Graduate Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

This is a modified and expanded version of the university calendar. 

  • 6050 Structure of a North American Aboriginal Language
  • 6100 Issues in Morphosyntax
  • 6110 Selected Topics in Transformational Grammar
  • 6115 Topics in the Syntax of a Selected Language
  • 6150 Principles of Language Acquisition
  • 6151 Selected Topics in Language Acquisition
  • 6200 Phonological Theory
  • 6201 Selected Topics in Phonology
  • 6210 Sociolinguistics
  • 6212 Selected Topics in Language and Gender
  • 6400 Comparative and Historical Linguistics
  • 6500 Field Methods
  • 6700 Experimental Phonetics
  • 7000 Seminar in Research Methods
  • 7001 Analytical Issues in Linguistics


6050 Structure of a North American Aboriginal Language: Could study the following languages: Cree, Inuttitut (Inuktitut), Innu-aimun (Montagnais/Naskapi), etc.

6100 Issues in Morphosyntax: Examines the relationship between complex morphology and syntactic structure. Data and patterns from a wide variety of languages are considered, including several polysynthetic languages. Students use readings selected from the primary literature for class discussion materials and for their own research.

6110 Selected Topics in Transformational Grammar: The investigation of current generative theory through the study of one or more issues in syntax. A cross-linguistic, parametric approach to problems will be adopted.

6115 Topics in the Syntax of a Selected Language: Investigation of current issues of theoretical interest in the syntax of a specific language. The language chosen will normally be one in which a member of the department has a research interest.

6150 Principles of Language Acquisition: Evaluation of the theoretical aspects of second language acquisition (including the principles and parameters model) which concern mainly constraints on grammar and learning theory which examines the role of the principles of learning and linguistic input. The question of language transfer, effects of age, cognition and individual differences will also be examined.

6151 Selected Topics in Language Acquisition: Various aspects of current second language acquisition theories will be evaluated from the perspective of data-based research gathered on cross-sectional and longitudinal developmental studies.

6200 Phonological Theory: Explores how modern 20th century phonology has developed, how linguists argue for one theory as opposed to another, what kinds of arguments are used for a particular analysis of data within a certain theory. Introduces students to some common theories of contemporary phonology.

6201 Selected Topics in Phonology: Recent advances in theoretical phonology and their application to the analysis of particular languages, with special attention to morphophonology. Emphasis will be placed on argumentation strategies and substantive evidence within phonology.

6210 Sociolinguistics: Studies the detailed patterns of variation found in any given speech community, and factors which co-vary with them, and the various theoretical models proposed to account for such variability. Students acquire a thorough grounding in the methods and theory underlying current approaches to the relationship between language and society. As their major assignment, students will complete a carefully restricted sociolinguistic project.

6212 Selected Topics in Language and Gender: Investigation of selected areas from the recent literature on language and gender.

6400 Comparative and Historical Linguistics: Comparison and reconstruction of phonological and morphological systems, and theoretical issues of linguistic change. Contribution of historical linguistics to the search for a general theory of language. Reconstruction of the phonological and morphological systems in proto-languages and the nature and variety of phonological and morphological systems that have developed from them. The interdependence of sound change and analogy.

6500 Field Methods: Techniques of data collection and analyses of an unknown language in a simulated field situation. Includes methods of elicitation, data filing, and hypothesis formation and testing.

6700 Experiential Phonetics: Some empirical methods of studying the different stages of the “speech chain” which links speaker to hearer, with special emphasis on the acoustic and perceptual stages. The source-plus-filter theory of speech production. A survey of the range of natural articulations and their acoustic effects. Some competing theories of speech perception. Competing correlates for distinctive features (from different stages of the speech chain). The student will be required to undertake a major project or term paper which will require an original analysis or reanalysis of data. Extensive lab work will also be required

7000 Seminar in Research Methods: This course is required of all M.A. and Ph.D. students, and is normally taken in the second semester of the first year. The course provides practice in research and bibliographical techniques regularly used in linguistics, as well as in techniques used in the preparation of paper abstracts and research grant applications. It also serves as an introduction to ethical concerns in research, as well as to issues related to university teaching and research. A major course component consists of individual students’ research into the topic(s) selected for comprehensive paper(s) and/or thesis proposal, depending on the program. Students will be expected to make at least one oral presentation of their topic to the department.

7001 Analytical Issues in Linguistics



Department of Linguistics

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000