Course Descriptions 

With the introduction of the BRC curriculum in Academic Year 2011, some course codes and academic units awarded to each course have been adjusted. How to read the codes:

Pre-BRC|BRC

Course Code

HG101|1001

AU

3|3

CORE COURSES

HG101|1001 Fundamentals of Linguistics (A): Mind and Meaning
Pre Requisites: Nil
AU
: 3|3

This course introduces students to the uniqueness of human language as a communication system. Students will examine how language is learnt and the way our mind stores meaning and organises information. The topics include animal communication, biological foundation of human language, language acquisition, bilingualism and multilingualism, sign language and deaf studies, language impairment, word formation and the study of meaning. These concepts are illustrated by examples taken from a wide range of languages.

HG102|1002 Fundamentals of Linguistics (B): Structure and System
Pre Requisites: Nil
AU
: 3|3

This course presents an introduction to the sound and morphological systems of languages in the world. Students will learn to systematically examine smaller units of language by studying basic phonetics, phonology and morphology. Upon completing the course, students will be able to examine how language varies across speakers depending on their social and geographical backgrounds. They will also understand how power and attitude influence language use.

HG201|2001 Morphology and Syntax
Pre Requisites: HG1002
AU
: 4|3

This course is an introduction to basic concepts linguists apply to their analysis of word and sentence structure. Students will learn about morphological and syntactic diversity in the world's languages and practise morphological and syntactic analysis on different data sets. Key concepts covered include inflection and derivation, case marking, agreement and concord, morpheme classes, phrase structure, word order, grammatical functions and relationships between clauses. A range of languages will be studied and students will be encouraged to apply and evaluate theoretical concepts based on their analysis.

HG202|2002 Semantics and Pragmatics
Pre Requisites: HG1001
AU
: 4|3

This course is an introduction to the study of meaning: linguistic meaning and speaker meaning. Major approaches to the study of lexical and grammatical meaning will be reviewed and the role of semantics and pragmatics in grammar examined. Students will be given plenty of practice in performing semantic analysis using a variety of frameworks such as componential analysis, prototype theory and cognitive semantics. They will also explore and apply the frameworks to the evaluation of metaphors and linguistic categorisation such as noun class systems, kinship terms and colour terms across languages.

HG203|2003 Phonetics and Phonology
Pre Requisites: HG1002
AU
: 4|3

This course introduces students to the study of speech sounds and the analysis of sound systems in the world's languages. Students will develop skills in perceiving, articulating and transcribing vowel and consonant sounds using IPA symbols. They will also be introduced to syllable structures and learn to do phonemic analysis and employ distinctive features and phonological rules to the analysis of sound patterns.

HG205|2005 Research Methodology in Linguistics
Pre Requisites: Nil (Course is only open to major students)
AU
: 4|3

This course introduces students to different issues relating to social science methodology and fieldwork methods in linguistics research. Students will explore methodological questions concerning quantitative and qualitative research designs. Part of the course involves an evaluation of basic assumptions underpinning research in linguistics, particularly in the area of bilingualism and multilingualism. This entails a critical evaluation of research methodology used in linguistics research. The aim of the course is to equip students with the skill to evaluate and conduct their own research.

HG210|2010 Bilingualism and Multilingualism

Pre Requisites: Nil
AU
: 4|3

This course focuses on issues central to the phenomenon of bilingualism and multilingualism. Students will learn to evaluate sociological and psychological claims about the bilingual experience, and appreciate the implications of these claims on the social perception of bilinguals in different societies. Topics covered include bilingual language acquisition, cognitive and social effects of bilingualism, bilingual literacy skills, bilingual linguistic memory, bilingualism in special population, bilingual education, bilingualism and language identity, and the testing of bilingual performance.

HG220|2020 Language in Society

Pre Requisites: HG1002
AU
: 4|3

This course examines how social factors influence language and the role language plays in reflecting social categories such as status, ethnicity and gender. Students will be trained to observe and identify linguistic variables which reveal the nature and function of speech variation within and across speech communities. Topics covered include variation in language styles and registers, and language variation reflecting social class, gender and ethnic group. Students will also study changes in language status over time, language shift, language maintenance, language death and the emergence of new languages.

