Introduction to the linguistic study of language pathology, concentrating on experimental approaches and theoretical explanations. Discussion of Specific Language Impairment, autism, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, normal aging, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, hemispherectomy and aphasia. Focuses on the comparison of linguistic abilities among these syndromes, while drawing clear comparisons with first and second language acquisition. Topics include the lexicon, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Relates the lost linguistic abilities in these syndromes to properties of the brain.
This course focuses on phonological phenomena that are sensitive to morphological structure, including base-reduplicant identity, cyclicity, level ordering, derived environment effects, opaque rule interactions, and morpheme structure constraints. In the recent OT literature, it has been claimed that all of these phenomena can be analyzed with a single theoretical device: correspondence constraints, which regulate the similarity of lexically related forms (such as input and output, base and derivative, base and reduplicant).
Detailed investigation of the major issues and problems in the study of lexical argument structure and how it determines syntactic structure. Empirical scope is along three dimensions: typology, lexical class, and theoretical framework. The range of linguistic types include English, Japaneses, Navajo, and Warlpiri. Lexical classes include those of Levin's English Verb Classes and others producing emerging work on diverse languages. The theoretical emphasis is on structural relations among elements of argument structure.
Advances in cognitive science have resolved, clarified, and sometimes complicated some of the great questions of Western philosophy: what is the structure of the world and how do we come to know it; does everyone represent the world the same way; what is the best way for us to act in the world. Specific topics include color, objects, number, categories, similarity, inductive inference, space, time, causality, reasoning, decision-making, morality and consciousness. Readings and discussion include a brief philosophical history of each topic and focus on advances in cognitive and developmental psychology, computation, neuroscience, and related fields. At least one subject in cognitive science, psychology, philosophy, linguistics, or artificial intelligence is required. An additional project is required for graduate credit.
Detailed examination of the grammar of a language whose structure is significantly different from English, with special emphasis on problems of interest in the study of linguistic universals. A native speaker of the language assists when possible. From the course home page Course Description This course is designed to allow participants to engage in the exploration of the grammatical structure of a language that is unknown to them (and typically to the instructors as well). In some ways it simulates traditional field methods research. In terms of format, we work in both group and individual meetings with the consultant. Each student identifies some grammatical construction (e.g. wh questions, agreement, palatalization, interrogative intonation) to focus their research: they elicit and share data and write a report on the material gathered that is to be turned in at the end of the term. Ideally, we can put together a volume of grammatical sketches. The first three to four weeks of the term, our group meetings will explore the basic phonology, morphology and surface syntax for a first pass overview of the language, looking for interesting areas to be explored in more detail later. During this period individual sessions can review material from the general session as well as explore new areas. At roughly the fifth meeting, individual students (typically two to three per session) guide the group elicitations to explore their research topic.
Examines the development of computing techniques and technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly critical evaluation of how the very idea of "computer" changes and evolves over time. Emphasis is on technical innovation, industrial development, social context, and the role of government. Topics include Babbage, Hollerith, differential analyzers, control systems, ENIAC, radar, operations research, computers as scientific instruments, the rise of "computer science," artificial intelligence, personal computers, and networks. Includes class visits by members of the MIT community who have made important historical contributions. This course focuses on one particular aspect of the history of computing: the use of the computer as a scientific instrument. The electronic digital computer was invented to do science, and its applications range from physics to mathematics to biology to the humanities. What has been the impact of computing on the practice of science? Is the computer different from other scientific instruments? Is computer simulation a valid form of scientific experiment? Can computer models be viewed as surrogate theories? How does the computer change the way scientists approach the notions of proof, expertise, and discovery? No comprehensive history of scientific computing has yet been written. This seminar examines scientific articles, participants' memoirs, and works by historians, sociologists, and anthropologists of science to provide multiple perspectives on the use of computers in diverse fields of physical, biological, and social sciences and the humanities. We explore how the computer transformed scientific practice, and how the culture of computing was influenced, in turn, by scientific applications.
This course studies what is language and what does knowledge of a language consist of. It asks how do children learn languages and is language unique to humans; why are there many languages; how do languages change; is any language or dialect superior to another; and how are speech and writing related. Context for these and similar questions is provided by basic examination of internal organization of sentences, words, and sound systems. No prior training in linguistics is assumed.
This course explores the nature of meaning and truth, and their bearing on the use of language in communication. No knowledge of logic or linguistics is presupposed.
Introduction to the current research questions in phonological theory. Topics include: metrical and prosodic structure; features and their phonetic basis in speech; acquisition and parsing; phonological domains; morphology; and language change and reconstruction. Activities include problem solving, squibs, and data collection. The year-long Introduction to Phonology reviews at the graduate level fundamental notions of phonological analysis and introduces students to current debates, research and analytical techniques. The Fall term reviews issues pertaining to the nature of markedness and phonological representations - features, prosodies, syllables and stress - while the second term deals with the relation between the phonological component and the lexicon, morphology and syntax. The second term course will also treat in more detail certain phonological phenomena.
