Designing Languages Spring 2008
Susan Fiksdal, Judy Cushing, and Brian Walter
Tips for Writing your Evaluations.
Week 10: Our Last Week of Classes!
Week 9: Monday, May 26 is Memorial Day so you have a holiday! There will be no classes and therefore no synthesis discussion and no essays to write. You do have to post your seminar essay by 7pm Monday evening, so you won't have a complete holiday on Monday. The forum topic is posted on the Forum page. Linguistics homework is to read chapter 10: there are no exercises to complete. Your work now should be to review the concepts. The list of concepts to review is now attached to the Linguistics Page. Thursday, May 29 Judy will give you your take-home exam on LOGO. This is due Monday, June 2 at 1:00, when you will begin your linguistics exam. The key is to plan your time carefully so you complete both exams successfully. Your LOGO notebook is not due until Wed. June 4 at 9:00am, but Judy advises that you complete it as you do the take-home exam. Seminar essays: if you have not completed two essays, we have an alternative assignment: you may write a two page paper integrating your understanding of all of our seminar readings. If you have missed one essay, you can write a one page essay. Please complete all of your work as soon as possible. Remember that we do accept late work, we may not have time to comment on it (see the Covenant on the Program Documents page).
Week 8: For seminar on Tuesday, May 20, you will read Abram's Spell of the Sensuous, chapters 1, 3, 4. Note that Merleau-Ponty's philosophy informs Abram's book. There is a brief summary of this philosopher's thinking on pages 89-90. You can read this summary before reading chapters 3 & 4, and if you are intrigued, we recommend pp. 44-72. This reading will help you understand Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology.
Your seminar essay topic is now posted on the Forum page and your synthesis questions are now on the Synthesis page. On the Linguistics page you can find your assignment as well as an article on Alex, the parrot trained to speak many English phrases.
From May 16-21 (inclusive), Judy will be at the National Digital Government Conference in Montreal. Susan will meet with her seminar group, and Brian will lecture on Logo on Tuesday. Check out http://www.dgo2008.org/ to see what Judy is up to, and look at the attached (poster and document) to see the research she will be presenting.
Week 7: Your seminar essay topic is now posted on the Forum page and your synthesis questions are now on the Synthesis page. Note that the Forum page now has a place for your Project Proposal and meeting minutes.
Your linguistics assignment is posted on the Linguistics page and you will find a link to a very intriguing PBS program, Cracking the Mayan Code, on the Linguistics page. There is also a link to a radio program on Esperanto in China. The estimate is that 2 million speakers of Esperanto live around the world.
Week 6 Synthesis and Seminar Assignments will be different!
Linguistics homework: Your take-home mid-term exam is due Monday, May 5! See the Linguistics page. Typing your homework will be helpful. This is due for class. Your written homework assignments are always based on the lecture you have heard, so make sure you are doing the correct exercises. You should read the subsequent chapter in order to be prepared for the upcoming lecture. This will also help you learn the material faster and you will be prepared with your questions.
Revisions to hard copy handouts we provided in class today (March 31):
Have you wondered about how languages work? Do you think about how thoughts get translated into language? Have you explored differences between natural languages (such as English or French) and artificial languages (such as computer programming languages)? Do you know in what ways designed languages are similar to natural languages and the ways in which they differ?
In this program, we will explore these questions by studying natural and artificial languages, learning a computer language, and designing a language. Specifically, students will study the structure and function of human language through an introduction to the field of linguistics that involves a study of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, discourse, metaphor and pragmatics. Students will learn Logo, a computer language that makes pleasing designs using simple geometry in a step-by-step process. We will study connections between natural and artificial languages, and consider the implications of those for language design. We will explore some specific issues in case studies including, for example, scientific nomenclature and Esperanto. In seminar, we will explore the functions of language and the intersection of culture and language. Finally, students will work collaboratively on a language design project. No previous expertise in mathematics, computer science, or linguistics is required, and we hope to attract students who are willing to work hard and learn new concepts. The program will prepare students for work in linguistics, languages, writing, computer science, media/communications, and mathematics.