HG499|4099 Graduation Project

Pre Requisites: To have completed LMS core and 8 LMS major prescribed electives. For students who matriculated from AY2013 onwards, a minimum CGPA of 3.9 must be attained at the end of Year 3 to be eligible.
AU
: 8|8

Students will undertake independent research work under the guidance of a supervisor. They are expected to read widely to develop an in depth understanding of a topic, and then identify research objectives, isolate new research questions, collect and analyse information or data and write up their findings as a research report. The graduation project integrates linguistics knowledge and analytical skills which the students have acquired.

LANGUAGE, MIND AND MULTILINGUALISM CONCENTRATION

HG212|2012 Cognitive Linguistics
Pre Requisites: HG1001
AU
: 4|3

This course examines language from the point of view of cognitive processes. Theoretical frameworks about language and cognition will be applied to the study of language,, thought and culture. Students will learn about systems of conceptual organisation through the study of categorisation, metaphors, cultural models and grammar. Other topics include representation of space and time and cognitive motivations for language change and language universals.. The approach is multi-disciplinary as evidence is drawn from text analysis, language acquisition, language change, psycholinguistic experimentation, and brain imaging, among other sources.

HG213|2013 Child Language
Pre Requisites: HG1001
AU
: 4|3

This course is an overview of some key issues in first language acquisition. It charts children's language development from birth right through the school years. The emphasis of the course is on evaluating crosslinguistic data against current theoretical models of language acquisition. Topics include phonological; morphological; grammatical; semantic and pragmatic development. The course will also evaluate the influence of the environment on the child's language development by examining studies on input and research on differences in socialisation patterns across languages. Students will have the opportunity to work with real language data from a variety of languages.

HG214|2014 Second Language Acquisition
Pre Requisites: HG1001
AU
: 4|3

This course will examine a range of theoretical models of second language acquisition and evaluate their validity in explaining patterns of second language acquisition. Students will also explore influences on the process of second language acquisition such as the effects of the first language, the age of acquisition, motivation, aptitude, input factors and individual earner strategies. Similarities and differences between first and second language acquisition will also be discussed.

HG2030 Reading Development and Disorders
Pre Requisites:
HG1001, HG1002
AU: 3

To introduce students to the current research regarding theories of reading development and reading disability, including issues related to phonemic awareness, conventions of print, word recognition, reading comprehension, fluency and self-monitoring. To introduce students to the cross-linguistic research about reading development and disorders, in particular, English and Chinese.

HG3005 Statistics for Psycholinguistics
Pre Requisites: HG1001, HG205|2005
AU: 3

This course aims to provide students with necessary knowledge in using statistical tools for their own research projects. Commonly used techniques in linguistic/psychological research, such as t-test, ANOVA, multiple regression etc., will be covered. Students will NOT be tested on formulae, instead, the focus is on how to make use of computer software, such as Excel and SPSS, to organise data, present observation and conduct statistical analysis. Students will also gain experience on how to write up empirical findings in a language acceptable by the field which will at the same time learn how to critically read statistics reported in prescribed readings from other courses. Through this problem-based approach students will gain a deeper understanding of statistics. Students who have no prior knowledge in statistics are more than welcome to enrol.

HG310|3010 Language and Communication Disorders

Pre Requisites: HG1001, HG213|2013 or HG211|3015
AU
: 4|3

This course introduces students to both developmental and acquired language disorders. Students will examine the difference between normal and atypical language development. The emphasis will be on understanding underlying cognitive deficits and the effect of communication disorder on general development. In the second part of the course, students will study acquired language disorder such as aphasia, dementia and other speech disfluencies due to brain injury. There will be a special focus on the assessment of clients in culturally and linguistically diversified population as students will explore the impact of bilingualism and multilingualism on assessment principles and strategies for intervention.

HG312|3012 Deaf Culture and Sign Language
Pre Requisites: HG1001, HG1002
AU
: 4|3

In this course, students will explore the socio-cultural world of Deafness and the history and use of sign language. The topics covered include the similarities between sign language and speech, the structure of signs, variation in sign languages in the world and the acquisition of sign language by both hearing and deaf children. Students will also examine the issue of identity within the Deaf culture from the perspective of children who grow up bilingual in both the hearing world and the Deaf world. The aim of the course is to develop an awareness of the linguistic practices of the Deaf community and to inculcate cultural sensitivity when interacting with members from minority culture.

