College of Liberal Arts USC


 Graduate Index

Stanley Dubinsky, Director

Core Faculty


    Carol Myers-Scotton, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1967 (English)

Associate Professors

    Anne Bezuidenhout, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1990 (Philosophy)
    Dorothy Disterheft, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1977 (English)

    Stanley Dubinsky, Ph.D., Cornell University, 1985 (English)

    Kurt Goblirsch, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1990 (Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian Languages)

    Robin K. Morris, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, 1990 (Psychology)

Assistant Professors

    D. Eric Holt, Ph.D., Georgetown University, 1997 (Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese)
    Matthew J. Traxler, Ph.D., University of Oregon, 1993 (Psychology)

    Tracey L. Weldon, Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1998 (English)

Consulting Faculty


    T. Bruce Fryer, Ph.D., University of Texas, 1970 (Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese)

Associate Professors

    Amittai F. Aviram, Ph.D., Yale University, 1984 (English)
    Kenneth P. Fleak, Ph.D., University of Missouri, 1981 (Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese)

    Elaine M. Frank, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1988 (Communication Sciences and Disorders)

    Scott J. Gwara, Ph.D., Center for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, 1993 (English)

    Hiram L. McDade, Ph.D., University of Tennessee, 1976 (Communication Sciences and Disorders)

Assistant Professors

    Junko Baba, Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 1966 (Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian Languages)
    Darrell Dernoshek, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1996 (Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese)

    Annie P. Duménil, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1983 (French and Classics)

    Janice E. Jackson, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, 1998 (Communication Sciences and Disorders)


    Alexandra Rowe, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1990 (Director, English Program for Internationals)

Professors Emeriti

    Michael Montgomery, Ph.D., University of Florida, 1979 (English)
    Bruce L. Pearson, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1972 (English)


The linguistics program at the University of South Carolina is interdepartmental, with strong ties to anthropology; communication sciences and disorders; computer science and engineering; English language and literature; French and classics; Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian languages and literatures; philosophy; psychology; and Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. The program’s core faculty (inclusive of two professors emeriti) teach most of the courses offered and direct graduate students in the program. In addition to these core faculty, the program has the support of adjunct core faculty and consulting faculty on the Columbia campus, whose areas of expertise are in or related to linguistics, and who frequently serve on thesis committees or as the outside member on doctoral committees. It also has strong ties to the English Programs for Internationals.

The graduate program in linguistics is comprehensive in its scope. Its mission is to train students to pursue research and teach in a wide range of linguistic subdisciplines. The program strives to develop students’ analytical skills and to encourage creative and critical approaches to data, models, and theories. In addition to requiring all students to have a theoretical foundation in general linguistics, phonology, and syntax, the interdepartmental structure of the program affords students the opportunity to take course work and pursue specializations in a broad range of subdisciplines, including: anthropological linguistics, discourse analysis, French/Germanic/Spanish linguistics, historical linguistics, philosophy of language, phonological theory, psycholinguistics, second/foreign language acquisition, sociolinguistics, syntactic theory, and teaching English as a second/foreign language.

The program’s dual emphasis on theoretical and applied aspects is regarded by students and faculty as one of its major strengths, and the great variety of research conducted by faculty and graduate students is a reflection of the intellectual diversity that characterizes the program.

In addition to offering graduate degrees to its own students, the linguistics program also provides cognate or minor field courses to graduate students in a number of other departments. Minor fields of study have been designed and approved for Ph.D. students in the following programs: linguistic anthropology comparative literature, English composition and rhetoric, experimental psychology, French literature, medieval and early modern English literature, Spanish literature, and speech pathology. Other minors are currently planned.


The program in linguistics offers work leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees and a graduate certificate in teaching English as a foreign language.


