stone. My office is Noyce 3829, near the
east end of the long corridor on the third floor of the Noyce Science
Center, on the north side (facing Eighth Avenue). My telephone extension
on the Grinnell College campus is 3181.