HG211|3015 Psycholinguistics
Pre Requisites:
HG1001
AU: 4|3

This course explores the psychological processes underpinning a variety of issues related to language activities. It introduces students to language processing models, theories of how language is stored and learnt. It also evaluates the relationship between language, thought and culture. The course adopts a crosslinguistic approach and will focus on research on bilingual and multilingual individuals.

HG3016 Language and Cognition in Bilingualism and Multilingualism

Pre Requisites:
HG1001, HG210|2010
AU: 3

In this course we examine the cognitive aspects in bilingualism. Research methodologies studying bilingualism and cognition will be introduced. Specific issues such as how does learning a new language alter the way people think, does a bilingual’s brain function differently from a monolingual brain, do bilinguals or multilinguals think differently from monolinguals, what is the contribution of general cognitive abilities in learning languages will be explored in the class.


HG311|4011 Language and the Brain

Pre Requisites: HG1001, HG211|3015
AU
: 4|4

This course examines how language is represented in the brain, and the neural basis of language processing and language learning. Findings from functional neuroimaging and lesion studies will be reviewed to enable students to understand the workings of the human brain in relation to language use. Special emphasis is placed on "the bilingual brain": how two or more languages are organised and how they interact within a bilingual individual, and how the multiple language systems are deployed in language comprehension and production.

HG447|4047 Pragmatic Theory
Pre Requisites: HG1002,HG201|2001, HG202|2002, HG203|2003
AU: 4|4

This course focuses on how we understand what someone is trying to communicate to us when they say or write something to us, especially how the particular words and structures are used for the purpose of getting us to understand just what the speaker intends. Given that the meaning of a word or structure depends on how it is used, the physical and cultural contexts within which communication occurs will be looked into to develop an understanding of the role they play in the communication of meaning.


MULTILINGUAL SOCIETIES AND MULTICULTURALISM CONCENTRATION

HG221|2021 Intercultural Communication
Pre Requisites: Nil
AU
: 4|3

This course focuses on how key cultural values are embedded in language use, and how these hidden assumptions can impede effective communication across cultural groups. Aspects such as organisation of discourse, preferred mode of communication, nonverbal communication, intonation patterns, politeness, address terms, greetings, and requests will be examined across cultures. The analysis will focus on how these relate to the broader definition of cultural values in terms of collectivism versus individualism. The objective is to develop students' sensitivity to cross-cultural variation in communication and to provide a theoretical framework for interpreting variation.

HG223|2023 Language and Gender
Pre Requisites: HG1002
AU
: 4|3

This course examines theoretical views about language and gender from a variety of disciplines. It integrates both social and cognitive approaches in its discussion of how meanings related to gender are reproduced in spoken and written discourse. Topics covered include gender differences in linguistic forms, nonverbal communication and conversational patterns. The course will also focus on the impact of gender-linked differences in the media, education and legal settings. The research will be drawn from research in sociolinguistics, anthropology, psychology and women studies.

HG232|2032 Globalisation and World Englishes
Pre Requisites: Nil
AU
: 4|3

This course provides an overview of the spread of the English language in the British Isles, North America, Australia, Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. Arguments related to English as a World Language will be discussed. The theories and principles on the development and structure of World Englishes will be examined and students will assess the notion of linguistic imperialism, the role of language in politics and issues concerning language in education. The impact of this globalising process on local cultures and languages will also be evaluated.

HG320|3020 Language Planning and Policy
Pre Requisites: HG1002, HG220|2020
AU
: 4|3

This course focuses on language planning & policy and the ensuing impact on multilingual communities. Students will be introduced the basic concepts in the field of language planning and policy, with an emphasis on how international, national, and local level sociolinguistic factors impinge on language planning decisions. This course will illustrate the complexity of language roles around the world and present case studies of the language planning and policy issues in a particular area of the world, for example, Singapore.

HG321|3021 Language Change
Pre Requisites: HG203|2003, plus either HG1002 or HG234|2034 or HG231|2031
AU
: 4|3

This course examines the ways in which languages change over time and the techniques used to study these changes. It will explore changes at all levels: meaning, grammar and sound. Specific topics include the nature of language change, the comparative method and linguistic reconstruction in phonology and morphology. At a broader level, the course will also examine sociolinguistic aspects of language change. Students will become acquainted with attitudes towards language change, language convergence, language genesis and language death. Other topics include cognitive explanation of language change and grammaticalisation.

