Teaching

LaTeX resources

I have been developing various resources to help students figure out how to use LaTeX for the purposes that we use it for in Pomona Linguistics and Cognitive Science.

Course descriptions

Introduction to Linguistics (LGCS 10) Provides a basic introduction to the core fields of linguistics, demonstrating for students the basic structure that underlies language, including sound, grammar, meaning, and social structures of language. The course serves dual purposes: to expose students to the basic structures of language, and to relate the study of language to broader intellectual problems regarding human nature, cognitive science, social organization and social norms.

Syntax (LGCS 105) Examines the sentence structure of natural language, addressing the (mostly unconscious) knowledge that a native speaker has of the structure of their own language. Explains, among other things, why you can run up a bill, and run up a hill, but while you can run a bill up, you can’t run a hill up. Likewise, when a secret is revealed the cat is out of the bag. When it appears that the secret is out, the cat seems to be out of the bag, but when the secret needs to be revealed, it’s not the case that the cat hopes to be out of the bag. This course addresses these and many other puzzles about human language, serving as an introduction to generative syntactic theory that proposes a cognitive structure of language in the mind. The course emphasizes syntactic description and argumentation, with a writing-centric curriculum.

Linguistic Field Methods (LGCS 125) A hands-on course designed to teach students how to learn the linguistic structure of a language that they have never been exposed to before. Most in-class meetings consist of interviews with a native speaker of an understudied language, and students meet in small groups with the speaker outside of class as well. It is a writing-centric course where students compose regular reports on their research documenting the structure of the language which they have discovered.

Topics in Syntax (LGCS 183) An advanced course in the syntax of natural language, focused on current developments in the Minimalist Program, the current (mainstream) generative model for syntactic theory. The course varies in topic from year to year, usually pairing a theoretical focus with a relevant empirical focus. The course in Fall 2011 addressed major issues focused on the syntax of Bantu languages, dealing mainly with the theoretical topics of Case and Agreement. Fall 2012 focused on the properties of subjects, focusing on ergative-absolutive case systems and languages with non-initial subjects, including VSO and VOS languages, focusing particularly on Austronesian and Mayan languages. Fall 2020 will focus on object marking constructions in Bantu languages.