Introduction to the study and theory of language as it is actually used by people in speech and writing. Regional and social language variation and variation in text corpora will both be considered, as will the relationship of language variation to language change.
ENGL/LING 4080/6080 Spring 2023 Kretzschmar TTH 11:10-12:25, Park 145
Language and Complex Systems
Office: 313 Park. Email: email@example.com. Office Hours: TTH 8:30-9:30 in person, via Skype (bill.kretzschmar), and by appointment (email me to set one up).
Catalog: Introduction to the study and theory of language as it is actually used by people in speech and writing, in contrast to theories that focus on more abstract linguistic structure.
Texts: Kretzschmar, The Linguistics of Speech (Cambridge: CUP, 2009); Kretzschmar, Language and Complex Systems (Cambridge: CUP, 2015); Melanie Mitchell, Complexity: A Guided Tour (New York: Oxford UP, 2009); articles provided on eLC.
Course Conduct: Lecture/discussion, in person. There will be five in-class tests and no final exam ("continuous assessment"). There will be one short paper (5 pp) and a major paper due at the end of the term (c. 10-15 pp undergrad, c. 20 pp. grad). Papers will be argumentative essays prepared according to standard practices for academic papers, and include appropriate use of the scholarly literature. There will be a proposal (2-3 pp) for the final paper. Grades will be based on class attendance (90 pts), the five in-class exams (250 pts), the short paper (100 pts), and the final paper (50 pts proposal, 150 pts final paper). 640 total points. Course info will be on the Web at the UGA eLC (elc.uga.edu).
Goals and Topics: This course discusses the common confusion between different approaches to linguistics and language study, and provides a general theoretical framework under which empirically-based investigation of speech can be carried out: complex systems. Complex systems is a new science currently useful in physics, ecology and evolutionary biology, and economics, but also a perfect fit for the humanities. The science of complexity describes how massive numbers of random interactions can give rise to order, regularities that “emerge” from the interactions without specific causes. This course is a foundational course in complex systems at UGA. As for linguistics, we will first step back from the modern practices of linguistics in order to examine the choices available for language study, as usefully categorized a century ago by Saussure. Then, we will consider empirical evidence from real speech, primarily from survey research and corpus linguistics but also from other empirical studies of language in use, to answer the question "what model of human language does this evidence lead us to build." In particular, such study will introduce students to language variation, and will consider how the fact of variation should condition how one thinks about language. Language as people use it creates expectations among professional linguists and the public that have strong implications for social and educational policy.
Jan 10, 12 T: Course intro. Th: LCS Intro, 1
Jan 17, 19 T: LCS 2 Th: M 1, 2
Jan 24, 26 T: M 5, 6 Th: M 3, 4, EX 1
Jan 31, Feb 2 T: M 8, 9 Th: M 10, 12
Feb 7, 9 T: M 13, 14, 16 Th: M 15, 17
Feb 14, 16 T: LxS 1, 3 Th: LxS 2, EX 2
Feb 21, 23 T: LxS 4 Th: how to write a paper, incl authoritative info, citation, structure, argument, license
Feb 28, Mar 2 T: LxS 5, eLC 1: Sinclair Th: eLC 2: Kretzschmar, corpus
Mar 7, 9 No class, Spring Break
Mar 14, 16 T: LxS 6 Th: LxS 6, EX 3
Mar 21, 23 T: LxS 7, short paper due Th: LCS 3 (withdrawal deadline)
Mar 28, 30 T: LCS 4 Th: LCS 5
Apr 4, 6 T: LCS 6 Th: LCS 7, EX 4
Apr 11, 13 T: eLC 3: Chambers Th: eLC 4: Milroy, proposal due
Apr 18, 20 T: eLC 5, Tagliamonte Th: eLC 6: simulation
Apr 25, 27 T: LCS 8 Th: Th: LxS 8, EX 5
May 5 No class; Paper due by email.
eLC 1:J. Sinclair, the Search for Units of Meaning, in Trust the Text (London: Routledge, 2004), 24-48.
eLC 2: W. Kretzschmar, Jr., Complex Systems for Corpus Linguists. ICAME Journal 45 (2021): 155-177.
eLC 3: J.K. Chambers, Correlations, in Sociolinguistic Theory, rev. ed. (Oxford: Blackwell, 2009), 1-37.
eLC 4: L. Milroy and M. Gordon, Sociolinguistics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), Chapter 5.
eLC 5: S. Tagliamonte, A. D’Arcy, and C. Rodríguez Louro. 2016. Outliers, impact, and rationalization in linguistic change. Language 92: 824–849.
eLC 6: W. Kretzschmar, Jr, I. Juuso, T. Bailey. Computer Simulation of Dialect Feature Diffusion. Journal of Linguistic Geography 2 (2014): 41-57.
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The course syllabus is a general plan for the course; deviations announced to the class by the instructor may be necessary.
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