HG222|3022 Sociolinguistics of a Region
Pre Requisites:
HG1002, HG220|2020
AU
: 4|3

In this course, language structure and the social aspects of multilingualism in various Asian societies are investigated. Each time this course is offered it will focus on different regions. Areas for discussion are chosen from Chinese, Indonesian/Malay, Japanese and the languages of other Asian societies such as Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines. Topics will include dialectology, speech levels, politeness, gender, ethnicity and language policy issues.

HG420|4020 Languages in Contact
Pre Requisites: HG1002, HG201|2001, HG203|2003
AU
: 4|4

As all languages show some effect of contact with other languages, this course will introduce students to the basic methodologies employed in the study of language contact, using an interdisciplinary approach. The course will focus on various issues of language contact including code-mixing and lexical borrowing, language shift and substrate influence. It will also focus on the most striking cases of "contact languages" - pidgins and creoles - and the challenges and opportunities they present to linguistics.

HG4031 Multimodality in SItuated Contexts
Pre Requisites: HG220|2020, HG323|3023 or HG330|4030
AU
: 4|4

This course is an initiation into analyzing talk-in-interaction and its relations to multimodal resources for communication. In particular, how the speaker’s body and his/her environment interact with the talk at hand is discussed, thereby presenting an integrative approach to the organization of language and the body (bodily arrangements, speaker’s gaze, gestures etc.) within situated human interaction. Therefore, the body is analyzed, not as an isolated entity, but instead as a visible agent whose talk and action are lodged within both processes of human interaction and the rich settings where people pursue through talk-in-interaction the courses of action that constitute their social lives.

LANGUAGE STRUCTURE CONCENTRATION

HG234|2034 Structure of Modern English
Pre Requisites: Nil
AU
: 4|3

This course provides students with the conceptual framework and skills for describing and analysing Modern English. Students will learn to parse simple and complex constructions in English. The topics covered include word classes, the structure of sentences and phrases, clause types, complex sentences and discourse styles. The course will also analyse variations in English through time, and evaluate influences on the structure of English in bilingual/multilingual situations such as Singapore.

HG342|3042 Contrastive Linguistics
Pre Requisites: HG1002
AU
: 4|3

In this course, students will learn to compare and contrast between languages in a systematic and principled manner. The focus is on how similar notions (e.g. causation, 'impersonality', and information foregrounding) are grammatically encoded in different languages. We will find some surprising similarities as well as interesting differences. Students interested in doing bilingual research or pursuing a career in language instruction or translation will find this course particularly relevant.

HG346|3046 Language Universals and Language Types
Pre Requisites: HG1002, HG201|2001, HG202|2002, HG203|2003
AU
: 4|3

Do languages of the world have any features in common? Are there universals of language that can be discovered through careful comparisons and contrasts of different languages? And how have languages been classified? This course provides an introduction to how linguists have tackled these and related questions. Theories of language universals will be reviewed, and schemes of language classification examined.

HG4012 Structure of Sign Language
Pre Requisites: HG312|3012
AU
: 4|4

This is an advanced course that builds on HG3012 Deaf Culture and Sign Language and consolidates the structural knowledge of Sign Language. Working with Deaf consultants, the students will gain first-hand experience in Sign Language research, learning how to systematically record, analyze and document all the structural categories of a sign language. The course will be run in close collaboration with The Singapore Association for the Deaf and will focus each year on another aspect of one of the sign languages used in Singapore.

HG340|4040 Phonological Theory
Pre Requisites: HG1002, HG203|2003
AU
: 4|4

This course reviews fundamental notions of phonological analysis and introduces students to current debates on phonological research and analytical techniques. Issues pertaining to the nature of phonological representations will first be discussed, followed by an examination of major approaches and frameworks, particularly Autosegmental Phonology and Optimality Theory. The relationship between the phonological component and the lexicon, morphology and syntax will also be discussed.

HG441|4041 Theories of Grammar

Pre Requisites: HG1002, HG201|2001

AU: 4|4

This course aims to familiarize students with the history, origins and development of theories of syntax; to demonstrate how these models can be applied to the analysis of various grammatical categories; to make students aware of the strengths and limitations of different models of syntactic theory; and to develop critical thinking and linguistics analysis skills.

