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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Michael Shapiro
LING 454
Seattle Campus

Methods in Comparative Linguistics

Method and theory of historical and comparative linguistics. Problems of phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic change and reconstruction. Prerequisite: either LING 200, LING 201, ANTH/LING 203, or LING 400.

Class description

This course will consist of a survey of basic principles of historical and comparative linguistics. Topics to be covered will include sound change, borrowing, analogical change, the comparative method and linguistic introduction, linguistic classification, models of language change, internal reconstruction, syntactic change, semantic change, lexical change, areal linguistics, the study of writing systems, and language prehistory.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Class time will be alloted to two main activities: (1) formal lectures concerning covered topics; and (2) the solving of problem sets related to the covered topics. The formal lectures will either be based on or supplement material in the primary textbook for the course, Lyle Campbell's HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS: AN INTRODUCTION.

Recommended preparation

Before taking this course, students should have completed a quarter or semester long introduction to linguistics and be familiar with basic concepts of phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax.

Class assignments and grading

Carrying out of assigned readings and doing of assigned problem sets.

Midterm and final examinations; homework problem sets; class attendance and participation.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Michael Shapiro
Date: 05/30/2005