Major in General Linguistics

For students who declared their major Summer 2019 or later.

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. At Queens College we are privileged to explore this most unique of human abilities in what has been called the World’s Language Capital with multilingual and multidialectal students and professors.

Our program is distinguished by its undergraduate research component. By majoring in General Linguistics, you will be contributing original knowledge. Some of our students have worked contributed to the CUNY Corpus of New York City English. Others have done research on other major languages spoken in NYC, including Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Polish, and West Indian Creoles. Still others have contributed to research on endangered languages brought by immigrants from all over the world, maybe by you, your family, friends, and/or neighbors.

Whatever your topic(s), you will be gaining the kind of experience developing research questions, determining how best to answer them, assessing sources, managing and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and presenting your findings. These are all abilities that are valued by employers and can give you a leg up on contributing to and leading projects whether or not they touch on language-related issues.

As a major, you learn about language in three kinds of courses:

  • In Foundations classes, you learn the principles of different subfields of linguistics.
  • In Applications classes, you learn how language scholars have developed and applied those principles to better understand language and its relationship to society.
  • In Research classes, you conduct your own investigations of topics selected with your professors.

Throughout the program, you acquire skills you can apply later professionally and/or in future graduate studies inside or outside of language science. Our graduates have gone on to careers in information technology companies, law, civil service, teaching, health, and many other professions, in addition to moving on to graduate study in linguistics and related fields.

For more information on what Linguists do and what career opportunities are available for Linguists, see the “Why Major in Linguistics? (and what does a linguist do?)” flyer produced by the Linguistics Society of America, this slide set on jobs in linguistics and/or make an appointment with your advisor. Those students interested in the growing field of computational linguistics, are invited to look into our Computational Linguistics Minor.

To declare the major or minor, click here and send Declaration of Major-Minor Form Fillable form to Prof. Bill Haddican

Program Director and Advisor: Bill Haddican

For inquiries about the Major and Minors in General Linguistics and Computational Linguistics for CS majors, please contact Professsor Haddican. To book appointments, please use the Navigate app.

Requirements for the Major

Category Required
(24 credits)
Electives (15 credits, with at least 6 credits each from Applications and Research)
Foundations LCD 101, 116, 120, 150, 205, 220, 250, 306 LCD 102, 105, 206W; ANTH/LCD 104; PHIL 109
Applications LCD 103, 203, 209; EURO 202, 202W; EAST 209; CHIN 314, 317, 318; KOR 317, 318; JPNS 317, 318; ITAL 336; RUSS 327; SPAN 338, 391; ANTH 280, 289, 380
Research LCD 244W, 324, 360, 380, 388, 396; ANTH 388

Note:  No course will count toward this major with a grade lower than C-.

Course Descriptions

LCD 101. Introduction to Language. 3 hr.; 3 cr. A survey of the study of language: Structure, language and society, first and second language acquisition, and other related topics. Fulfils College Option: Language. Taught Fall, Spring, and Summer

LCD 102.  Analyzing Language. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Developing and evaluating hypotheses about linguistic data drawn from a variety of languages in the areas of sound structure (phonology), word structure (morphology), and sentence structure (syntax). Fulfils Required Core: Science, Flexible Core: Scientific World, and College Option: Language. Taught Fall, Spring, and Summer

LCD 103. Multilingualism in the United States. 3 hr.; 3 cr. A reading course with an intersection of topics and concepts from linguistics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and education, designed for students interested in gaining a deeper understanding of some of the linguistic and cultural groups that make up U.S. society and the issues that surround and confound them. Flexible Core: US Experience in its Diversity. Taught Fall, Spring, and sometimes Summer

LCD 116. Introduction to Morphology. 3 hr; 3 cr. Morphological theory; how words are formed; rules for determining the meaning and pronunciation of words cross-linguistically. Taught Fall.

LCD 120. Understanding English Grammar. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Introduction to the salient characteristics and major patterns of words, phrases, and sentences in English. Taught Fall and Summer.

