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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2006

T C 357 • Language: A Cognitive Science Approach-W [CANCELED]

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42635 MW
1:00 PM-2:30 PM
CRD 007A

Course Description

THIS COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELED. The course considers language from the inter-disciplinary point of view of Cognitive Science, using linguistics, psychological experiments, clinical studies of patients with language disorders, neurological studies of the brain, and computer modeling. The main emphasis is on language in the mind/brain, a term introduced by Noam Chomsky that emphasizes the internal psychological orientation of his approach. We will begin with an overview of the study of language, and then discuss several areas, focusing on the main findings and current issues in each one: Language and other creatures/abilities: Is language unique to humans? Does it represent a distinct sub-system of the mind/brain? Is there an innate language faculty? The acquisition of language: How do children acquire their first language? What is the logical problem of language acquisition? Language and the brain: How and where is language realized in the brain? What patterns of difficulties arise when language breaks down, as in aphasia and Willliams' syndrome? What light do these patterns shed on how language works normally? Language and mind: What is the relation between language and thought? Language as a system: The linguistic study of language: What do you know when you know a language? What kinds of rules have been posited, and what evidence is there for them?

About the Professor Carlota Smith is Centennial Professor in the Department of Linguistics. Her main interest is the interface between form and meaning: how different aspects of language relate to each other, especially in discourse. She works on time in language, and on Navajo and Chinese, in addition to more familiar languages. She has published many articles and two books, The Parameter of Aspect and Modes of Discourse.

Grading Policy

This course contains a substantial writing component. One class presentation: 15% Two research papers of about 10 pages each: 40% Two in-class exams on the reading: 30% Class participation (class discussion will be emphasized): 15%


L. Gleitman & M. Liberman, eds.; Language: Vol I, An Invitation to Cognitive Science Articles on by Pinker, Labov, Liberman, Lasnik, Partee, and others. A required set of readings, either as a packet or available on Blackboard.


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