24.900 Introduction to Linguistics

As taught in: Spring 2004

A 4X3 grid with names of various languages written in their native scripts as well as English.

The complexity of human languages. (Information taken from Social Security Online and image created by OpenCourseWare).




Prof. Norvin W. Richards

Course Features

Course Description

This class will provide some answers to basic questions about the nature of human language. Throughout the course, we will be learning (in many different ways) that human language is a surprisingly intricate -- yet law-governed and fascinating mental system. In the first 2/3 of the class, we will study some core aspects of this system in detail. In the last part of the class, we will use what we have learned to address a variety of questions, including how children acquire language, ways in which languages are affected by contact with other languages, and the representation of linguistic phenomena in the brain, among others.