Honors | Patterns in Sound (COLL)
S105 | 25266 | Judith Gierut


TuTh 2:30-3:45pm

Every time we speak, we use the sounds of language. But, why do
languages have the sounds that they do? Why, for example, is “t”
used by nearly all languages compared to “r” which is relatively
rare? Why does Hawaiian have just 8 consonants compared to English
with 24? Do speakers acquire languages in different ways depending
on the sound inventory? In this course, we explore fundamental
questions about the sound systems of language and how they are
acquired, change, or become disordered. We will attempt to answer
such questions by considering topics like animal communication,
slang, regional dialects, trademark law, and speech technology.
Course requirements include participation, readings, quizzes/exams,
and essays. A tentative calendar is shown below. The text we will
use is entitled The Study of Language (2006) by George Yule. For
further information, contact gierut@indiana.edu.

Jan 9 Overview and introductions
Jan 11 What is a pattern? Introduction to the scientific method
Jan 16 What do speakers know about patterns in language?
Jan 18 The human language instinct
Jan 23 Design features of language
Essay: Linguistic autobiography
Jan 25 Do animals use language?
Jan 30 Lab and discussion: American Sign Language
Feb 1 Scientific writing Quiz
Feb 6 Patterns of words: The mental lexicon
Feb 8 Mathematical properties of words
Feb 13 Creating new words: Slang
Feb 15 Patterns of sounds: Articulatory phonetics
Essay: What’s the size of your lexicon?
Feb 20 Sounds of the world’s languages
Feb 22 Are some languages phonetically “simpler”? Quiz
Feb 27 Lab and discussion: Coding language inventories
Mar 6 MIDTERM EXAM
Mar 8 Scientific ethics
SPRING BREAK
Mar 20 Phonetic confusability and trademark law
Mar 22 Lab and discussion: Developing new product names
Mar 27 Patterns of learning: First language acquisition
Mar 29 Motherese and doggerel Quiz
Apr 3 Children with phonological disorders
Apr 5 Learning to read and write
Apr 10 Learning a second language
Apr 12 Regional dialects
Apr 17 Patterns of sounds: Acoustic phonetics
Essay: Student choice of law, acquisition or ethics
Apr 19 Intoxicated speech and the Exxon-Valdez
Apr 24 Slips of the tongue, eye and ear
Apr 26 Conclusions
May 1 FINAL EXAM 2:45-4:45 p.m.