Students interested in linguistics come from diverse backgrounds. Accordingly, each applicant is considered on an individual basis as to showing sufficient promise of ability to do graduate work. The program expects minimum GPAs of 3.00 for all undergraduate work and 3.50 for all graduate work (on a 4.00 scale). At least two satisfactory letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic achievement are required. American students must meet the program’s current standards on the GRE (which include minimum combined verbal and analytical scores of 1,200 for the Ph.D., 1,000 for the M.A., and 800 for the TEFL certificate).

International students must take the TOEFL examination–achieving at least 590 (243 computer-based score) for Ph.D. admission and 570 (230 computer-based score) for M.A. and TEFL certificate admission–and the GRE. For Ph.D. admission, non-native speakers of English must score at least 400 on both the verbal and analytical parts of the GRE. For M.A. and TEFL certificate admission, non-native speakers of English must score at least 350 on both the verbal and analytical parts of the GRE. In all cases, minimum scores and grades are no guarantee of admission, and applicants with scores and grades well above the minimums are preferred.

A statement of purpose is required of all applicants, and an academic writing sample is required of Ph.D. applicants.

Degree Requirements

The linguistics program imposes a three-C’s rule on all graduate students. Students who receive grades below B on nine or more graduate credit hours are consequently suspended from degree candidacy status in the linguistics program and are not permitted to enroll for additional courses even as nondegree students without the specific approval of the linguistics program and The Graduate School.


Master of Arts in Linguistics

Candidates must take a minimum of 32 hours of graduate work, to include:

1. LING 600, 710, 720 (11 hours)

2. two courses in an approved special field (6 hours)

3. two LING courses outside of the special field (6 hours)

4. two additional three-hour courses approved by the student’s advisor (6 hours)

5. three hours of LING 799 (3 hours).

The study of languages is strongly encouraged, and candidates must demonstrate knowledge of at least one foreign language, either as a research tool or as exemplifying structures not common in modern Indo-European languages. Candidates must also pass an oral examination covering general linguistics, successfully defend their thesis proposal, and complete a thesis. Normally, it takes a candidate two years to complete all requirements.


Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics

Candidates for the Ph.D. must take:

1. LING 600, 710, 712, 720, 721, 730, and 739

2. at least 12 credits in a primary field (e.g., second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, syntax, discourse analysis, historical linguistics)

3. twelve credits in a secondary field

4. an additional nine credits, approved by the program, in elective LING courses. Students having a B.A. or M.A. in linguistics or applied linguistics may be exempted from this requirement

5. and 12 hours of LING 899.

Candidates must also demonstrate knowledge of two foreign languages (for research purposes) and take an additional six hours of course credit or demonstrate knowledge of a language exhibiting structural phenomena not common in modern Indo-European languages. The secondary field may consist entirely of LING-designated courses; however, it also could include both LING-designated courses and courses from other departments. A student may also choose a secondary field made up entirely of courses from a cooperating department, such as anthropology, one of the foreign languages, or English.

Students must pass a qualifying examination as part of the procedure for admission to candidacy. Students must pass a comprehensive examination over general linguistics, a special field in linguistics, and the secondary field. The candidate must prepare and defend a dissertation on an approved topic.


Teaching English as a Foreign Language

The program in linguistics offers a graduate certificate in teaching English as a foreign language–a six-course, 18-semester-hour program. The program does not grant certification to teach in the public schools of South Carolina. Its course requirements are as follows:

1. LING 600, 790, 795, 798 (12 hours)

2. One of the following courses: LING 715, 725, 791, 890, 891; ENGL 790; or any other course in English as a second language or in second language acquisition (3 hours)

3. One additional LING course designated by the student’s advisor from the current course listing.

For this program no courses may be transferred from another university, although up to nine semester hours of overlapping course work from another program at the University of South Carolina may count toward completion of the certificate. For full-time students, the certificate course work can be completed in one academic year, with the practicum extending through first summer session.

