General Education Courses

Are you interested in exploring Linguistics courses before declaring a major or minor? The general education courses listed below are offered through the Linguistics department and cover a range of exciting introductory Linguistics topics. See the Linguistics course catalog for insights into other courses offered.

Course Catalog

General Education Courses

The goal of the course is to provide students with important tools to help them become successful foreign language learners. Students will become familiar with basic elements of language such as parts of speech and the pronunciation of new sounds as a means of enabling them to anticipate and effectively deal with problems in pronunciation, vocabulary building, and sentence formation that often come up in foreign language study. They will also learn about the intertwining of culture and language, such as how expressions of politeness and body language differ across cultures. They will also be exposed to different language teaching and learning styles, typical mistakes language learners make, and strategies for making language learning more effective.  This information will be presented in the context of the wide variety of languages taught at the University of Arizona.

If you say "Ernie is a male dog" that means that Ernie is male, but if you
say "Diane is a racecar driver" that doesn't mean Diane is a racecar. Why?

If I say "I was looking for a unicorn", you'll say I was wasting my time,
but if I say "I was kissing a unicorn", you'll think I'm truly crazy. Why?

"Beavers build dams" is true, but "Dams are built by beavers" isn't. Why?

This introductory course will work through concepts like set theory, basic logic, and formal language theory from the ground up to help explore and understand differences like these, which occur in our language (and any other) every day. The notions we will use are very rich and powerful, but are really intuitive and easy to work with. The course is an excellent opportunity to explore powerful tools that have mathematical power and precision (but with virtually no numbers!) to model accessible and intriguing data in the language domain.

All human communities have language -and our language is central to our lives. We use language not only to communicate with each other, we use to in our dreams, in our art, and some have even argued that language is the stuff of thought itself. This course introduces concepts and methods in linguistics -the scientific study of language -along with important concepts and tools from psychology, anthropology, biology, computation, and philosophy.

Language is increasingly being produced and interpreted by machines and this fact ripples through humans' lives in an increasing variety of linguistic interactions. This course asks students to explore the applications of linguistic analysis to the problems posed and opportunities created by the creation and dissemination of language in the digital world. Students will learn about computational (corpus-based, machine-learning) and analytic (linguistic and anthropological) approaches to the production and understanding of language, and the ways these may interact to magnify or diminish problematic properties of public speech, and reveal or conceal its authorship, especially in the digital world. In collaboration with the WikiEducation initiative, students will actively engage in the critical review of Wikipedia resources to assist in the identification and remediation of problematic language.

This course surveys American Indian languages and the communities that speak them, focusing on a representative sample for closer study. The role of language in maintaining cultural identity is examined, and prospects for the future of American Indian languages are assessed.

Focuses on the theme that individuals identify with groups (in part) on the basis of the language or dialect they use. Examines the role of the individual as a language-using being with the problems of self-identity and of social difference, not only in our multilingual-multicultural country, but in the world as well.

An in-depth introduction to the sounds, structures, meanings and history of English words. Why are English alphabet letters pronounced the way they are? How do we use our mouths to make the sounds of English? What makes certain poems/song lyrics sound rhythmic and others not? What are the rules that govern the construction of English words from suffixes and prefixes? How do children identify and acquire words from the speech they hear? How did English come to be the language spoken in England? How have different speech communities changed and expanded their English variety? Why is English full of borrowed words? Why is English spelling so inconsistent? How does language ideology about 'proper English' affect speakers of different varieties of English?