The Nature of Language
ANTH 329
Fall 2002
Judith M. Maxwell
office hours: MWF 10-11, or by appt.
x3046, AB 103


Textbooks: Clark, Eschholz and Rosa (CER) (1998) Language: Readings in Language and Culture, Sixth edition. Bedford/St. Martin= s: Boston.

Language Files: Materials for an Introduction to Language and Linguistics. eighth edition. (LF) (2001) Department of Linguistics: The Ohio State University.

Additional readings (AR) on electronic reserve in the library (password: natlg) and on hard copy reserve in the Anthropology building.

The following statement comes from the Tulane Honor Code: A Tulane students are expected to familiarize themselves with the principles of this honor code and to conduct themselves in a manner that complies with it at all times.@ If you have questions about the Honor Code, you can find it at


Aug 28 What is linguistics? An intellectual history of sorts CER Chpt 34 A To Be Human: A History of the Study of Language@ Julia S. Falk.

Aug 30 What is language? CER Chpt 5 A Nine Ideas about Language@ Harvey A. Daniels, Chpt 6 A Language: an Introduction@ W.F. Bolton, and Chpt 7 A True Language@ OSU Language Files

Sept 4 Who or what has language? CER Chpt 49 A Signals, Signs, and Words: from Animal Communication to Language@ William Kemp and Roy Smith, and Chpt 50 A The Continuity Paradox@ Derek Bickerton, and LF File 2.2 A The Birds and the Bees@ and File 2.3 A Primate Studies@ .

Sept 6 Non-spoken language, an oxymoron? CER Chpt. 8 A Sign Language@ Karen Emmorey and Chpt 9 A Nonverbal Communication@ George A. Miller, and LF File 13.1 A True language?@ and File 13.2 A American Sign Language@ .

Sept 9 Language and the brain CER A Brain and Language@ Jeannine Heny

Sept 11 Language and Thought CER A Language and Thought@ David Crystal LF File 15.2 A The Whorf Hypothesis@

Sept 13 Sapir-Whorf  AR Sapir (1949) A Language, Race and Culture@ in Language. Harcourt, Brace and World: New York. pp. 207-220. AR Whorf (1964) A The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behavior to Language@ in Language, Thought, and Reality. Technology Press of Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Cambridge, MA. pp. 134-159.

Take-home quiz on language, who, what, where

Sept 16 Yom Kippur holiday

Sept 18 Phonetics CER Chpt 10. A Phonetics@ Edward Callary LF Files 3.1-3.4

Sept 20 more phonetics, IPA

Sept 23 practice with transcription, lagniappe characters LF Files 3.6-3.7

Sept 25 phonology, phonemes and how to find them LF Files 4.1-4.3

Sept 27 phonology exercises

Sept 30 more phonology exercises

Oct. 2 last gasp of phonology LF 4.5-4.6

take-home quiz on phonetics and phonology

Oct. 4 Morphology CER Chpt 11 A The Minimal Units of Meaning: Morphemes@ OSU language files, and Chpt 12 A The Identification of Morphemes@ H.A. Gleason, Jr. LF File 5.1-5.3

Oct. 7 Morphological processes LF File 5.4 A Morphological Processes@ CER Chpt 13. A Word-making: Some Sources of New Words@ .

Oct. 9 Morphological fun

Oct. 11 More morphology

Oct 14 Columbus day observed somewhere, but not here. We are doing the tail-end of Morphology

take-home quiz on morphology

Oct 16 Syntax CER Chpt. 15 A What Do Native Speakers Know about their Language?@ Roderick A. Jacobs and Peter S. Rosenbaum, and Chpt. 16 A Syntax: the Structure of Sentences@ Frank Heny

Oct. 18 Syntax again, yet LF Files 6.1-6.7

Oct. 21 What= s well-formed and What= s not, reading PS rules and trees

Oct. 23 Semantics LF Files 7.1-7.4

Oct. 25 Prototype theory CER Chpt. 17 A Bad Birds and Better Birds: Prototype Theories@

Oct. 28 Lexical vs. syntactic sources of A meaning@

Oct. 30 Pragmatics LF Files 8.1-8.3

Nov. 1 Grice himself AR Grice (1975) A Logic and Conversation@ in Syntax and Semantics Academic Press: NY. pp. 41-58.

Nov. 4 Pragmatics in use LF Files 8.4-8.5

take-home quiz on syntax, semantics and pragmatics

Nov. 6 Language change LF Files 12.1-12.3 CER Chpt. 30. A Comparative and Historical Linguistics@ Jeanne H. Herndon and Chpt. 33 A Language Change: Progress or Decay?@

Nov. 8 Comparative Method LF File 12.4

Nov. 11 practice with comparative method

Nov. 13 more practice with comparative method

Nov. 15 Internal reconstruction

Nov. 18 more practice with internal reconstruction

Nov. 20 language changes we have known and loved LF Files 12.6-12.12 CER Chpt. 32 A A Brief History of English@ Paul Roberts

take-home quiz on historical linguistics

Nov. 25 Language variation CER Chpt 19 A Speech Communities@ Paul Roberts and Chpt. 20 A Social and Regional Variation@ Albert H. Marckwardt and J.L. Dillard. LF Files 10.1-10.4

Nov. 27-29 Thanksgiving recess

Dec. 2 Language contact LF Files 11.1-11.5

Dec. 4 Language Acquisition LF Files 9.1-1.7

Dec. 6 How relative is linguistic relativity? CER Chpt 24 A It Bees Dat Way Sometime@ : Sounds and Structure of Present-Day Black English@ Geneva Smitherman; Chpt. 37 A Not White, Just Right@ Rachel L. Jones, and Chpt. 4. A Shakespeare in the Bush@ Laura Bohannan LF File 10.6

take-home final distributed, due Sat. Dec 14, between 1 and 5 p.m.


Course Requirements:

  1. homework 40%     Note: During the central part of the course, homework will be assigned on a daily basis. This work must be turned in the next class period, unless otherwise specified at time of assignment.
  2. quizzes 50%
  3. final 10%