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Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Chair: Lindsay J. Whaley

Professors B. Duncan (German), H. Farid (Computer Science), L. H. Glinert (AMELL), R. H. Granger (Psychology), H. C. Hughes (Psychology), J. H. Moor (Philosophy), B. P. Scherr (Russian), P. W. Travis (English), L. J. Whaley (Linguistics and Classics); Associate Professors I. Chitoran (Linguistics and French and Italian), C. K. Donahue (Linguistics), D. A. Garretson (Russian), J. V. Kulvicki (Philosophy), D. A. Peterson (Linguistics), A. L. Roskies (Philosophy) P. U. Tse (Psychology); Assistant Professors, J. N. Stanford (Linguistics); Senior Lecturer T. J. Pulju (Linguistics).

Although the fields of linguistics and cognitive science are closely related, the course of study for each varies, and they comprise separate majors. Whether their interest is in linguistics or cognitive science, all students should consult with a member of the steering committee well in advance in order to plan a program that best suits their needs and interests.


Individuals who pursue a major in linguistics should take ten courses beyond the prerequisites, which are Linguistics 1 and a solid competence in a foreign language (this latter requirement may be met by taking two courses in a language beyond the first-year level). Linguistics majors are also urged to study a second language not closely related to the first.

The ten courses for the major should include the following:

1. Linguistics 22

2. Linguistics 20 or 21

3. At least two additional courses in the 20’s (Linguistics 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27)

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 87)

(b) taking an advanced seminar in linguistics (Linguistics 80)

(c) carrying out a one or two term independent study project (Linguistics 85)

5. Depending on the number of courses taken under (b) and (c), up to four other courses, either from the Linguistics offerings or selected from the list below, in consultation with an adviser. Note that some of these courses are more suitable to those with an interest in formal linguistics, and others for those with an interest in natural languages or language and culture. Certain courses not listed here, such as advanced seminars in various departments, may also be counted toward the major with permission of the Chair:

Anthropology 9; Computer Science 39; French 35; Mathematics 39, 69; Philosophy 6, 26, 32, 33, 34; Psychology 51 (if special topic is relevant to linguistics); Russian 62; Spanish 40.

The modified major in linguistics combines linguistics with another discipline in a coherent program of study. It has as its prerequisites Linguistics 1 and a solid competence in a foreign language.

The six courses for the linguistics portion of the major should include the fol-lowing:

1. At least three linguistics courses in the 20’s (Linguistics 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27)

2. At least two other courses, chosen from the offerings in linguistics and/or the related courses approved for the regular major in linguistics

3. A course which satisfies the requirement for a culminating activity, which may be met as for the regular major in linguistics

Students who wish to modify another major with linguistics should take Linguistics 1 as a prerequisite. They should then take four other courses, distributed as follows: (a) two courses in the history or structure of natural languages (one of these will normally be Linguistics 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 or 27 and the other may be Linguistics 18, French 35, Russian 62, or Spanish 40); (b) one course in language and culture (Anthropology 9, Linguistics 17 or 40); and (c) one course in formal linguistics (Linguistics 20, 21, 22, 23, 25 or 26, Philosophy 34, or Psychology 51 [when offered as Psycholinguistics]).

The minor in Linguistics has a prerequisite of Linguistics 1 and then five addi-tional 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.


Cognitive Science is the study of cognition from the point of view of informa-tion processing. It combines the traditional fields of cognitive and physiological psychology, computer science, philosophy, and linguistics, among others. Topics of focus include perception, memory, reasoning and language.

The cognitive science program is issue-oriented and relies on methods drawn from a number of disciplines. Students pursuing a major should become familiar with the basic approaches of psychology, philosophy, computer science and lin-guistics; while the electives allow students to gain specialized knowledge in a par-ticular area of cognitive science. Thus, with guidance of an adviser in the program, the student designs a course of study concentrating on such a field as computer simulations of psychological processes, computational linguistics, or philosophy and psychology.

The prerequisites for the cognitive science major are: (a) Cognitive Science 2 and (b) Psychology 10 or Social Science 10 or equivalent.


1. Linguistics 1

2. Computer Science 5

3. Philosophy 26 (Philosophy and Computers) or 35 (Philosophy of Mind)

4. Psychology 60 (Principles of Human Brain Mapping with fMRI) or 64 (Experimental Study of Human Perception and Cognition), or approved equivalent

5. One course that satisfies the requirement for a culminating activity, which may be met in one of three ways:

(a) completing a senior Honors thesis (Cognitive Science 87)

(b) taking an advanced seminar on perception and cognition (Cognitive Science 81); or a relevant advanced seminar in Linguistics (Linguistics 80) or Philosophy (Philosophy 80)

(c) carrying out a one or two term independent study project (Cognitive Science 85).

Electives: Five additional courses selected from those listed below. At least two of the four areas must be represented:

1. Psychology 21, 25, 26, 51, 52, 60, 64, 65, and relevant seminars in Psychology

2. Philosophy 6, 26, 27, 30, 32, 33, 34, and relevant seminars in Philosophy

3. Computer Science 8, 25, 39, 44, and 68

4. Linguistics 10, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26 and relevant seminars in Linguistics


The Honors Program in Linguistics and Cognitive Science offers qualified stu-dents the opportunity to undertake independent research under the direction of a faculty member. Students who plan to undertake such a project should have a 3.0 grade average in all courses taken at the College and an average of 3.3 for courses within the major. It is important to consult with a prospective adviser as early as possible, preferably during the junior year; applications to the Honors Program may be submitted to the Chair either during the spring of the junior year or the fall of the senior year. The project itself normally lasts two terms. Those concentrating in Cognitive Science will take Cognitive Science 86 the first term and Cognitive Science 87 the second; special majors in Linguistics take the corresponding linguistics courses. The completed thesis is to be submitted during the spring term, and then an oral presentation is given at a special seminar of students and faculty.