Course Descriptions

Linguistics (LING)

  • 502–French Linguistics. {=FREN 517} (3) (Prereq: FREN 515) The structure, morphology, and syntax of modern French.
  • 503–Introduction to German Linguistics. {=GERM 515} (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Structural and descriptive linguistics applied to the German language.
  • 504–Introduction to Spanish Linguistics. {=SPAN 515} (3) Phonology, morphology, and syntax of modern Spanish.
  • 512–French Phonology. {=FREN 516} (3) The sound system and its functioning in the morphological system of French from the point of view of current phonological theory.
  • 514–Contrastive English-Spanish Phonetics and Phonology. {=SPAN 517} (3) Introduction to the study of phonetics and phonology and their application to the sounds and sound systems of English and Spanish. Includes transcription practice and discussion of relevance to teaching.
  • 530–Language Change. (3) Major ways in which phonetics, phonology, syntax, morphology, and semantics change through language history; social factors which promote innovation.
  • 541–Language and Gender. {=ANTH 555, WOST 555} (3) Approaches to gender and language emphasizing the social grounding of both; how language reflects sociocultural values and is a tool for constructing different types of social organization.
  • 565–Philosophy of Language. {=PHIL 517} (3) (Prereq: PHIL 202 or consent of the instructor) An examination of concepts and problems such as meaning, reference, analyticity, definition, and the relation between logic and philosophy.
  • 567–Psychology of Language. {=PSYC 506} (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Theories of speech perception, lingustic theories of syntax and semantics, the brain mechanisms underlying language, the development of language in children, and the role of language in thought.
  • 570–Introduction to Language Development. {=COMD 570} (3) (Prereq: permission of instructor) The language acquisition process in normal children, including the development of semantics, morphology, syntax, phonology, and pragmatics; American dialects and bilingualism.
  • 600–Survey of Linguistics. {=ENGL 680} (3) Major approaches to language study and linguistics related to other disciplines; required as first course for any program of study in linguistics.
  • 710–Introduction to Phonology. (4) (Prereq: LING 600) The phonetic basis of phonology; phonological structure; lexical representation; cross-linguistic survey of major types of phonological processes; emphasis on data analysis.
  • 712–Phonological Theory. (3) (Prereq: LING 600 and 710) Advanced study of theoretical issues in phonology.
  • 715–Applied English Phonetics. (3) Introduction to the study of English phonetics. Covers basic concepts of acoustic phonetics, properties of English speech sounds, and their acoustic variability in varying types of linguistic context.
  • 720–Introduction to Syntax. (4) (Prereq: LING 600) Foundations of generative grammar, focusing on the syntax of English; universal principles of basic clause structure and derived constructions; emphasis on syntactic argumentation and cross-linguistic generalization.
  • 721–Syntactic Theory. (3) (Prereq: LING 600 and 720) Advanced exploration of a principled model of the syntactic component of universal grammar and the interface between this module and semantic interpretations and lexical information. Competing hypotheses are compared.
  • 725–Applied English Syntax. {=ENGL 783} (3) Practical survey of the syntactic structures of English; usage, social and regional variation emphasis on data.
  • 727–Semantics. (3) (Prereq: LING 600) Traditional and structural approaches to semantics; feasibility of using a semantics-based generative model to account for morphological and syntactic arrangements.
  • 728–Formal Semantics. (3) (Prereq: LING 600) The formal study of linguistic meaning; includes set theory, propositional and predicate calculus, quantification, meaning and reference, the pragmatics of speech acts, and word meaning.
  • 730–Historical Linguistics. (3) (Prereq: LING 600, 710) Innovation in phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics; evidence from texts, social and regional dialects; emphasis on theories of language change.
  • 731–History of English Language. {=ENGL 781} (3) The historical background of Modern English with attention to the major linguistic and cultural developments which distinguish English from other related languages. No prior knowledge of Old English or Middle English is required.
  • 732–History of the French Language. {=FREN 715} (3) Development of the French language from its origins to 1600.
  • 733–History of the German Language. {=GERM 705} (3) Relationship of German to the other Germanic languages. Phonological and morphological development of German. Attention also to syntax, vocabulary, and dialects.
