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Language (Spring 2022) (archived page)

This page has basic information about the course. A more detailed syllabus can be found on Brightspace under Contents.

Course Description

What does it mean to know a language? Linguistics, the scientific study of language, seeks to address this question at various levels, including how we compose sounds and meanings into words and sentences, how we learn language, and even how language varies within speech communities. This course teaches the basic techniques used in the field to investigate the underlying patterns shared across languages, and will provide you with the necessary background to continue your studies in linguistics at a more advanced level. It satisfies the introductory course requirement for Linguistics majors and is a prerequisite for many other courses.

Course Details

  • Title: LING-UA 1 Language
  • Section 001: 
    • Mondays and Wednesdays 3:30-4:45pm, Silver 401
    • Instructor: Lucas Champollion – office hours Tuesdays 4-5pm, online on Zoom, via Brightspace
    • The best way to reach Prof. Champollion is via the Brightspace forums.
  • Recitation (section 002):
    • Thursdays, 11:00AM-12:15PM
    • Instructor: Ioana Grosu ( – office hours Mondays 2:15-3:15pm, 10 Washington Place, room 409
  • Recitation (section 003): 
    • Instructor: Thaddeus Okon ( – office hours Wednesdays 1:30-2:30pm, online on Zoom, via Brightspace
  • Prerequisites: None; this course assumes no prior knowledge of linguistics. Don’t worry if you are not a native speaker of English.


The primary textbook we will be using is Linguistics for Dummies, 1st edition, by Rose-Marie Déchaine, Strang Burton and Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson. Please don’t be offended by the title — we do not think you are dummies! This is a high-quality book written by world-class linguists. It appeared in a series that imposes the title on all of its books. Prof. Champollion has read the book from cover to cover before deciding to adopt it, and can attest that it is written in a very accessible way, without sacrificing accuracy or rigor; has no major factual errors; and does a good job at covering most facets of linguistics in a balanced way. The book is available online for just $12. You will be able to purchase it online via the Perusall platform (which you can access via the Contents tab on Brightspace). Please do not purchase the textbook in hard copy as you would then not be able to access it on Perusall.

To enhance Linguistics for Dummies, we will be assigning video and text from the textbook Essentials of Linguistics by Catherine Anderson, about the core areas of theoretical linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics), supplemented with discussion of psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic findings. All these materials will be accessible free of charge, and are licensed via Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike. We are indebted to Prof. Anderson for making these materials available to the linguistics community.