BA Linguistics Programme
Requirements for: Major in Linguistics
, Minor in Linguistics
, and Minor in Communication Studies
List of Communication
What is Linguistics?
Sometimes students who express an interest in the discipline are surprised to discover that for a major in linguistics they are not required to learn several different languages. What is Linguistics? they ask. The discipline of Linguistics is concerned with the study of:
- how we learn language;
- how language varies according to age, gender, social background and regional origin and why variation in language occurs;
- the stages through which children acquire their first language;
- how we learn additional/foreign languages;
- ways in which linguists try to trace the historical origins of language;
- how language is written for computers so that they can “interact/communicate” with people.
At Cave Hill we offer a range of courses that introduce students to the discipline and provide them with a foundation for further study in it. You will be required to read general theoretical courses on phonology, syntax and semantics as well as a selection of courses in Sociolinguistics, Applied Linguistics and Creole Linguistics. Members of the Department do active research in these fields and our strengths at present are in Creole Linguistics and Applied Linguistics. These fields explore language issues in creole contexts and language learning and teaching respectively.
The majority of students who register for linguistics are students who are practising teachers of English. Our courses are relevant to students of both language and literature, and several students from the Modern Languages and Literatures in English register for selected general and applied linguistics courses.
Courses for the Major
Some years ago the linguistics programme was extensively revised and several courses added. We increased the minimum number of courses required at Level I to III and included Semantics as a required course at Level II. Because of limited teaching resources we are restricted in the number of courses we can offer in a given year. However, in order to offer the widest range possible, we alternate some of the course offerings at Levels II and III, thus making it possible for our majors to read a wide variety of courses. We strongly recommend that students register for more than the twelve courses required for the major. None of the courses in Applied Linguistics is required for the major, yet you will find that the applied courses are essential for teachers of language. These courses explore issues related to language acquisition and language teaching and include components that are particularly relevant to Caribbean contexts. Students who intend to pursue postgraduate degrees in Applied Linguistics will be expected to have read the Applied Linguistics courses at undergraduate level. We emphasize and require our students to take the technical/scientific courses at Level II because these are the tools of the trade and necessary for your work as a linguist. At level III we offer advanced technical courses in Syntax and Phonology, specialised applied and creole linguistics courses, as well as specialised courses in Applied Linguistics. With the exception of creole linguistics we alternate the courses at this level over the second and third years.
Linguistics and the Real World
We want to demystify the notion that linguistics is unrelated to real world practical problems and that it has relevance only to those interested in erudition. It is true that certain areas of the discipline, the formal aspects of linguistics is a science that requires special abilities at higher levels of inquiry. However, much of the discipline applies to real work problems such as those related to everyday language usage, grammar use and problems related to those encountered on a daily basis in language classrooms. With linguistics the teacher of English and Modern Languages will be better equipped to deal with those problems and to use the approaches that are best suited to the solution of practical language learning problems. Knowledge about language and cognition, the psychology of language learning, an understanding of the role of teaching in language learning is essential to the language teacher. We therefore strongly recommend our majors and majors in literatures to examine and select from the offerings in the discipline.
The Department of Language, Linguistics and Literature has a fully equipped language laboratory and a newly acquired computerised speech laboratory (CSL) which is particularly useful for developing expertise in phonetic transcription. The CSL will be installed in the Main Language Laboratory and will be available for supervised individual practice at specified times. We have also been developing our collection of video material and the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) has several tapes which we use in our classes. Students can arrange for independent viewing of the tapes in the LRC.
We require students to give their best effort while at the University and to make the most of the library and other available resources. We frown upon intermittent attendance at classes and if you have registered for two courses that are taught at the same time, we suggest that it is in your interest to consider dropping one of them and registering for it in a subsequent semester.
In-course assignments must be handed in on time.