HG345|4045 Field Methods: Structure of a Language
Pre Requisites: HG1002, HG201|2001, HG202|2002, HG203|2003
AU
: 4|4

This is a hands-on course showing you how linguists go about investigating a new or unknown language: how to find existing information about the language, how to select and interview speakers, how to handle and analyse data. Students will develop techniques for organising information on phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics by working with a language consultant. Other topics covered include ethical concerns, field research techniques, effective documentation, the use of relevant software. The choice of language may vary from year to year.

HG446|4046 Structure and History of Malay/Indonesian
Pre Requisites:
HG1002, HG201|2001, HG202|2002, HG203|2003
AU: 4

To introduce students to the field of Malay linguistics and in particular the genetic affiliation, history and language contact of Malay and its dialects (including Indonesian, Baba Malay, Pasar Malay etc.) as spoken in Peninsular and Insular Southeast Asia. To explore systematically Malay phonology, morphosyntax, discourse structure, and dialectology. To survey some of the well-studied genres of Malay verbal art. To develop working knowledge of Malay and enable students to carry out independent linguistic research in Malay.

HG4049 Semantic Analysis
Pre Requisites:
HG201|2001, HG202|2002, HG203|2003
AU
: 4

This course explores how the meanings of words combine in often complex ways to give rise to the meanings of utterances. After developing a set of tools for characterising word meaning, it addresses the relationship between semantics and syntax, and to what extent each is necessary for characterising the grammar of a language. Since utterances are used to convey more than just literal content, and since context is essential for resolving the reference of pronouns and other ambiguous expressions, the course explores the possibility that semantics and pragmatics can be treated a single integrated framework for understanding communication. Prosody represents a parallel aspect of meaning and is explored in depth. Overall, students will learn to approach the notion of meaning from different viewpoints, and to carry out precise analysis that best fits with the phenomenon and language involved.

LANGUAGE AND TECHNOLOGY CONCENTRATION

HG251|2051 Language and the Computer
Pre Requisites: Nil
AU
:4|3

Traditionally linguistic analysis was done largely by hand, but computer-based methods and tools are becoming increasingly more widely used in contemporary research. This course provides an introduction to the key instruments and resources available on the personal computer that can assist the linguist in performing fast and accurate quantitative analyses. Frequency lists, tagging and parsing, concordancing, collocation analysis and applications of Natural Language Processing will be discussed.

HG252|2052 Language, Technology and the Internet
Pre Requisites: Nil. Not to be taken with HG8003
AU
: 4|3

Like so many other aspects of life, language communicate has been revolutionised by the introduction of the Internet. This course explores how the structure and use of English have been shaped by the popularity of new modes of communication made available by the Internet: SMS, e-mail, chatrooms, Internet Relay Chat, Usenet newsgroups, World Wide Web pages, and virtual worlds. The implications of these changes for our thinking and understanding of language will also be discussed.

HG351|3051 Corpus Linguistics
Pre Requisites: HG1002 or HG251|2051
AU
: 4|3

This course is an introduction to the fast growing field of corpus linguistics. It aims to familiarise students with key concepts and common methods used in the construction of language corpora, as well as tools that have been developed for searching and using major corpora such as the British National Corpus. Students will be given hands-on experience in pre-editing, annotating, and searching corpora. Criteria and methods used for evaluating corpora and analytical tools will also be discussed.

HG350|4050 Machine Translation
Pre Requisites: HG251|2051
AU
: 4|4

This course introduces students to the field of Machine Translation (MT). It will begin with an overview of the history of MT, from early attempts to contemporary approaches including rule-based MT, statistics-based MT and knowledge-based MT. Key concepts relating to representation and processing, dictionary building and annotation, and principles and components in the construction of MT engines will be illustrated and discussed. Major MT resources, particularly on-line ones, will also be reviewed.

HG453|4053 Grammar Engineering
Pre Requisites: HG201|2001
AU: 4|4

The course gives an introduction to the Linguistics Knowledge Building (LKB) system, and how to develop a grammar with the help of the Matrix Grammar. On the one hand, the course will focus on technical aspects, like the installation of the tools needed for the grammar development, how to run the tools, and how to do the actual implementation. On the other hand, the course will focus on certain grammatical phenomena, like modification, agreement, valence, and long-distance dependencies, as well as the semantic representation used: Minimal Recursion Semantics (MRS).