LCD 150. Linguistic Phonetics. 3 hr.; 3 cr. An introduction to phonetic science as used in linguistic theory and research. It covers how speech sounds in the world’s languages are articulated and transcribed with the International Phonetic Alphabet as well as the use of acoustic analysis software to reveal acoustic properties of consonants, vowels, and prosody. Taught Fall.

LCD 203. Languages of the World. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: LCD 101 or Anth 108. A survey of selected aspects of several languages, drawn from different families. There are several writing assignments in this course.

LCD 205. Sociolinguistics. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: LCD 101 or 104 or 105 or Anth 108. Introduction to the study of the relationship between language and society. Socio-cultural factors which influence language form, use, and history. Taught Spring and Summer.

LCD 206W. Bilingualism. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: LCD 101 or 105 or Anth 108. Psychological, social, and educational aspects of bilingualism. There are several writing assignments in this course. Taught Spring and sometimes Summer.

LCD 209Language and Mind. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: LCD 101 or LCD 105 or Anth 108. Influential views in the acquisition of language; the relationship between language and thought; the relation between language and culture/world view.  Taught Fall.

LCD 220. Advanced English Syntax. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: LCD 101 and 120 or Anth 108. Developing a theoretical framework for the analysis of simple and complex sentences in English. Taught Spring.

LCD 244W. Language and Social Diversity.  3 hr.; 3 cr. Students explore dialectal and linguistic diversity as a form of social diversity in various countries around the world. Students read and report on research articles on these topics and collaborate on an original class research project that examines one linguistic phenomenon in its social context. Taught Spring

LCD 250. Phonology. 3 hr; 3 cr. Prereq.:  LCD 101 and 150 or Anth 108. This course examines the major sound patterns of human language, as gleaned from a wide variety of languages.  It teaches in a step-by-step fashion the techniques of phonological analysis and the fundamental theories that underpin it. Students will learn how to analyze phonological data, how to think critically about data, how to formulate rules and hypotheses, and how to test them.

LCD 306. Semantics and Pragmatics. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq. or coreq.: LCD 220. A survey of properties of meaning in language (semantics) and communication strategies people use when they talk to each other (pragmatics). There is a substantial writing commitment in this course.

LCD 324. Linguistic Field Methods and Endangered Languages in Queens. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq: LCD 116, 250, and 220. In this course, we take turns eliciting words and sentences from a native speaker of an unfamiliar language and collectively work out the rules and patterns of their language based on their responses. We record stories and narratives and analyze them word by word with the same goal. Students will learn state-of-the-art techniques in video and audio recording as well as creating time aligned annotations and linguistic databases. The course will be typologically oriented, meaning we will tackle grammatical themes with a view towards cross-linguistic comparison. It will also be concerned with collecting examples of authentic spoken language and the analysis of (oral) texts. Taught Spring

LCD 360. Issues in Linguistic Research. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: LCD 101 or Anth 108. This course focuses on contemporary issues in any of the major branches of linguistics. May be repeated for credit when topics vary sufficiently. There is a substantial writing commitment in this course. Taught Infrequently.

LCD 388. Voices of New York. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: 6 credits in social sciences or in courses in the Department of Linguistics and Communication Disorders, or by permission of instructor. A research seminar for students using sociolinguistic and anthropological perspectives to explore current language use and attitudes in New York. Under the guidance of experienced language researchers, students formulate research questions, and design and carry out original field research projects to answer these questions. Findings will be presented to the professors, the class, and posted at a dedicated website. Taught Fall.

LCD 396. Honors Thesis Tutorial. 3 cr. Prereq. 324, 360, 380, or 388: Open to students in their final semester. The thesis is the exposition of a major work of original research in linguistics the student creates. The topic should be a continuation of research the student has worked on in a previous 300-level class such as LCD 324, 360, 380, 388, or a prior independent study. Students meet weekly alone or in small groups with a faculty mentor as they carry out research and write up their results. The deadline for submitting theses is the meeting of the 13th week of classes of the semester. Students defend their work before two or more faculty during finals week. Arrange with an instructor.