The linguistics concentration offers a program of study of language structure and use that begins with courses designed to introduce students to the following elements of the discipline of linguistics:

  • the basic theoretical assumptions
  • the fundamental concepts
  • the methodological approaches

Study focuses on how these elements relate to the analysis of the English language. Beyond the introductory phase of their course work, students may choose from classes that cover a broad range of linguistic research, for example, into the relationship between language and culture, society, writing, and gender. In addition, students may choose courses that are primarily theoretical in nature, such as syntax or semantics, or they may choose courses that are more applied in nature, such as second language acquisition and teaching English as a second language. In general, students will emerge from their studies in this concentration with the skills and knowledge that enable them to investigate a variety of language issues in a rigorous and scientific manner.

For more information contact:
Frederick J. DiCamilla
English Department Program Director of Linguistics

Language and Linguistics Courses

Z104 Language in our World
This course explores the power and importance of language in our everyday lives and looks at how language unites and separates us culturally, politically, socially, and psychologically.

Z204 Rhetorical Issues in Grammar and Usage
An introduction to English grammar and usage that studies the rhetorical impact of grammatical structures (such as noun phrases, prepositional phrases, and different sentence patterns). This course considers language trends and issues, the role of correctness in discourse communities, and the relations between writing in context and descriptive and prescriptive grammars and usage guides.

Z205 Introduction to the English Language
This course is an introduction to how language, and English in particular, is structured, including sounds (phonetics and phonology), words (morphology), sentences (syntax) and meaning (semantics). Discussions focus on examples from everyday language and the application of these basic concepts to real world contexts, including language teaching and learning.

Z206 Introduction to Language Use
An introduction to how we use language in our lives. This course explores how and why language varies between different groups and places as well as the role of context on language meaning and interpretation. Insights are applied to understanding the impact on literature, film, writing and other disciplines.

Z301 History of the English Language
A study of the origins of the English language, focusing on how and why English has changed over time. Topics include: the process of language standardization and its impact on education and literacy, relationships between language and literature, and the changing role of English around the world. Z205 is recommended.

Z302 Understanding Language Structure: Syntax
An introduction to how language is organized at the sentence level, focusing on what it means to know how to produce and understand grammatical sentences. The acquisition of syntax by children learning their first language and non-native speakers learning a second language will be studied. Z205 is recommended.

Z303 Understanding Language Meaning: Semantics
Z303 examines the question of meaning in language, with a focus on English. After introducing various approaches to the study of meaning, including referential, cultural, pragmatic, and cognitive perspectives of what language encodes, the course examines how linguistic semantics analyzes such concepts as entities, events, time, space, possibility, and negation, and how these relate to human culture and cognition. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to use what they learn in both a linguistic analysis of English and in exploring ways in which such analyses can contribute to understanding in other disciplines.

Z310 Language in Context: Sociolinguistics
This course explores the relationships among language, society, and culture. The interplay between social factors—such as age, sex, status, class, and education—and language use are discussed within the framework of various theoretical and methodological approaches. Perceptions of several varieties of English are investigated. Z206 is recommended.

Z405 Topics in the Study of Language
Topics may vary each semester.

Z432 Second Language Acquisition
An introduction to a broad range of issues in the field of second language acquisition, providing the student with an overview of the most important approaches to the fundamental questions of how people learn a second language. Provides students with basic knowledge of theories of second language acquisition and an understanding of how theoretical perspectives inform practical application. P: Z205.

Z434 Introduction to Teaching English as a Second Language
The course examines recent theories of teaching English as a second or foreign language. Students will get a chance to examine theories and methods and develop knowledge of linguistic resources available to new and/or practicing teachers. P: Z432 or consent of the instructor.

Z441 Materials Preparation for ESL Instruction
Students learn about materials preparation, syllabus design, and test preparation by applying a variety of theories to books and other ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching devices (e.g., ESL tapes, videotapes, and software programs) in order to evaluate their usefulness. Students will learn to evaluate ESL materials for adequacy. P: Z205.

Linguistics Requirements

Concentration in Language and Linguistics

English majors must take at least 15 hours of 300/400 level courses in the major. A minimum grade of C is required in each course in this concentration.

Gateway Course (6 cr.)
- ENG Z205 Introduction to the English Language
- ENG Z206 Introduction to Language Use

Concentration Core (12 cr.)
Choose four from these courses:
- ENG Z301 History of the English Language
- ENG Z302 Understanding Language Structure: Syntax
- ENG Z303 Understanding Language Meaning: Semantics
- ENG Z310 Language in Context: Sociolinguistics
- ENG Z432 Second Language Acquisition
- ENG Z434 Introduction to Teaching English as a Second Language
- ENG Z441 Materials Preparation for ESL Instruction
- ENG W310 Language and the Study of Writing
- ASL L340 Discourse Analysis: English
- ANTH L300 Language and Culture
- ANTH L401 Language, Power and Gender

English Experience (12 cr.)
In consultation with your advisor, choose four English courses at the 200-level or above, with at least two at the 300- or 400-level. At least three courses must be outside of the Language and Linguistics concentration and at least one course must be in Literature. Please see your advisor to have your program of study approved.

Capstone (3 cr.)
Choose from:
- ENG Z405 Topics in the Study of Language
- ENG E398 Internship in English
- ENG E450 Capstone Seminar
- ENG W426 Writing Nonfiction: Popular and Professional Publication
- ENG 496 Writing Tutor Training Seminar
- ENG L440 Senior Seminar in English and American Literature
- ENG L433 Conversations with Shakespeare

Interested in a Minor in Linguistics? Click here.

Linguistics Opportunities

This concentration links with the Teaching English as a Second Language Certificate Program, which the learner can pursue in conjunction with the undergraduate degree. Also, to observe pragmatic applications of linguistic research, students can check out the International Center for Intercultural Communication and the English for Academic Purposes Program (EAP), which are located on campus.