Current graduate students
Katharina Pabst (Ph.D.)
Jim Smith (Ph.D., 2018; MA, 2010)
HUM199: Language and the Internet
The Internet is changing language. But how? Two widespread popular mythologies prevail: 1) that the Internet is bad for the future of language, that technospeak will rule, standards be lost, and creativity diminished as globalization imposes sameness; and 2) that young people, the most prolific users of new media, are a major contributor to the general decline of language leading to the 'linguistic ruin' of this generation. However, linguists argue for the reverse: that the Internet is in fact enabling a dramatic expansion in the range and variety of language as well as providing unprecedented opportunities for personal creativity. This course will provide a venue for students to explore these issues, not simply through review and discussion, but by studying Internet language in all its guises via hands-on data collection and analysis.
LIN398: Research Excursion/Experiential Learning Course
Students conduct genuine research that will have a significant impact both academically and in the outside world. The first part of the course is training, the second part is a field-trip to a selected town in rural Ontario, and the third part is data processing and compilation, which culminates in the creation of a book of Ontario stories from the community. The research excursion offers students an eye-opening experience of social, cultural and dialectal differences in their own country, engages them in work that is firmly rooted in the community, and embeds learning in an optimal synthesis of teaching and research. Students will learn how to conduct sociolinguistic interviews, write field-notes, conduct interviews, transcribe language materials, follow a transcription protocol, and organize linguistic data and metadata for analysis. The tangible goal is to produce a database of stories and return a book of these stories to community organizations and libraries.
LIN451/1151: Urban Dialectology
Ways in which urban sub-cultures differ in their use of language. How speakers dialects reflect their ethnicity, group affiliation, and other social categories. Practice in dialect analysis based on data from the speech community, emphasizing procedures and techniques.
LIN456/1156: Language Variation and Change: Theory and Analysis
The theory and practice of sociolinguistics. The inter-relationship between language and society from the perspective of collecting, organizing, and analyzing patterns in natural speech data, including field methods and quantitative methods for correlating linguistic and social variables.
LIN495: Individual Projects
Supervision of advanced individual undergraduate research projects in sociolinguistics.
LIN1256: Advanced Language Variation and Change
An advanced seminar in language variation and change, based on reading and analyzing current literature in the field.