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Students may submit an application to major in Linguistics through the independent major program. Students may complete a minor in Linguistics at Haverford College.


Ted Fernald, at Swarthmore College
Shizhe Huang, at Haverford College
Jason Kandybowicz, Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr College students may take advantage of courses offered by the Department of Linguistics at Swarthmore College . Students interested in majoring in linguistics may do so via the independent major program. Such students must meet the requirements set by the independent major program at Bryn Mawr.

The discipline of linguistics is the study of language. On the most general level, it deals with the internal structure of language, the history of the development of language, the information language can give us about the human mind, and the roles language plays in influencing the entire spectrum of human activity.

The relevance of linguistics to the fields of anthropology, cognitive science, language study, philosophy, psychology, and sociology has been recognized for a long time. It is an increasingly valuable tool in literary analysis and is fundamental to an understanding of communication skills. Because the very nature of modern linguistic inquiry is to build arguments for particular analyses, the study of linguistics gives the student finely honed argumentation skills, which stand in good stead in careers in law, business, and any other profession where such skills are crucial.

Linguistics is, at once, a discipline in itself and the proper forum for interdisciplinary work of many types. Language is both the principal medium that human beings use to communicate with each other and the bond that links people together and binds them to their culture. The study of language is the study of the very fabric of our humanity.

Bryn Mawr offers the following course in linguistics.

GNST B239 Introduction to Linguistics

(Kandybowicz, Division I)

Swarthmore College currently offers the following courses in Linguistics:

LING S001 Introduction to Language and Linguistics

Introduction to the study and analysis of human language, including sound systems, lexical systems, the formation of phrases and sentences, and meaning, both in modern and ancient languages and with respect to how languages change over time. Other topics that may be covered include first-language acquisition, sign languages, poetic metrics, the relation between language and the brain, and sociological effects on language. ( Napoli , Lee-Schoenfeld)

LING S004 First-Year Seminar: American Indian Languages

At least 300 languages were spoken in North America before the first contact occurred with Europeans. Most of the surviving languages are on the verge of extinction. Students will learn about language patterns and characteristics of language families, including grammatical classification systems, animacy effects on sentence structure, verbs that incorporate other words, and evidentials. Topics include how languages in contact affect each other, issues of sociolinguistic identity, language endangerment and revitalization efforts, and matters of secrecy and cultural theft. (Fernald)

LING S007 Hebrew for Text Study I


LING S010 Hebrew for Text Study II


LING S025 Language, Culture, and Society

This course investigates the influence of cultural context and social variables that form the basis of variation in language. Classic “Labovian” sociolinguistics forms the first part of the course, which allows ideas to be generated about what social variables are important and how cultural context influences language form. The second part of the course investigates what the nature of the relationship is between variation in language and variation in culture and/or thought. The ramifications for educational issues, social justice and “linguistic prejudice” based on the relationship between language and culture are also explored. Prerequisite: At least one linguistics course. (Strassel)

LING S028 Language Revitalization

This course covers a study of language endangerment and language revitalization efforts, focusing on Native languages of North America . Topics include language classification, what it means for a language to be endangered, the factors that contribute to language sustainability and to language shift, efforts at reversing language shift, literacy, bilingual education, and dictionaries. Coursework includes readings, papers and presentations. (Rice)

LING S034 Psychology of Language


LING S040 Semantics

In this course, we look at a variety of ways in which linguists, philosophers, and psychologists have approached meaning in language. We address truth-functional semantics, lexical semantics, speech act theory, pragmatics, and discourse structure. What this adds up to is an examination of the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences in isolation and in context. (Fernald)

LING S045 Phonetics and Phonology

Phonetics explores the full range of sounds produced by humans for use in language and the gestural, acoustic, and auditory properties that characterize those sounds. Phonology investigates the abstract cognitive system humans use for representing, organizing, and combining the sounds of language as well as processes by which sounds can change into other sounds. This course covers a wide spectrum of data from languages around the world and focuses on developing analyses to account for the data. Argumentation skills are also developed to help determine the underlying cognitive mechanisms that are needed to support proposed analyses. (Lee-Schoenfeld)

LING S050 Syntax

We study the principles that govern how words make phrases and sentences in natural language. Much time is spent on learning argumentation skills. The linguistic skills gained in this course are applicable to the study of any modern or ancient natural language. The argumentation skills gained in this course are applicable to law and business as well as academic fields. (Kandybowicz, Napoli )

LING S062 Structure of American Sign Language

In this course, we look at the linguistic structures of ASL: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and history. We also discuss issues of culture, literacy, and politics pertinent to people with hearing loss. All students are required to participate in a rudimentary introduction to ASL for an additional 0.5 credit. Sign up for LING 062A. Prerequisites: LING 050 and 045 or 052 or permission of the instructor. ( Napoli )

LING S094 Research Project

With permission, students may elect to pursue a research program. (staff)

LING S095 Community-Service Credit: Literacy and People With Hearing Loss

This course offers credit for community service work. You may work with children on literacy skills at the Oral Program for the Hearing Impaired at the Kids' Place in Swarthmore. Prerequisites are LING 045, LING 006 or 062, permission of the directors of both the Linguistics and Education programs, and the agreement of a faculty member in linguistics to mentor you through the project. You would be required to keep a daily or weekly journal of your experiences and to write a term paper (the essence of which would be determined by you and the linguistics faculty member who mentors you in this). ( Napoli )

LING S096 Community-Service Credit: Literacy

This course offers credit for community service work. You may work with children in Chester public schools on literacy skills. The prerequisites are LING/EDUC 054, the permission of the directors of both the Linguistics and Education programs, and the agreement of a faculty member in linguistics to mentor you through the project. You will be required to keep a daily or weekly journal of your experiences and to write a term paper (the essence of which would be determined by you and the linguistics faculty mentor). ( Napoli )

LING S097 Field Research

This course offers credit for field research on a language. Prerequisites are the permission of the chair of linguistics and the agreement of a faculty member in linguistics to mentor you through the project. (staff)

LING S100 Research Seminar

All course majors in LING and LL must write their senior paper in this seminar. Only seniors are admitted. (Fernald, Napoli , Kandybowicz)

LING S107 Seminar in Syntax

This seminar will consider recent developments in the theory of syntax. Topics vary.Prerequisite: LING 040 or 050. (Kandybowicz)

LING S195 Senior Honors Thesis

All honors majors in linguistics and honors minors who are also course majors must write their thesis for 2 credits in the seminar. (Fernald, Napoli , Kandybowicz)

LING S199 Senior Honors Study

Honors majors may write their two research papers for 1 credit in this course. Honors minors may take this course for 0.5 credit. (Fernald)


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