Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Linguistic Studies

Director, 2014-15: Rika Ito (Asian Studies, Japanese), sociolinguistics, language variation and change, Japanese linguistics

Faculty, 2014-15: Wendy Allen (Romance Languages-French), 17th-century French literature, contemporary France, the Maghreb, content-based instruction; Maggie Broner (Spanish), Hispanic and applied linguistics, Spanish in the U.S.; Christopher Brunelle (Classics), Latin poetry; Richard Brown (Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science), parallel systems, interdisciplinary applications of computing; Heather Campbell (Education), English as a second language, reading; Kari Lie Dorer (Norwegian), Norwegian language, language pedagogy (on leave); Dana Gross (Psychology), developmental psychology; Anne H. Groton (Classics), Greek and Roman drama; Elizabeth Leer (Education), curriculum and instruction, English education; Julie Legler (MSCS), biostatistics, GLM, correlated data; Jeremy Loebach (Psychology), cognitive neuroscience; Karen Marsalek (English), medieval literature and linguistics; James M. May (Classics), Greek and Roman rhetoric; Steve Reece (Classics), Greek and Roman epic (on leave); Marc Robinson (Russian), Russian language, Russian film and literature; Gregory Walter (Religion), theology and philosophy of language; Lisa Whitlach (Classics), Latin poetry; Karen Peterson Wilson (Theater), theater, voice/phonetics, oral interpretation; Ka F. Wong (Asian Studies, Chinese), language pedagogy, technnology and computer-assisted language learning, cultural studies

Because language is so fundamental to everything that we do, an understanding of linguistics is part of a well-rounded liberal arts education. In addition, the study of linguistics prepares students for careers and advanced work in fields such as anthropology, business, communications, computer science, education, English as a second language (ESL), foreign languages, journalism, neuroscience, speech and hearing sciences, philosophy, psychology, and other fields requiring analytical, communication, and research skills. Studying linguistics enhances your understanding of how language is organized and how it functions. The linguistic studies program offers a concentration that encompasses a wide variety of disciplines and perspectives on language. With a concentration in linguistic studies, you have the opportunity to explore the interdisciplinary nature of the study of language and linguistics as well as interact with and learn from others with similar interests.


Linguistic studies encompasses all areas related to the scientific study of the nature, structure, and function of language. Linguistic studies treats language both as a fundamental human faculty and as a changing social institution. The field of linguistics includes the relationship between language and logic, the underlying structures of the brain, social implications of language, language acquisition (including bilingualism and second-language acquisition), psychology of language, philosophy of language, dialects and dialectology, language and literature, the history and development of specific language families, human-machine interaction, artificial intelligence, and global communication and understanding.



The linguistic studies concentration consists of a minimum of five courses:

(1) English 250: English Language and Linguistics;

(2) three approved departmental offerings at any level (with the requirement that students take no more than two of these three courses within the same department); and

(3) one approved level III seminar or approved advanced study experience. Students wishing to receive credit toward the concentration through Independent study, Independent research, or Internships should consult with the director of linguistic studies.


In addition to taking courses, students can gain experience in the field and pursue special areas of interest in several ways. Full-time internships may be arranged during Interim. Internship possibilities include working in bilingual education, language immersion, or ESL programs in schools; assisting in language research laboratories and exploring the world of publishing. Internships are valuable for confirming one’s academic interest in linguistic studies, learning new skills, and gaining paraprofessional field experience.

Independent study and research projects, usually completed during the junior or senior year, allow students to explore topics in greater depth than is possible in a regular course. In recent years, topics have included the study of American sign language, Spanish language immersion programs at the elementary school level, and the translation of psychological tests.

Students may also pursue their study of linguistics through off-campus coursework in conjunction with St. Olaf’s off-campus and international studies programs in locations as diverse as England, France, Germany, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Russia, Scotland, Spain, and Tanzania.


English 250: English Language and Linguistics


Asian Studies 126: Japanese Language in Society
Asian Studies 240: Talking in Japan and the U.S.: Language, Identity, and Beyond
Asian Studies 300: Topic: East Asian Languages and Linguistics (this topic only)
Computer Science 121: Principles of Computer Science, or Computer Science 125: Computer Science for Scientists and
Mathematicians, or Computer Science 251: Software Design and Implementation (at most, one of these)
Computer Science 276: Programming Languages
Computer Science 333: Theory of Computation
Education 245: Teaching and Learning English Grammar
Education 246: English Language Learners: Issues in Education
Education 321: Teaching of Reading, 5-12
Education 345: Teaching of Communication Arts/Literature, 5-12
Education 347: Teaching ESL, K-12
Education 348: Assessment of ESL, K-12
Education 353: Teaching of World Languages, K-12
French 272: Contemporary France
Greek 231: Intermediate Greek
Greek 253: New Testament Greek
Greek 375: Homer and Greek Epic
Latin 231: Intermediate Latin
Latin 235: Medieval Latin
Norwegian 244: The Sámi: Traditions in Transition
Philosophy 240: Formal Logic
Psychology 222: Psychology of Hearing
Psychology 237: Cognitive Psychology
Psychology 339: Cognitive Neuroscience
Psychology 341: Infant Behavior and Development
Psychology 396: Research in Auditory Cognition
Sociology/Anthropology 234: Native North American Cultures and Religions
Sociology/Anthropology 242: Contemporary Native American Issues
Sociology/Anthropology 249: Indigenous Peoples
Spanish 270: Culture and Linguistic Legacy of Spain (when taught by Maggie Broner)
Spanish 274: Contemporary Issues in the Spanish-Speaking World (when taught by Maggie Broner)
Spanish 276: Spanish as a First and Second Language
Spanish 311: Language in Society
Theater 200: Training the Speaking Voice

Other courses may be approved in consultation with the director of linguistic studies.