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Linguistics is the study of language — not so much a specific language, but of the system of language and thus of the way in which humans communicate. Topics integral to linguistics include the physiology of language (the ways in which humans produce and perceive language), its physical properties (the nature of speech sounds), the roles that it plays in determining cultural and social categories, the relationship between language and thought, the underlying manner in which sentences are structured (syntax), the way language conveys meaning (semantics), and the manner in which other systems may imitate natural languages (such as artificial intelligence).
Thus linguistics examines a broad range of phenomena from such disciplines as philosophy (especially logic, epistemology, and the philosophy of science), psychology (specifically cognitive science), anthropology, sociology, literary theory, neuroscience, computing, and both modern and ancient languages. Problems studied by linguists range from the history and relationship of languages to the nature of metaphor and the adequacy of artificial language to convey human thought. As is evident from this handful of examples, linguistics is both an independent discipline and an important area of specialization.
Linguistics programs by their very nature are interdisciplinary, in that they include courses from the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences. An undergraduate major in linguistics usually involves an introduction to the discipline itself, followed by "core" courses that introduce students to key theoretical issues, as well as by a series of related courses in other disciplines. At Dartmouth the introductory course is Linguistics 1, while the core courses deal with historical linguistics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, typology and sociolinguistics. The related courses can be found in several departments, and each student chooses a set of such courses tailored to that individual's particular interests.
Students who pursue a major in linguistics should take ten courses beyond LING 1 (Introductory Linguistics). Also, in addition to fulfilling the College foreign language requirement, linguistics majors should take two more foreign language courses. They may fulfill this requirement by taking two courses in a single language beyond the first-year level. Alternatively, one or both of these additional language courses may be in a different language not closely related to the first.
The ten courses for the major should include the following:
1. Linguistics 22 (Syntax)
2. Linguistics 20 or 21 (Experimental Phonetics or Introduction to Phonology)
3. At least three additional courses in the 20s or 30s (Linguistics 20, 21, 23 (Semantics and Pragmatics), 24 (Discourse Analysis), 25 (Typology), 26 (Morphology), 27 (Historical Linguistics), 35 (Field Methods))
4. At least two more courses in Linguistics, including one that satisfies the requirement for a culminating activity, which may be met in one of three ways:
(a) Completing a senior Honors thesis (Linguistics 86-87)
(b) Taking an advanced seminar in linguistics (Linguistics 80)
(c) Carrying out a one or two term independent study project (Linguistics 85)
5. Up to three other courses, either from the Linguistics offerings or selected from the following list, in consultation with an advisor: Anthropology 9 (Introduction to the Study of Language and Culture); Education 58 (Language Acquisition and Development); French 35 (The French Language: Introduction to Linguistics and Rhetoric); Philosophy 6, 34 (Logic and Language, Language and Thought); Russian 48 (Structure of Modern Russian)
The minor in Linguistics has a prerequisite of Linguistics 1 and then five additional courses. Three or more of the five must be courses taught in the Linguistics Program, and at least two of these should be numbered in the 20s. The remaining courses are to be selected in conjunction with the student's adviser.
1. SAT Reasoning or ACT (with Writing);
2. 2 SAT Subject Test Scores;
3. The common application essay;
4. Within the Common Application, Dartmouth’s writing supplement requires that applicants write a brief response to one of the following supplemental essay prompts. Candidates choose one topic and respond;
5. A counselor recommendation and two teacher recommendations. In addition, a peer recommendation is strongly encouraged;
7. Brief abstract of an independent research project;
8. IELTS or TOEFL (no minimum scores).
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