Introduction to theories of syntax underlying work currently being done within the lexical-functional and government-binding frameworks. Organized into three interrelated parts, each focused upon a particular area of concern: phrase structure; the lexicon; and principles and parameters. Grammatical rules and processes constitute a focus of attention throughout the course that serve to reveal both modular structure of grammar and interaction of grammatical components. This course is concerned with the concepts and principles which have been of central significance in the recent development of syntactic theory, with special focus on the "Government and Binding" (GB) / "Principles and Parameters" (P&P) / "Minimalist Program" (MP) approach. It is the first of a series of two courses (24.951 is taught during the Fall and 24.952 is taught in the Spring). This course deals mostly with phrase structure, argument structure and its syntactic expression, including "A-movement". Though other issues (e.g. wh-movement, antecedent-contained deletion, extraposition) may be mentioned during the semester, the course will not systematically investigate these topics in class until 24.952. The goal of the course is to understand why certain problems have been treated in certain ways. Thus, on many occasions a variety of approaches will be discussed, and the (recent) historical development of these approaches are emphasized.
Lectures, reading, and discussion of current theory and data concerning the psychology and biology of language acquisition. Emphasizes learning of syntax and morphology, together with some discussion of phonology, and especially research relating grammatical theory and learnability theory to empirical studies of children.
Seminar in real-time language comprehension. Models of sentence and discourse comprehension from the linguistic, psychology, and artificial intelligence literature, including symbolic and connectionist models. Ambiguity resolution. Linguistic complexity. The use of lexical, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic, contextual and prosodic information in language comprehension. The relationship between the computational resources available in working memory and the language processing mechanism. The psychological reality of linguistic representations.
24.901 is designed to give you a preliminary understanding of how the sound systems of different languages are structured, how and why they may differ from each other. The course also aims to provide you with analytical tools in phonology, enough to allow you to sketch the analysis of an entire phonological system by the end of the term. On a non-linguistic level, the course aims to teach you by example the virtues of formulating precise and explicit descriptive statements; and to develop your skills in making and evaluating arguments.
This course will address some fundamental questions regarding human language: (1) How language is represented in our minds; (2) how language is acquired by children; (3) how language is processed by adults; (4) the relationship between language and thought; (5) exploring how language is represented and processed using brain imaging methods; and (6) computational modeling of human language acquisition and processing.
Introduction to fundamental concepts in semantic and pragmatic theory. Basic issues of form and meaning in natural languages. Ambiguities of structure and of meaning. Compositionality. Word meaning. Quantification and logical form. Contexts: indexicality, discourse, and presupposition. Literal meaning vs speaker's meaning. Speech acts and conversational implicature meaning.
Introduction to fundamental concepts in syntactic theory and its relation to issues in philosophy and cognitive psychology. Examples and exercises from a variety of languages. This course will acquaint you with some of the important results and ideas of the last half - century of research in syntax. We will explore a large number of issues and a large amount of data so that you can learn something of what this field is all about. From time to time, we will discuss related work in language acquisition and processing. The class will emphasize ideas and arguments for these ideas in addition to the the details of particular analyses. At the same time, you will learn the mechanics of one particular approach (sometimes called Principles and Parameters syntax). Most of all, the course tries to show why the study of syntax is exciting, and why its results are important to researchers in other language sciences. The class assumes some familiarity with basic concepts of theoretical linguistics, of the sort you could acquire in 24.900.
This course provides an overview of the distinctive features which distinguish sound categories of languages of the world. Theories which relate these categories to their acoustic and articulatory correlates, both universally and in particular languages are covered. Models of word recognition by listeners, features, and phonological structure are also discussed. In addition, the course offers a variety of perspectives on these issues, drawn from Electrical Engineering, Linguistics and Cognitive Science.
This course studies the development of bilingualism in human history (from Australopithecus to present day). It focuses on linguistic aspects of bilingualism; models of bilingualism and language acquisition; competence versus performance; effects of bilingualism on other domains of human cognition; brain imaging studies; early versus late bilingualism; opportunities to observe and conduct original research; and implications for educational policies among others. The course is taught in English.
This course is a detailed examination of the grammar of Japanese and its structure which is significantly different from English, with special emphasis on problems of interest in the study of linguistic universals. Data from a broad group of languages is studied for comparison with Japanese. This course assumes familiarity with linguistic theory.
In this course we will cover central aspects of modern formal logic, beginning with an explanation of what constitutes good reasoning. Topics will include validity and soundness of arguments, formal derivations, truth-functions, translations to and from a formal language, and truth-tables. We will thoroughly cover sentential calculus and predicate logic, including soundness and completeness results.