A brief outline of the place of L103 and L303 in the undergraduate curriculum.

Students often raise questions about the relationship between the two undergraduate survey courses, L103 "Introduction to the Study of Language" and L303 "Introduction to Linguistic Analysis". This document will outline the differences between them. It is intended to help you decide which course best meets your interests.

It should be noted that there will necessarily be some overlap between the courses, since both courses are introductory linguistics courses and thus must be designed for the majority of students enrolled in these classes who have not had previous instruction in linguistics. Our intention, however, is to keep this overlap to a minimum.

Typical constituency for each class:

L103: L103 generally gets about twice the enrollment of L303. Students typically take L103 to fulfill a distribution requirement, and also as a low-impact way of getting to find out what linguistics is about. Students tend to be first or second year students, although not exclusively. In addition, L103 does fulfill a breadth requirement for certain specializations in elementary and secondary education (language arts and English, respectively).

L303: Many L303 students are enrolled in response to a program requirement for secondary education/English or for speech and hearing sciences. Some additional students with a specialization in language/elementary education also take the class, as well as students majoring in foreign languages. The remainder of the students either take the class to fill out an interest they have in linguistics, either developed through coursework in a language department, or as part of a linguistics major or minor. Speech and hearing students are typically sophomores and juniors, while English students typically are juniors and seniors.

Typical materials and skills involved in each class:

L103: L103 is intended as a very broad introduction to the academic discipline of studying language. This breadth necessarily encompasses not just techniques used by mainstream linguists concerned with grammatical descriptions, but also the entire range of linguistically interesting research, some of which is done by scholars outside of linguistics. It is typical in L103 to spend only from 3 to 6 weeks on the core areas of linguistics, such as morphology, phonology and syntax, but this does not involve extensive analysis as it does in L303. The remainder of the course typically includes substantial sections on some subset of the following: phonetics, semantics, historical linguistics, dialects of English, socio-linguistics, pragmatics, psycho-linguistics, animal communication, language disorders, American Sign Language, neuro-linguistics, first and second language acquisition, or other particular topics of interest to the instructor or of particular general interest at the time the class is taught. Also, it is typical in this course to have a substantial discussion of the fundamental nature of language and the assumptions which various researchers bring to the study of language. However, since this course is designed to be a broad introduction, a majority of the class time is spent outside of the core areas of linguistics.

L303: L303 is intended as a specific introduction to the skills of grammatical analysis as well as the theory and assumptions upon which these analyses are built. As such, this class is typically restricted to the core areas of linguistics (morphology, phonology, and syntax) along with some phonetics and semantics, as they relate to the three core areas. The major focus of this class is getting the students the tools to do some basic phonological, morphological, and syntactic analyses and to understand the theoretical import of such analyses. The two major constituencies, speech and hearing and English secondary education, need to have a working knowledge of the phonological and morphological/syntactic structure of language, respectively. Speech and hearing majors, who will likely deal with language pathologies, must understand the notion of phonological grammar, especially as it relates to such things as dialect-related speaker differences, as well as the acquisition of phonological systems. English secondary education majors must have a productive understanding of the how's and why's of analyzing syntactic structure, since they will be entrusted with teaching grammar.

As such, the primary skills to be emphasized in L303 are analytical skills, along with such reasoning and discursive skills as are necessary to relate analytic techniques to real-world applications and theoretical constructs.