Student Reading on Bench


This page includes all MODL course offerings. Please visit the language-specific pages for more class options.



MODL 1010 - The Language Phenomenon

Goals: To understand language, the uniquely human enterprise, and particularly the English language. To describe language—its sound patterns, its forms, its meanings, its structural patterns. To determine how languages are born, evolve, and die. To discern how both first and second languages are acquired.

Content: English phonetics, phonology, morphology, writing, syntax, semantics. Language both in its social context—dialects, slang, taboos, language acquisition—and in its historical context—philology and etymology. Class activities may include reading from Lewis Carroll, collecting of speech samples from sound tracks, media, and the street, creating a new language and analyzing word games.

Taught: Annually.

Credits: 4 credits

MODL 1020 - Language and Society

Goals: To examine how language reflects an individual’s or group’s status or power in society, social class, ethnic background, geographical or regional origins, political associations, and religious identity, as well as gender.

Content: Sociolinguistics examines urban complexities and emphasizes the effect of our attitudes on speech. Students discover their own idiolects and verbal repertoires, learn why Italians in New York might hypercorrect, why some men choose not to speak as well as women do (covert prestige), why we call someone “Dr.” one moment and “Jimmy” or “Jane” the next, and why we use taboo words. Our linguistic choices tell others how conservative or liberal, how religious, how sexist, how racist, or how status-conscious we are. Special attention is given to the origins of African-American English and its characteristics as reflected in literature.

Taught: Annually.

Credits: 4 credits

>MODL 1030 - Language as Literature

Goals: To introduce students to the analysis and interpretation of literature, especially the literature of French, German, and Spanish speaking peoples.

Content: Representative samples of drama, prose, and poetry. All texts are in English.

Taught: Periodically.

Credits: 4 credits