  • 734–History of the Spanish Language. {=SPAN 715} (3) Development of the language from its origins to the present day.
  • 739–History and Methodology of Linguistics. (3) (Prereq: LING 600, 710, 720) Introduces basic resources of discipline and focuses on the development of linguistics in terms of dominant issues and analytical methodology with emphasis on "paradigm shifts."
  • 740–Introduction to Sociolinguistics. (3) (Prereq or coreq: LING 600) An examination of choices speakers in the same community make between styles, dialects, and languages; their association with social group memberships; speakers’ perceptions of interpersonal relationships.
  • 742–Analysis of Conversation. {=ANTH 756} (3) Types of interactive organization found within conversation and the methods and procedures used by participants to achieve order.
  • 744–Language Contact Phenomena. (3) (Prereq: LING 600) The structural effects of contact between speakers of more than one language on the language involved. Borrowing, code-switching, convergence, language death, development of pidgins and creoles.
  • 745–Varieties of American English. {=ENGL 782} (3) Social and regional variation in American English since the colonial period.
  • 747–Language as Social Action. {=ANTH 747} (3) Examines language as a social, cultural, and political matrix. Topics include ideology, gender, race, power, agency, and resistance. Students will apply linguistic theories in their own analyses of everyday speech.
  • 765–Studies in Philosophy of Language. {=PHIL 718} (3) Examination of concepts such as meaning, reference, analyticity, and translational indeterminacy; evaluation of accounts of speech acts, the semantics of propositional attitudes, and metaphor and other pragmatic phenomena.
  • 780–Discourse Analysis. (3) (Prereq: LING 600) Underlying principles of how phonological, syntactic, and lexical features are organized above the sentence level; alternative choices of these features and how they contribute to the speaker’s/writer’s goals.
  • 781–Stylistics. {=ENGL 788} (3) Linguistic analysis of literary texts. Linguistic definition of style; stylistic choices as the author’s voice.
  • 790–Second Language Acquisition. (3) (Prereq or coreq: LING 600) Study of current theory and research in second language acquisition and exploration of relationships between such work and classroom second language learning and teaching. Examination of research techniques used in applied linguistics.
  • 791–Theory and Methodology in Second Language Acquisition. (3) (Prereq: LING 600, 790) Current issues and research in adult second language acquisition, with special attention to developments in theory and to methodological issues and considerations.
  • 795–Teaching English as a Foreign Language. (3) (Prereq: LING 600) Problems in learning and teaching English pronunciation, word morphology, syntax, and vocabulary including supervised practice in tutoring non-native speakers of English.
  • 796–Second Language Reading. (3) (Prereq: LING 790) Research on the mental processes involved in reading in a second language; pedagogical implications for children and adults.
  • 798–Practicum in TEFL. (3) (Prereq: LING 600, 795) Observation and supervised teaching of English as a foreign language in an individually designed classroom setting. May not be taken by M.A. or Ph.D. students as part of their required courses.
  • 799–Thesis Preparation. (1—9)
  • 805–Topics in Linguistics. (3) Topics selected by the instructor for specialized study. May be repeated with different suffix.
  • 806–Directed Reading and Research. (1—3)
  • 820–Seminar in Syntax. (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Advanced exploration in syntactic theory, involving either cross-theoretical examination of specific linguistic phenomena or in-depth study of a particular theoretical model.
  • 840–Seminar in Language Variation. (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Current theories relevant to specialized consideration of the social functions of linguistic choices at any level of analysis; variation as a reflection of region and social group membership or interpersonal relationships.
  • 890–Seminar in Language Acquisition. (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Special topics in the acquisition of language such as first language acquisition of English or other languages, cross-linguistic effects on acquisition, or issues in acquisition theory.
  • 891–Seminar in English as a Second Language. (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Special topics in teaching English as a second language such as materials design, program design and evaluation, or teaching a particular language skill.
  • 899–Dissertation Preparation. (1—12)

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