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Courses Approved for Major

Program in Linguistics

310 Gilmer Hall
Phone: (434) 924-0646
Fax: (434) 982-4766

Overview Language is central to virtually all human activity. Indeed, many argue that the emergence of language was the single most important factor in the differentiation of the human species from other hominids. Linguists study language as a specialized communicative system with its own distinctive principles of structure and patterning. Apart from the traditional subfields of phonology (the patterning of speech sounds), morphology (word-building processes), and syntax (rules of phrase and sentence formation), there are the interdisciplinary research areas of semantics and discourse analysis, with connections to philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and literature; sociolinguistics; psycholinguistics; and linguistic anthropology.

Faculty  The linguistics faculty are housed in a handful of University departments, including anthropology, philosophy, psychology, and various language departments. Their research interests span all the subfields mentioned above, and their publications cover a wide number of languages and language families, including Romance, Slavic, Germanic, Sanskrit, Chinese, Arabic, African and Native American languages, and American Sign Language.

Students There are usually fewer than ten linguistics majors in a given year. Many combine linguistics with a major in a related field such as a foreign language, psychology, or anthropology. Linguistics classes are generally small, with an emphasis on class participation and problem-solving. All courses in the program are taught by faculty members.

Graduates with a B.A. in Linguistics pursue a variety of careers. Some conduct graduate work in a related field, such as language and literature, language teaching, or speech pathology; others become involved in non-academic pursuits, ranging from law to computer programming. Yet even those who do not continue in linguistics find the analytical skills and knowledge acquired in the major to be relevant and useful.

Interdepartmental Major in Linguistics  A major in linguistics permits a student to explore both the independent and interdisciplinary aspects of human language. Courses focus on both historical and synchronic analysis, and cover several modern approaches to data.

Requirements for Major  The major program consists of 30 credits. The following courses, yielding 12 credits, are required of all majors: LNGS 325; LNGS 326 or ANTH 348; a course in the structure of a language, which must be a linguistics course (e.g., RUSS 521 or 522, ANTH 504); and a course in theoretical linguistics, (e.g., ANTH 542, PHIL 550). A maximum of three credits of study of an ancient (e.g., Sanskrit, Old Icelandic) or a non-Indo-European (e.g., Japanese, American Sign Language) language may be counted toward the major. The program must be chosen in consultation with an advisor (Bonvillian, Contini-Morava, Elson, Rini, Saunders).

Requirements for Minor  The minor is the same as the major with respect to required courses. Two electives are required in addition, for a total of 18 credits.

Distinguished Majors Program in Linguistics  Students with superior academic performance are encouraged to apply to the Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) in which they write a thesis demonstrating original research. Requirements for admission to the DMP are:

  1. an overall GPA of at least 3.4, and a GPA of at least 3.4 in all courses counted toward the major. This GPA must be maintained throughout the fourth year in order for distinction to be awarded;
  2. a thesis proposal, signed and approved by the faculty member in Linguistics who has primary responsibility for supervising the thesis, and by a second faculty member who is the second reader.

After admission, DMP students enroll in LING 498 in the first semester of the fourth year. In the second semester of the fourth year, students sign up for LING 499. The thesis may be based on empirical research conducted by the student or a critical review of theoretical analysis of existing findings in linguistics or a related field. Students must submit the first draft to their advisors by March 1, and the final draft by April 15.

Additional Information  For more information, contact John D. Bonvillian, Chair, Program in Linguistics, Department of Psychology, 315 Gilmer Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22903; (434) 924-0646; www.virginia.edu/~linguistics.


Courses Approved for Major


The following courses are approved for the major. Consult the Graduate Record for descriptions of courses at the 500 level.

Linguistic Courses

LING 496 - (Credit to be arranged) (SI)
Independent Study in Linguistics

Conducted by students under the supervision of an instructor of their choice.

LING 497 - (Credit to be arranged) (SI)
Supervised Research in Linguistics

Conducted by students under the direction of an instructor of their choice.

