College of Liberal Arts


 Undergraduate 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 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)
John Stanley Rich, Ph.D., University of Alabama, 1979 (English, USC Aiken)
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)
Tamara Valentine, Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1986 (Fine Arts, Language and Literature, USC Spartanburg)
Assistant Professors
Junko Baba, Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 1966 (Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian Languages)
Darrell J. 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 Massuchusetts, 1998 (Communication Sciences and Disorders)
Lara L. Lomicka, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 2001 (French and Classics)
Alexandra Rowe, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1990 (Director, English Program for Internationals)
Elena Schmitt, Ph.D., University of South carolina, 2001 (Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian Languages)
Professors Emeriti
Michael Montgomery, Ph.D., University of Florida, 1979 (English)
Bruce L. Pearson, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1972 (English)


Linguistics is the scientific study of language and includes subdisciplines such as phonetics/phonology (the study of speech sounds), morphology (the study of word structure), grammar/syntax (the study of phrasal and sentence structure), and semantics (the study of meaning). The field of linguistics is related to many other areas of study and is a specialization within certain areas: anthropological linguistics, psycholinguistics, or Spanish lingustics, for example. The Linguistics Program at USC offers the possibility of an undergraduate minor or cognate field in linguistics, and knowledge gained in such a course of study can complement a wide variety of disciplines. Students who would especially benefit from a minor or cognate in linguistics are those majoring in anthropology, computer science, English, French, German, philosophy, psychology, and Spanish. A linguistics minor is also good preparation for a graduate program in speech pathology. A student wishing to have linguistics as a major concentration of study may pursue an emphasis in the field through the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (B.A.I.S.) degree program. Further information about the B.A.I.S. program may be obtained from the College of Liberal Arts.
The recommended first step in learning about linguistics is LING 300: Introduction to Language Sciences (cross listed as ANTH 373 and PSYC 470). Note that this course can be taken for social science elective credit. After the introduction gained in this course, the student is prepared for topics courses on the 400 and 500 level. (There are, however, no formal prerequisites for these courses.) Possibilities include courses on language in society, history of language, acquisition of language by children, and courses devoted to the description of a particular language: English, French, German, or Spanish. Majoring in one of the related disciplines and minoring in linguistics can prepare students for a variety of careers, including teaching, translating, foreign service, and social work, or for graduate study in linguistics and any of its related fields. For students who want to pursue linguistics past the undergraduate level, the USC Linguistics Program offers a comprehensive graduate program in linguistics, which leads to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.

Minor in Linguistics

(18 hours)
LING 300 or 301 (3 hours); plus any five additional LING courses at the 310 level or above (15 hours)

Course Descriptions (LING)

  • 300--Introduction to Language Sciences. {=ANTH 373 and PSYC 470} (3) Introduction to the linguistic component of human cognition. Properties of speech, the organization of language in the mind/brain, crosslinguistic universals, child language acquisition, and aspects of adult language processing.
  • 301--The English Language. {=ENGL 389} (3) Introduction to the field of linguistics with an emphasis on English. Covers the English sound system, word structure, and grammar. Explores history of English, American dialects, social registers, and style.
  • 340--Language, Culture, and Society. {=ANTH 355} (3) Language in its social setting. The relationship between linguistic categories and culture categories. Language and cognition.
  • 399--Independent Study. (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Contract approved by instructor, advisor, and program director is required for undergraduate students.
  • 405--Topics in Linguistics. (3) Intensive study of selected topics; may emphasize interdisciplinary themes.
  • 421--English Grammar. {=ENGL 450} (3) Study of traditional, structural, and generative systems of English grammar.
  • 431--Development of the English Language. {=ENGL 453} (3) English from Indo-European through Germanic and into Old English, Middle English, and Modern English. No previous knowledge of Old English or Middle English is required.
  • 440--Language in Society. {=ENGL 455} (3) Patterns in language use as a reflection of social group memberships or the negotiation of interpersonal relationships; special attention to social dialects and stylistic difference in American English.
  • 441--The English Language in America. {=ENGL 456} (3) Differences between British and American English; regional and social dialects with emphasis on educational applications.
  • 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.

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