WSP 313 — Languages of the World
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 1 day
Date(s): Jul 1
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Jun 24
Instructor(s): Asya Pereltsvaig
10:00 am—4:00 pm
More than 7,000 languages are spoken in the world today and their variety seems unbounded. In this workshop, we will examine linguistic diversity and will learn in what ways languages are different from one another and, perhaps surprisingly, in what ways they are all the same. You will learn how to pronounce clicks of Khoisan languages, why Turks and Hungarians harmonize their vowels, and what makes English speakers in Australia, Scotland, or Alabama sound so different to us in California. We will also see what makes the grammar of languages as varied as English, Japanese, Russian, and Hausa tick. You will have a quick tutorial on what the phonetic transcription symbols mean, solving the mystery of the notation that dictionaries and language textbooks use. You will also experience a hands-on learning experience figuring out and describing the workings of a wholly unfamiliar language—imagine how useful these skills will be next time you start to learn a new language! Finally, we will see how linguistics combines language and math in a surprising way.
Due to its short format, this course may not be taken for Credit or a Letter Grade.
Asya Pereltsvaig, Linguistics ScholarAsya Pereltsvaig received a PhD in linguistics from McGill and has taught at Yale, Cornell, Stanford, and several European universities. Her areas of specialization include historical linguistics, Slavic languages, and the history of Yiddish. Her latest books are Languages of the World: An Introduction and The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics (co-authored with Martin W. Lewis).
Textbooks for this course:
There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.