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updated 5/11/2009


Robin K. Morris
, Director

Core Faculty

Stanley Dubinsky, Ph.D., Cornell University, 1985 (English)
Kurt Goblirsch, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1990 (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)
Robin K. Morris, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, 1990 (Psychology)

Associate Professors
Amit Almor, Ph.D., Brown University, 1995 (Psychology)
Anne Bezuidenhout, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1990 (Philosophy)
Dorothy Disterheft, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1977 (English)
D. Eric Holt, Ph.D., Georgetown University, 1997 (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures), Graduate Director
Tracey L. Weldon, Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1998 (English)
Lara L. Lomicka, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 2001 (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)

Assistant Professors
Elaine Chun, Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 2007 (English)
Janina Fenigsen, Ph.D., Brandeis University, 2000 (Anthropology)
Jennifer F. Reynolds, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles, 2002 (Anthropology)
Barbara Schulz, Ph.D., University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2006 (English)

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

Consulting Faculty

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

Associate Professors
Junko Baba, Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 1966 (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)
Elaine M. Frank, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1988 (Communication Sciences and Disorders)
Susi Long, Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1995 (Instruction and Teacher Education)
Hiram L. McDade, Ph.D., University of Tennessee, 1976 (Communication Sciences and Disorders)

Assistant Professors
Lara Ducate, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2003 (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)
Annie P. Duménil, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1983 (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)

Curtis Ford, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 2001 (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)

Professors Emeriti
Greta Little, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1974 (English)
Michael Montgomery, Ph.D., University of Florida, 1979 (English)


Linguistics is the scientific study of language and includes subdisciplines such as phonetics and phonology (the study of speech sounds), morphology (the study of word structure), grammar and 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 Arts and Sciences.

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)

  • 140 -- Linguistic Diversity Awareness. (2) A course designed to cultivate awareness of phonological and grammatical differences among dialects of English and ability to switch comfortably between one's dialect and standard usage. Two-hour lecture and laboratory.
  • 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, cross-linguistic 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.
  • 314 -- Spanish Phonetics and Pronunciation. {=SPAN 317} (3) (Prereq: placement at 300 level of Phase II placement exam, C+ or better in SPAN 309, or consent of instructor; department permission required for transfer students) Analysis of and practice in pronunciation, listening comprehension, and dialect recognition based on study of the speech sounds, combinations, patterns, and processes of Spanish phonetics and phonology.
  • 340 -- Language, Culture, and Society. {=ANTH 355} (3) Language in its social setting. The relationship between linguistic categories and culture categories. Language and cognition.
  • 345 -- Language in the USA. {=ENGL 370} (3) Linguistic examination of the structure, history, and use of language varieties in the U.S., with a particular focus on regional and sociocultural variation and relevant sociolinguistic issues.
  • 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) Major structures of English morphology and syntax; role of language history and social and regional variation in understanding contemporary English.
  • 431 -- Development of the English Language. {=ENGL 453} (3) History of English from the earliest Old English texts through Middle English to Contemporary English. No previous knowledge of Old 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.
  • 442 -- African-American English. {=AFRO 442, =ANTH 442, =ENGL 457} (3) Linguistic examination of the structure, history, and use of African-American English, as well as literary presentations, language attitudes, and issues relating to education and the acquisition of Standard English.
  • 472 -- Introduction to Technology in Language Education. {=FORL 472} (3) (Prereq: FORL 511) Acquaints students with principles and practices concerning the use of technology in foreign language teaching. Explores connections between second language acquisition and the implementation of Internet and multimedia technologies.
  • 502 -- French Linguistics. {=FREN 517} (3) 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.
  • 505 -- Interdisciplinary Topics in Linguistics. (3) Topics selected by the instructor for specialized study. Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title. May be repeated with different suffix.
  • 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.
  • 540 -- Topics in Language and Culture. (3) Introduction to socoilinguistic issues, focusing on a single language. Course content varies and will be announced by suffix and title. May be repeated twice as topics vary.
  • 541 -- Language and Gender. {=ANTH 555, WGST 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.
  • 542 -- Language and Colonialism. {=ANTH 556} (3) Anthropological approach to issues of language and colonialism in comparative perspective. Linguistic consequences of colonialism under consideration include communicative patterns, linguistic change, and the linguistic choices of post-colonial writers.
  • 543 -- Discourse, Gender, and Politics of Emotion. {=ANTH 586} (3) Anthropological approach to issues of discourse, gender, and emotion. Issues under consideration include the social control, force, and forms of emotional discourse and the relationship between emotion and culture from gender-oriented perspectives.
  • 545 -- Anthropological Approaches to Narrative and Performance. {=ANTH 553} (3) The ways people from various cultures reflect on, reinforce, and construct their social realities through narrating, which will be considered as both artistic expression and social action.
  • 546 -- Japanese Language in Society. {=JAPA 500} (3) Japanese language and communication in its socio-cultural context; emphasis on comparison with American English. Taught in English.
  • 554 -- The Structure of Modern Spanish. {=SPAN 516} (3) Description of the grammatical structures of Modern Spanish. Intensive study of the theory and practice of word formation and sentence structure of Spanish.
  • 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.
    610 -- Introduction to Phonology. (3) (Prereq: LING 300, 301, or 600 or permission of instructor) The phonetic basis of phonology; phonological structure; lexical representation; cross-linguistic survey of major types of phonological processes; emphasis on data analysis.
  • 620 -- Introduction to Syntax. (3) (Prereq: LING 300, 301, or 600 or permission of instructor) 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.
  • 627 -- Introduction to Semantics. (3) (Prereq: LING 300, 301, or 600) An introduction to the study of linguistic meaning, including the following topics: meaning, reference, and truth; the connections among language, thought, and reality; word meaning and sentence meaning; possible worlds and modality; thematic roles; meaning and context; presupposition and implicature; speech acts; formal semantics; and cognitive semantics.
  • 650 -- Introduction to Morphology. (3) (Prereq: LING 300, 301, or 600) Foundations of generative morphology, focusing on morphological data collection and analysis; the structure of the lexicon; and the interfaces between morphology and phonology, semantics, and syntax.
  • 698 -- Practicum in Teaching ESOL. (3) (Prereq: LING 600, 795) Observation and supervised teaching of English to speakers of other languages in an individually designed classroom setting. May not be taken by M.A. or Ph.D. students as part of their required courses.

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