How does language work?

(Linguistic Science - ENGL 3371)

M/W/F 2:00–2:50

Language touches every aspect of our lives. From reading the morning paper to decrypting secret codes, the subconscious knowledge of language is uniquely human. In this course we'll ask what it means to have a command of language—do animals have it? Infants?

By examining the structures of the world's languages, we will discover why linguists believe in a “universal grammar” in spite of the world's rich linguistic diversity. We'll also learn how to make the sounds of the world's languages—from French nasal vowels to the clicks of Africa's Bantu languages.

This course is suited to anyone interested in language, how the mind works, or the characteristics that make us uniquely human.

What have previous students said about the course?

  • "Class was a fun experience and I learned a lot about the value of words and language.”
  • "This has been one of my favorite classes in my three years here. I switched into this class and was nowhere near disappointed... I learned so much, not just about linguistics."
  • "This class was surprisingly fantastic... I learned a great deal, thanks to Prof. Braver—able to break everything down to explain simply."
  • “Possibly the best [course in the English department] I have taken at Tech.”