2015-16 catalog

Tri-Co Program in Linguistics

Bi-Co students may major or minor in the Tri-Co Linguistics Department (Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Swarthmore).


Bryn Mawr College

Deepak Kumar, Professor of Computer Science

Amanda Weidman, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Haverford College

Marilyn Boltz, Professor of Psychology

Brook Lillehaugen, Assistant Professor of Linguistics

Ana López-Sánchez, Assistant Professor of Spanish

Danielle Macbeth, T. Wistar Brown Professor of Philosophy

Swarthmore College

Shelley DePaul, Instructor of Linguistics

Melanie Drolsbaugh, Instructor of American Sign Language

Theodore Fernald, Professor of Linguistics

K. David Harrison, Associate Professor of Linguistics

Lorraine Leeson, Julian and Virginia Cornell Distinguished Visiting Professor of Linguistics

Brook Lillehaugen, Assistant Professor (Tri-College) of Linguistics

Brittany McLaughlin, Visiting Instructor, (Part Time) of Linguistics

Donna Jo Napoli, Professor of Linguistics

Nathan Sanders, Visiting Assistant Professor of Linguistics

Anisa Schardl, Visiting Instructor of Linguistics

Linguistics is the scientific study of language, the medium which allows us to communicate and share our ideas with others. As a discipline, linguistics examines the structural components of sound, form and meaning, and the precise interplay between them. Modern linguistic inquiry stresses analytical and argumentation skills, which will prepare students for future pursuits in any field where such skills are essential. Linguistics is also relevant to other disciplines, such as Psychology, Philosophy, Mathematics, Computer Science, Sociology and Anthropology. (Some of our students have double majored with one of them.)

The primary goals of the linguistics major are to introduce students to the field of linguistics proper through a series of foundation courses in linguistics theory and methodology; to provide training in the application of certain theoretical and methodological tools to the analysis of linguistic data; and to offer an array of interdisciplinary courses that allow students to explore other related fields that best suit their interests.

Major Requirements

The Tri-Co Linguistics Department offers two majors:

  • Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

All Linguistics and Linguistics and Languages course majors must take one course or seminar from each of the following three lists:

  • Sounds: LING H115 at HC or LING045, 052 at SC
  • Forms: LING H113 at HC or LING050 at SC
  • Meanings: LING H114 at HC or LING026, 040 at SC

All Linguistics and Linguistics and Languages course majors are required to take the structure of a non-Indo-European Language, typically LING282 at HC, or LING061, 062, 064 at SC.

All majors must take two elective courses in Linguistics or related fields.

In addition, all Linguistics and Linguistics and Languages course majors are required to write a senior thesis in the fall of their senior year in LING100 (Research Seminar). This paper constitutes the comprehensive requirement. The course can be taken for one or two credits. All Linguistics and Linguistics and Languages honors majors are required to write a senior thesis in the fall of the senior year in LING195 for two credits.

Honors majors do all of the above plus two research projects (each carries one credit) to be completed independently in the spring of their senior year and conclude with an oral examination

Minor Requirements

Students may minor in linguistics by completing six credits in the following three areas of study:

A. Mandatory Foundation Courses (three credits):

  • LING H113 or LING S050 Introduction to Syntax
  • LING H114 or LING S040 Introduction to Semantics
  • LING H115 Phonetics and Phonology

B. Synthesis Courses (choose one):

  • LING H282 Structure of Chinese
  • LING H382 Topics in Chinese Syntax and Semantics
  • LING S060 Structure of Navajo
  • LING S062 Structure of American Sign Language
  • LING S064 Structure of Tuvan

C. Elective Courses (choose two):

• LING/PSYC H238 The Psychology of Language

  • LING B101 Introduction to Linguistics
  • LING/PHIL H253 Analytic Philosophy of Language
  • LING/PHIL H260 Historical Introduction to Logic
  • LING/ANTH B281 Language in the Social Context
  • LING/CMSC B325 Computational Linguistics
  • LING/SPAN H365 The Politics of Language in the Spanish-Speaking World
  • LING/EAST H382 Topics in Chinese Syntax and Semantics

All linguistics courses offered at Swarthmore College will be accepted for minor credit for various categories.

Students who plan to declare either major in the Linguistics Department:

  • At the college level, students must fill out the major declaration form as required by the Registrar’s Office of your college.
  • At the departmental level, students must fill out the Sophomore Paper, scan it and email it to Shizhe Huang AND Dorothy Kunzig (dkunzig1@swarthmore.edu).


LING B101 Introduction to Linguistics

An introductory survey of linguistics as a field. This course examines the core areas of linguistic structure (morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics), pragmatics, and language variation in relation to language change. The course provides rudimentary training in the analysis of language data, and focuses on the variety of human language structures and on the question of universal properties of language.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Overfelt,J.
(Fall 2015)

LING B281 Language in Social Context

Studies of language in society have moved from the idea that language reflects social position/identity to the idea that language plays an active role in shaping and negotiating social position, identity, and experience. This course will explore the implications of this shift by providing an introduction to the fields of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. We will be particularly concerned with the ways in which language is implicated in the social construction of gender, race, class, and cultural/national identity. The course will develop students’ skills in the ethnographic analysis of communication through several short ethnographic projects. Prerequisite: ANTH B102, ANTH H103 or permission of instructor.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Crosslisting(s): ANTH-B281
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Weidman,A.
(Fall 2015)

LING B325 Computational Linguistics

Introduction to computational models of understanding and processing human languages. How elements of linguistics, computer science, and artificial intelligence can be combined to help computers process human language and to help linguists understand language through computer models. Topics covered: syntax, semantics, pragmatics, generation and knowledge representation techniques. Prerequisite: CMSC 206 , or H106 and CMSC 231 or permission of instructor.
Crosslisting(s): CMSC-B325
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2015-2016)