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Science & Nature

Linguistics From Sounds, Morphemes, & Syntax to Brains, Context and Conversation

Ongoing course for major topics in field of human language study
11 total reviews for this teacher
1 review for this class
Completed by 5 learners
year old learners
US Grade Level
learners per class


Charged weekly
Meets 1x per week
Runs week after week
45 minutes per class
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Available times

Table of available sections


Class Experience

This class is taught in English.
Each session will have a specific learning goal and sub-objectives, and will be different each time. The learning goals include but are not limited to the following:
Students can describe some ways languages can differ in terms of grammar and vocabulary
Students can explain the importance of linguistic fieldwork
Students can detail the role of informants in doing fieldwork
Students can explain some of the techniques of fieldwork methodology
Students can understand the articulatory phonetics approach to studying the sounds of language
Students are familiar with, and can utilize, phonetic transcription
Students understand the concept of the phoneme
Students have knowledge of the phonemes of English
Students are able to recognize prosodic features, and understand their role in speech
Students can describe the importance of linguistic formalism for studying culture and society
Students can define morphemes, and explain the different kinds
Students have facility in approaching basic problems in morphology and syntax
Students can explain how and when writing developed in different parts of the world
Students can describe various strategies people have used to put speech down on paper (or other medium)
Students can clarify how alphabets and syllabaries differ
Students can discuss how extra "nonverbal" features contribute to communication
Students can observe how different cultures/languages think about space, posture, and gestures
Students can argue that deaf sign languages are as "real" as a spoken language
Students can name and describe some of the groundbreaking ape-language experiments
Students can list and define the design features of language
Students can explain when a generalized communication system can become a language
Students are familiar with the causes of language death, and some of the ways it might be ameliorated
Students can name and describe three theories of language acquisition
Students can describe the basic neurological structures of the brain that relate to language
Students can clarify the different ways multilingualism is used
Students can explain and give examples of code-switching
Students can explain and give examples of diglossia
Students can explain the various ways languages are classified
Students can name some of the features of language typology
Students can describe some of the regularities of sound changes
Students can describe some of the processes of vocabulary change
Students are able to do reconstructions of some protolanguage forms
Students can explain the different criteria used to define dialects (varieties)
Students can explain the differences between dialect and style
Students can provide examples of language contact
Students can discern the differences between pidgins and creoles
Students appreciate the variety and distribution of the world's languages, and their numbers
Students can define what a speech community is
Students can apply the checklist theory of semantics
Students can apply the prototype theory of semantics
Students can explain the notions behind concepts, words, and categories
Students understand that meaning emerges from conversation
Students can describe the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and its components, linguistic determinism, and linguistic relativity
Students can describe the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and its components, linguistic determinism, and linguistic relativity
Students can describe how current digital communication and language affect one another
Students can apply Grice's Maxims of conversation
Students can identify speech acts from naturally occurring data
Students can describe the structure of a speech act
Students can explain the differences between positive and negative politeness strategies in interaction
Content expertise: PhD in Linguistics
Expertise working with high school students: I have been teaching an introductory 8-meeting course in Linguistics on Outschool successfully for 2 years. I have also taught at the community college level in which many of my students are high schoolers. Many students are drawn to the course content because they like the idea of inventing artificial languages for TV, film, and literature, and I capitalize on this interest to orient them to why it's important to understand the structure of human language.
There will be no homework.
 1 file available upon enrollment
Handouts for the sessions will be provided. I recommend that students have a notebook and pen/pencil even if they tend to take notes or work in digital spaces.
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
Informal, in-class feedback will be provided, but no formal assessments will be used.
45 minutes per week in class, and maybe some time outside of class.
We will refer to the International Phonetic Association's consonants and vowels of human language, the World Atlas of Linguistic Structures, and we will make use of an online keyboard for phonetic transcription (https://ipa.typeit.org/full/).


Lives in the United States
Quest for Lifelong Learning
11 total reviews
26 completed classes

About Me

I'm Serena, a perennial student. I've got 3 masters degrees, 2 bachelors degrees, and a doctorate! I also have owned 2 companies and my own music studio and lived all over the US. I truly believe I learn more by teaching. I specialize in... 
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