One thing that makes SIL-UND stand out is our work with the linguistics of signed languages. We can prepare you for all languages, not just spoken ones! Almost all of our courses touch on both types of language, but we also have special courses, and special sections of regular courses, that focus on sign languages.

Our sign language courses do not teach any one particular sign language, but rather the basic characteristics and organizing principles shared by all signed languages as well as tools used to analyze them.

Deaf students are especially welcome in these courses! Also any other courses that interest you. ASL-English interpretation is available on request; some class sessions are conducted in ASL, with interpretation to English if needed.

These courses do not provide everything you need to know to work with sign languages; you should also take more general linguistics courses. Plus, most of them are advanced courses; if you’re new to linguistics or to sign languages, don’t start with them. Instead, start with our package a first, choosing Ling 455 (Sign Language Phonetics) as your phonetics course. (We can sometimes waive these prerequisites.)

For the advanced (500-level) courses, you need to already know some natural sign language at least as well as someone who has studied one for a year in college. Knowing artificial signing systems such as Signing Exact English is not adequate—you need to be familiar with how people use sign languages naturally.

We try to offer most of these every summer, but some years we don’t get enough students. If you’re interested, be sure to apply early so we know you want them!

If you are interested in any of these courses, please contact the SIL-UND director to discuss your particular needs and interests and how well they fit with what we have to offer. They might not be what you expect!

  • Ling 455: Phonetics of Signed Languages 2019!
  • Ling 480: Learner-Directed Second Language Acquisition (sign language section) 2019!
  • Ling 506: Field Methods (sign language section) 2019!
  • Ling 506L: Media Technology for Linguistic Research (signed language section) 2019!
  • Ling 507: Translation of Signed languages (possibly in 2020)
  • Ling 516: Phonology of Signed Languages 2019!
  • Ling 526: Morphosyntax of Signed Languages 2019!

On this website, we’ve described some courses informally. If you want the official descriptions, see the UND academic catalog.

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