SPECIAL TOPICS IN LINGUISTICS CONCENTRATION

HG299|2099 Languages of the World

Pre Requisites: HG1002 or HG8001

AU: 4|3


This course offers an introduction to the linguistic complexity of the world, taking into account evolutionary, ethnic, geographical and historical factors that have led to the development and spread of the roughly 7000 languages that are currently spoken around the planet. Students will develop an appreciation of key issues in linguistic classification and description, the relationship between dialect and language, and the types of evidence used by linguists to establish genetic affiliations. Topics to be dealt with include an overview of the origins of language, the creation of writing systems, the birth of new languages, endangerment and language death, and the consequences of the development of linguistic areas. Weekly seminars by specialists will be given on selected languages and regions of the world, with the main focus falling on the languages of Eurasia.

HG231|2031 The History of English
Pre Requisites: Nil.
AU
: 4|3

This course focuses on the birth and development of English from a historical perspective. Students will become acquainted with the structure and development of English from Old English, Middle English to Modern English and will explore the principles of language change in terms of orthography, phonology, syntax and lexicon. The development of other varieties of English such as American English and Singapore English will also be discussed.

HG323|3023 Anthropological Linguistics
Pre Requisites: HG1002, HG220|2020
AU: 4|3

This course is designed to provide a theoretical training in understanding language from an anthropological point of view. Students will have an overall view how language and culture are intertwined and examine the issues arising from both anthropology and linguistics.

HG240|3040 Language Evolution
Pre Requisites: HG1001, HG1002
AU
: 4|3

Where does language come from and how might it have evolved from earlier forms of representation and communication? This course reviews a number of influential theories about language evolution, including Pinker's language instinct theory, Gould's 'spandrel theory', Dunbar's 'gossip theory', and Deacon's language-brain co-evolution theory. A range of evidence will be examined from a variety of fields: primatology, archeology, paleontology, anthropology, linguistics, neuroscience, and child language acquisition.

HG422|4022 Forensic Linguistics
Pre Requisites: HG1001, HG1002, HG210|2010, HG220|2020
AU
: 4|4

Forensic Linguistics is the interface between linguistics and the law. This course outlines the history and development of Forensic Linguistics from its beginnings in the 1950's and 1960's to the present day. The emphasis will be on forensic phonetics, courtroom discourse, cross-cultural/cross-linguistic differences in legal settings, the significance of linguistic evidence in resolving litigations and crimes in the judicial system.

HG330|4030 Conversation Analysis
Pre Requisites: HG1002 or HG234|2034
AU
: 4|4

This course is an introduction to key concepts and methods in Conversation and Discourse Analysis. How do people conduct a conversation in an orderly manner? How are assumptions made about readers' knowledge built into a written text? These and related questions will form the focus. Different approaches to the study of the structure and function of conversations and written texts will be reviewed, and issues of data collection, transcription and analysis will be discussed.

HG4032 The Linguistics of Humour
Pre Requisites:
HG202|2002
AU: 4

Currently, there are basic level courses focusing on the various components of grammar, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantic and pragmatics. However, no course provides the opportunities of applying such a wide range of linguistic theories acquired in such courses to analyze real language use. The proposed course fills that gap and offers an innovative way to show students how different linguistic elements interact to give rise to verbal humor.

HG4048 Comparative Chinese Dialectology
Pre Requisites:
HG201|2001
AU: 4

The course aims to introduce students to the classification and geographic distribution of Chinese dialects as well as to illustrate the extent to which dialects can differ by contrasting Mandarin with other dialects. The course aims to heighten students’ awareness on the diversity among Chinese dialects.

HG406X* Special Topics
AU: 4

Undergraduates in their 3rd or 4th year are encouraged to take a seminar course. This will be offered in the first semester of every year and may include topics such as Grammaticalisation, Language and Media, Experimental Phonetics, Language and Identity, etc. Students who choose this course are expected to have completed all the core courses for the major.

*The suffix X means that students can take the course more than once, provided that the suffix for the same course code is different (denoted A, B, C… for different content).