The scientific study of languages
Ever wondered what makes language such a fascinating human ability? Are you interested in how languages are structured, how sounds are produced, where languages came from, and how they are used in society? Then linguistics is for you!
At Trent you have the opportunity to take a number of courses in linguistics, from an introduction to the field right up to more specialized courses in some of the key topics in the field. As a student of linguistics you will draw upon your intuitive knowledge of the language(s) you speak (although you don't need to speak more than one to take linguistics!) and build an awareness and understanding of how some of the 6,000+ languages of the world are structured, how they sound, and how they relate to one another. You'll quickly discover that among the enormous linguistic diversity that exists, speakers of seemingly unrelated languages do similar things in terms of sounds, word and sentence structures, and other aspects of communication; but each language has many fascinating features that make it distinctive.
The two first-year courses deal with the basics of the field. In LING 1001H (Sounds, Words, and Sentences), you are introduced to the principal elements of linguistics: phonetics and phonology (sounds), morphology and semantics (words), and syntax (sentences). The emphasis is on doing linguistics, and the workshops that complement the lectures give you practice in applying your knowledge to English and a host of other world languages. LING 1002H (Linguistics in Action) extends the toolbox developed in the first half-course to examine how language has changed over time (historical linguistics) and how it is used in a number of contexts: you will look at language acquisition (both first and second), how language is used in society (sociolinguistics), language and the brain (psycholinguistics), along with the development of writing and the ways in which governments can both control and promote language use.
Upper-year courses are typically offered every two years. See the Course Listing link for complete descriptions.
LING 2000H: Language Awareness. A course in linguistic terminology to help you understand the grammar of English and how it compares to related and unrelated languages.
LING 2001H: Continuing Linguistics. A more advanced course in phonology, morphology, syntax, or semantics designed to pursue first-year topics in greater depth.
LING 2010H: Phonetics. An overview of articulatory and acoustic phonetics and an introduction to transcribing and understanding the sounds of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
LING 2020H: Historical Linguistics. A comprehensive survey of how languages change, with a focus on comparative reconstruction: rebuilding "dead" languages.
LING 3050H: Language and Style. An introduction to the field of stylistics: how language works in written (literary and non-literary) and spoken texts.
LING 3060H: Second Language Acquisition. A course in the theory and practice of second language acquisition: how languages are learned.
LING 3860H: Field Methods. A course in linguistic analysis involving direct work with a native speaker of a language.
These courses--as well as others offered in related departments such as Anthropology, English Literature, Philosophy, and Psychology--can be combined into the Option in Linguistics.