Graduate Course Descriptions


Refer to the university calendar (M.A., Ph.D.) for an up-to-date list of graduate courses. Below are course descriptions of our more frequently-offered graduate courses. 

  • 6050 Structure of a North American Indigenous Language
  • 6100 Issues in Morphosyntax
  • 6110 Selected Topics in Transformational Grammar
  • 6115 Topics in the Syntax of a Selected Language
  • 6120 Principles of Language Acquisition II
  • 6151 Selected Topics in Language Acquisition
  • 6203 Phonological Theory
  • 6204 Selected Topics in Phonology
  • 6210 Sociolinguistics
  • 6212 Selected Topics in Language and Gender
  • 6500 Field Methods
  • 6700 Experimental Phonetics
  • 7000 Seminar in Research Methods
  • 7001 Analytical Issues in Linguistics


6050 Structure of a North American Indigenous Language: Could study the following languages: Cree, Inuttitut (Inuktitut), Innu-aimun (Montagnais/Naskapi), etc.

6100 Issues in Morphosyntax: Examines the relationship between complex morphology and syntactic structure. Data and patterns from a wide variety of languages are considered, including several polysynthetic languages. Students use readings selected from the primary literature for class discussion materials and for their own research.

6110 Selected Topics in Transformational Grammar: The investigation of current generative theory through the study of one or more issues in syntax. A cross-linguistic, parametric approach to problems will be adopted.

6115 Topics in the Syntax of a Selected Language: Investigation of current issues of theoretical interest in the syntax of a specific language. The language chosen will normally be one in which a member of the department has a research interest.

6120 Principles of Language Acquisition II: Evaluation of the theoretical aspects of second language acquisition (including the principles and parameters model) which concern mainly constraints on grammar and learning theory which examines the role of the principles of learning and linguistic input. The question of language transfer, effects of age, cognition and individual differences will also be examined.

6151 Selected Topics in Language Acquisition: Various aspects of current second language acquisition theories will be evaluated from the perspective of data-based research gathered on cross-sectional and longitudinal developmental studies.

6203 Phonological Theory: Explores how modern 20th century phonology has developed, how linguists argue for one theory as opposed to another, what kinds of arguments are used for a particular analysis of data within a certain theory. Introduces students to some common theories of contemporary phonology.

6204 Selected Topics in Phonology: Recent advances in theoretical phonology and their application to the analysis of particular languages, with special attention to morphophonology. Emphasis will be placed on argumentation strategies and substantive evidence within phonology.

6210 Sociolinguistics: Studies the detailed patterns of variation found in any given speech community, and factors which co-vary with them, and the various theoretical models proposed to account for such variability. Students acquire a thorough grounding in the methods and theory underlying current approaches to the relationship between language and society. As their major assignment, students will complete a carefully restricted sociolinguistic project.

6212 Selected Topics in Language and Gender: Investigation of selected areas from the recent literature on language and gender.

6400 Comparative and Historical Linguistics: Comparison and reconstruction of phonological and morphological systems, and theoretical issues of linguistic change. Contribution of historical linguistics to the search for a general theory of language. Reconstruction of the phonological and morphological systems in proto-languages and the nature and variety of phonological and morphological systems that have developed from them. The interdependence of sound change and analogy.

6500 Field Methods: Techniques of data collection and analyses of an unknown language in a simulated field situation. Includes methods of elicitation, data filing, and hypothesis formation and testing.

6700 Experiential Phonetics: Some empirical methods of studying the different stages of the “speech chain” which links speaker to hearer, with special emphasis on the acoustic and perceptual stages. The source-plus-filter theory of speech production. A survey of the range of natural articulations and their acoustic effects. Some competing theories of speech perception. Competing correlates for distinctive features (from different stages of the speech chain). The student will be required to undertake a major project or term paper which will require an original analysis or reanalysis of data. Extensive lab work will also be required

7000 Seminar in Research Methods: This course is required of all M.A. and Ph.D. students, and is normally taken in the first semester of the first year. A major focus of the course is to provide students with practice in the kinds of research and writing commonly undertaken in Linguistics. The course also covers steps commonly involved in presenting research at conferences. Other topics likely to be covered are applying for funding, ethical issues in Linguistics, building a professional profile, and university teaching and research groups. Students will be introduced to various types of software which assist in some of the tasks explored in the course. A major course component will be to research and write a “mock proposal” for individually selected research projects. Proposals may form the basis of work required by the individual’s program.

7001 Analytical Issues in Linguistics: The goal of this course is to allow students to become familiar with linguistic argumentation through close examination of primary texts focussed on a selected theme or set of themes of relevance to current linguistic issues.