LING 498 - 499 - (3) (Y)
Distinguished Major Thesis

Prerequisite: Participants in the Distinguished Majors Program in Linguistics.
A two-semester course in which the student prepares a thesis under the supervision of a Linguistics faculty member.

LING 501 - (3) (IR)
Synchronic Linguistics

Prerequisite: LNGS 325 and instructor permission. Studies the theoretical foundations of major linguistic models with attention to problem solving and descriptive techniques. Emphasizes the American structuralist and transformational-generative models of language.

LING 506 - (3) (IR)
Syntax and Semantics

Prerequisite: LNGS 325 and permission of the instructor.
Analyzes and describes sentence structure and its relationship to meaning.

LING 507 - (3) (SI)
Syntactic Theory

Prerequisite: LNGS 325 and permission of the instructor.
Studies the major schools of syntactic theory.

LING 509 - (3) (Y)
Teaching English as a Second Language

Prerequisite: LNGS 325 and instructor permission.
Studies the theory, problems, and methods in teaching English as a second language, with attention to relevant areas of general linguistics and the structure of English.

LING 525, 526 - (3) (SI)
Romance Linguistics

Studies the vulgar Latin origins and patterns of linguistic change in the principal Romance languages.

ANTH 341 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Sociolinguistics

ANTH 345 - (3) (SI)
American Indian Languages

ANTH 348 - (3) (E)
Language and Prehistory

ANTH 504 - (3) (Y)
Field Methods

ANTH 540 - (3) (Y)
Linguistic Anthropology

ANTH 542 - (3) (IR)
Modern Structural Linguistics

ANTH 545 - (3) (IR)
African Languages and Folklore

ANTH 549 - (Credit to be arranged) (IR)
Selected Topics in Theoretical Linguistics and Linguistic Anthropology

ENLS 303 - (3) (Y)
History of the English Language

ENCR 333 - (3) (Y)

ENMD 501 - (3) (IR)
Introduction to Old English

ENMD 505, 506 - (3) (IR)
Old Icelandic

FREN 339 - (3) (S)
French Phonetics and Phonology Conducted in French.

FREN 428 - (3) (Y)
History of the French Language Conducted in French.

LNGS 200 - (3) (O)
Grammatical Concepts in Foreign Language Learning

Treats the grammatical concepts traditionally considered relevant in the teaching and study of foreign languages, including the study of English as a second language. Some foreign language experience is strongly recommended.

LNGS 222 - (3) (Y)
Black English

Introduces the history and structure of what has been termed Black English Vernacular or Black Street English. Focuses on the sociolinguistic factors that led to its emergence, its present role in the Black community, and its relevance in education and racial stereotypes.

LNGS 325 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Linguistic Theory and Analysis

Introduces sign systems, language as a sign system, and approaches to linguistics description. Emphasizes the application of descriptive techniques to data.

LNGS 326 - (3) (O)
Introduction to Comparative-Historical Linguistics

Prerequisite: LNGS 325 or instructor permission.
Surveys the elements of comparative-historical linguistics.

LNGS 495 - (1-6) (Y)
Independent Study in General Linguistics

LNGS 496 - (1-6) (Y)
Independent Study in General Linguistics

PHIL 350 - (3) (IR)
Philosophy of Language

PSYC 311 - (3) (IR)
Psychology of Language

PSYC 411 - (3) (Y)

PSYC 555 - (3) (IR)
Developmental Psycholinguistics

RUSS 521 - (3) (SI)
The Structure of Modern Russian: Phonology and Morphology

RUSS 522 - (3) (SI)
The Structure of Modern Russian: Syntax and Semantics

RUSS 524 - (3) (SI)
History of the Russian Language

SANS 501, 502 - (3) (IR)
Introductory Sanskrit

SLAV 525 - (3) (SI)
Introduction to Slavic Linguistics

SPAN 309 - (3) (S)
Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics Conducted in Spanish.

SPAN 310 - (3) (S)
Phonetics Conducted in Spanish.

SPAN 420 - (3) (Y)
History of the Language

SPAN 430 - (3) (IR)
Hispanic Dialectology and Bilingualism

SPAN 514 - (3) (E)
Applied Linguistics

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