Student Taking Notes

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Chicago is the oldest in the country. Founded in the 1930s, the department is committed to interdisciplinary and interdepartmental study, while still maintaining its distinctive investment in theory and the empirical study of language. In addition to linguistics courses, language courses in American Sign Language, Basque, Modern Greek, and Swahili are taught through the department. MAPH students interested in linguistics may take the bulk of their elective coursework through the department, but they may also be interested in coursework in Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and Language Study.

Selected Faculty

Itamar Francez

Itamar Francez

Formal and Lexical Semantics, Syntax-Semantics Interface, Philosophy of Language
Ming Xiang

Ming Xiang

Sentence Processing, Experimental Syntax and Semantics

Sample Courses

LING 34290 - The Revival of the Basque Language: its Language Policy and Language Planning (Miren Azkarate)
This is a survey course in the Language Policy and Language Planning carried out on the Basque Language, namely the language practices (language use), language beliefs and the measures taken at the levels of corpus, status and acquisition planning. We will study the process of standardization of Basque since its beginning in 1968, how spelling, morphology and lexicon were unified, the modernization of terminology, and the latest corpus and dictionaries available in Internet. We will also analyze the plans and measures set up that enabled to have Basque mass media or Basque be used in governmental services or in local work spheres, as well as the acquisition measures implemented via the educational system. All that entailed that today the Basque language has 200,000 more speakers than it had in 1990 and it is used as language of instruction in Preschool, Primary Education, Secondary Education and even at the university level. 

LING 30101 - Phonological Analysis I (John Goldsmith)
This course introduces cross-linguistic phonological phenomena and methods of analysis through an in depth examination of fundamental notions that transcend differences between theoretical approaches: contrast, neutralization, natural classes, distinctive features, and basic non-linear phonological processes (e.g., assimilation, harmony, dissimilation).

LING 36400 - Introduction to Slavic Linguistics (Yaroslav Gorbachev)
The main goal of this course is to familiarize students with the essential facts of the Slavic linguistic history and with the most characteristic features of the modern Slavic languages. In order to understand the development of Proto-Slavic into the existing Slavic languages and dialects, we focus on a set of basic phenomena. The course is specifically concerned with making students aware of factors that led to the breakup of the Slavic unity and the emergence of the individual languages. Drawing on the historical development, we touch upon such salient typological characteristics of the modern languages such as the rich set of morphophonemic alternations, aspect, free word order, and agreement.

LING 30201 - Syntax I (Jason Merchant)
This course is an advanced survey of topics in graduate syntax examining current syntactic theory through a detailed analysis of a range of phenomena and readings from the primary research literature. Major topics include phrase structure and constituency, argument structure, grammatical relations, case (including ergativity), agreement, voice, and raising vs. control.

LING 31100 - Language in Culture (Constantine Nakassis)
Among topics discussed in the first half of the sequence are the formal structure of semiotic systems, the ethnographically crucial incorporation of linguistic forms into cultural systems, and the methods for empirical investigation of “functional” semiotic structure and history.

A complete listing of offerings is available at the Department’s course page.

Recent Linguistics Thesis Projects

Idiomatic Root Merge in Modern Hebrew Blends”
Michael Pham, MAPH ’10
Advisor: Karlos Arregi

“Conceptual Transfer in Second-Language Acquisition: A Case Study of Preposition Use by Japanese Learners of English”
Rachel Kamins, MAPH ’15
Advisor: Ming Xiang

“Asymptotic Approaches: Features of the Gerund-Present Participle Merge in Present Day English”
Sarah Welch, MAPH ’16
Advisor: Itamar Francez