The Program offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics - LINGBA. Majors are exposed to a broad range of information in the study of language from the perspectives of physiology, cognition, meaning, society and culture.
After students have completed the Linguistics program, they will be able (minimally) to:
- Think critically about language and linguistic research,
- Describe and apply principles and methods in the field,
- Communicate effectively orally and in writing according to standards in the field, and
- Recognize situations in which ethical questions arise in Linguistics and apply appropriate standards.
The linguistics major consists of eleven courses, including two foreign language courses (normally at the 200 level or above), and three elective courses.
Completion of the major requires a minimum of a C average in the major. The S/U option may be exercised only in the elective component of the major, for a maximum of four credit hours. A maximum combined total of four hours of courses at the 490-499 level (Directed Study, Directed Research, Honors) may be applied toward the major. Courses completed in approved Linguistics study abroad programs can also be used to fulfill major requirements (with approval of the Program Director or designated faculty advisor).
I. Students are required to take three basic courses in the study of linguistics:
- LING 101. History of the American Languages
- LING 201. Foundations of Linguistics
- LING 401W. Language, Mind and Society (a permission-only capstone senior seminar - refer to "Planning Your Major" below)
II. Students will also take three breadth courses on key approaches to the study of linguistics:
One course in Structural Approaches to Human Language:
- LING 210. Sounds of Human Language (Phonetics and Phonology)
- LING 212 or 212W. Structure of Human Language(Morphology and Syntax)
- LING 214. Meaning in Human Language (Semantics and Pragmatics)
One course in Cognitive Approaches to Human Language, including but not limited to:
- LING 309. Brain and Language
- LING 316. Language Acquisition
- LING 317. Psycholinguistics
One course in Sociocultural Approaches to Human Language, including but not limited to:
- LING 327. Language & Symbols of Media
- LING 328. Historical Linguistics and Language Change
- LING 333. Language, Gender and Sexuality
- LING 340. Topics in Sociolinguistics
- LING 344. Bilingualism and Multilingualism
- LING 350. Health Communication
III. Students must take three electives, including any breadth course from the topics of structural, cognitive, or sociocultural approaches to human language OR courses such as:
- LING 190. First-year Seminar
- LING 230. Description and Analysis of Chinese Languages
- LING 234. Introduction to Japanese Linguistics
- LING 235. Chinese Writing Systems in Asia
- LING 242. Languages of the World (linguistic typology)
- LING 285. Introductory Topics in Linguistics
- LING 360. The English Language
- LING 363. Old English Language and Literature
- LING 385. Special Topics Courses
- LING 485. Advanced Topics in Linguistics
- LING 505. Problems in Foreign Language Teaching
- LING 495A. & LING 495B. Honors
- LING 497R. Directed Reading: comprehensive theoretical reading
- LING 499R. Directed Research: research based on original data collection or analysis
IV. (as of Fall 2016) Students must take one course with a designated focus on research methods (min. 3 credit hrs.), including but not limited to:
- LING 316 Language Acquisition
- LING 317 Psycholinguistics
- LING 340W Language Variation and Change
- LING 497R or LING 499R with DUS approval
NOTE: This course may also be counted toward the breadth (II) or elective (III) requirement for the major.
Students who declared the Linguistics Major before Fall 2016 are exempt from this requirement.
V. Students must take two foreign language courses.
- Two courses in one foreign language at the 200-level or above or
- Two courses in two different foreign languages at any level, with approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
NOTE: Students participating in the Amsterdam Study Abroad Program may use introductory Dutch to satisfy one semester of this requirement.
General advising: Planning your major
- LING 101 and LING 201 may be taken in either order. These are foundational courses that we recommend taking early in the major.
- LING 401W is a permission-only capstone senior seminar, intended for students who have completed most of the other major requirements. Permission to enroll is granted to seniors only, unless a compelling case can be made for taking it earlier.
LING 401W is usually offered only in the spring. If you are planning to graduate early, you need to request permission to take this course the spring of your junior year.
- The research-focused course (IV) is ideally taken sometime in the sophomore or junior year, after the foundational courses have been completed. Students who are interested in writing an honors thesis should take a research-focused course before their senior year, as preparation.
- Students who are considering graduate school in Linguistics or a related field should meet with their advisers early on for guidance on additional recommended courses.
- If you are an Oxford student and have not been able to take any linguistics during your first two years, it is still possible to complete the Linguistics major. Try to complete the Foreign Language requirement for the Linguistics major while you are at Oxford, and try to take LING 201 and at least one other linguistics course in your first semester on the main campus. Contact your faculty adviser in Linguistics and/or the Director of Undergraduate Studies for more guidance.
To arrange in an independent research course (LING 497R & 499R) , students should first identify a general topic area of interest and second, identify a potential faculty member with whom they would like to work. Students should contact a faculty member about arranging an independent study project towards the end of the semester BEFORE they plan to complete it.
Once a faculty member has agreed to supervise an independent research project, the faculty member and student will negotiate a project that both are interested in and that is a reasonable one for the student to complete within a semester’s time. Faculty member and student must complete the Directed Research/Study form and return it to Darni Bolden (202C Modern Languages) at least two days before Add/DropSwap ends.
Some of the questions that students may choose to investigate in their independent study project include (and there are many others):
- What are the basic building blocks of human languages?
- Why are languages structured the way they are?
- How are language and thought related?
- What beliefs do people have about language and why do they have them?
- What impact do such beliefs have? How are language and identity related?
- How and why do languages vary and change?
- How are patterns of thinking shaped by language?
- How do people use language in multilingual contexts?
- How can problems with cross-cultural communication be alleviated?
- The student will contact the instructor to discuss the grade and the assignment.
- If the issue is not resolved, and the student wishes to pursue the dispute further, the student must contact the Program DUS or Director.
- The DUS or Director will ask for both the student's and the instructor's perspectives on the issue and will recommend further action.
- In case no satisfactory solution can be found at this level, then a College Dean will be asked to provide further recommendations for resolution of the dispute. Ultimately, it must be remembered that a) students have a right to know the reasons for which their grades are assigned and b) only course instructors can assign and change grades for a particular course.