One thing that makes SIL-UND stand out is our work with the linguistics of signed languages. Our courses do not teach any one particular signed language, but rather the basic characteristics and organizing principles shared by all signed languages as well as tools used to analyze them.
These courses do not provide everything that a person needs to know to work with signed languages; they should be taken in combination with more general linguistics courses. People seeking a first exposure to linguistics are recommended to take package a with Ling 455 (Sign Language Phonetics) as their phonetics course.
Deaf students are especially invited to take these courses, as well as any other courses listed in this catalog that may interest them. ASL-English interpretation is available on request; some class sessions are conducted in ASL, with interpretation to English if needed.
Some of these courses require proficiency in a natural signed language which is equivalent to at least one year of college-level study. Knowledge of artificial signing systems such as Signing Exact English is not adequate. Prior background in linguistics is required to take some courses. See the prerequisites for each course below for details; some of these prerequisites may be waived in special circumstances.
If you are interested in these courses, please contact the SIL-UND director through our UND website to discuss your particular needs and interests and how well they fit with what we have to offer.
- Ling 455: Phonetics of Signed Languages
2 semester hours *every summer*
(Normally taken as part of package a
, see the description there. Can also be taken at the same time as the other sign language courses below.)
- Ling 516: Phonology of Signed Languages
2-3 semester hours *every summer*
Prerequisites: a) Ling 455 (Phonetics of Signed Languages), and b) proficiency in a natural signed language equivalent to at least one year of college-level study.
How the basic phonetic elements in a natural signed language function together in the phonological system of the language. Practice in the application of various theoretical frameworks to problem solving and analysis of specific signed languages, and in applying theoretical concepts of general phonology to signed language research.
- Ling 526: Morphosyntax of Signed Languages
2-3 semester hours *every summer*
Prerequisites: a) Ling 452 (Syntax and Morphology), and b) proficiency in a natural signed language equivalent to at least one year of college-level study.
Reasons for considering signed languages as natural languages. Morphological and syntactic properties that are characteristic of signed languages and which distinguish them from spoken languages, with briefer mention of semantics and discourse. Specific issues important to the analysis of signed languages, including: glossing conventions, grammaticalization of space, deixis and agreement, lexical structure, lexicalized borrowing, verb classes, aspect, classifiers, iconicity and metaphor, nonmanuals, and information structure.
- Ling 507: Translation between signed and spoken languages
1-3 semester hours *occasional summers*
Pre- or Corequisite: Ling 411 (Translation of Texts)
- Ling 506: Field Methods (signed language section)
3 semester hours *every summer*
One or more sections of Field Methods (normally part of package b
) will use a signed language other than ASL as a field language. The normal requirements for the course will be adapted to prepare students to do field research in signed languages, with special emphasis on the use of video technology, adaptations of research methodology to accommodate sociolinguistic constraints common in Deaf communities, and analysis of structures unique to signed languages. Prerequisites and corequisites are modified from the standard course as follows: Proficiency in a natural signed language equivalent to at least one year of college-level study; prerequisite Ling 455 (Phonetics of Signed Languages) instead of Ling 450; corequisite Ling 526 Morphosyntax of Signed Languages (in addition to Ling 452 as a prerequisite); corequisite Ling 506L Media Technology for Linguistic Research; corequisite Ling 516 Phonology of Signed Languages (instead of Ling 451).
- Ling 506L: Media Technology for Linguistic Research (signed language section)
1 semester hour *every summer*
Specialized hardware and software tools for linguistic research on spoken or signed languages (recording, analyzing, and presenting data), with focus on digital audio and video, as well as transcription and annotation tools for text analysis. Each student focuses on tools for either signed or spoken languages, with separate sections for each; the class may be retaken for credit if the focus is different. Intended to be taken alongside Ling 506 Field Methods, but can also be taken independently, as it is also useful in preparation for several other courses, such as Acoustic Phonetics, Phonology of Signed Languages, Morphosyntax of Signed Languages, and for a thesis that involves language date collection or language documentation.
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