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linguistic syllabus

In this course we will explore what makes using

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Unformatted text preview: ding the answers to these questions about words and about sentences gives us a very special window into the workings of the human mind. In this course, we will explore what makes using language a difficult task in principle, and how we think humans do it. We will learn how to assign structure to sentences and to words and how words interact with other words. We will look at how children acquire words and sentence patterns and at what goes wrong when the ability to use words is lost as a result of illness or aging. We will discuss what mental/brain capacities are involved when words are understood or used. Why Take this Class? The goals of this course are to help: • gain a scientific understanding of Human Language (HL). • develop the ability to analyze complex phenomena in precise terms. • assess critically the way in which scientific discoveries in various fields can interact to give rise to the understanding of a single phenomenon. Even if you don’t plan to pursue a career in language or a language-related area, an awareness of the nature of the subject-matter and its complexity will enhance your ability to asses critically any other aspect of human behavior which you may choose to study. Course Outline The course will be structured around various word ­related tasks that humans carry out effortlessly every day (segmenting a complex word into its parts; combining sounds into words; learning words, understanding the meaning of words and its contribution to the meaning of larger expressions containing them etc.). As we examine each task, and see what makes it complex or difficult, we’ll discuss how this behavior can be explained. In lab, you will have an opportunity to apply the analytic tools learned in class. This class will be using Blackboard. All students are expected to have an active personal usc account, and to know h...
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