Designing Languages Spring 2008

Susan Fiksdal, Judy Cushing, and Brian Walter


Tips for Writing your Evaluations.

  • You need to make an appointment for your evaluation conference. Susan and Judy will have sign-up sheets ready on Wed. June 4. Your conference is the time to read the evaluation we have written for you (all faculty will contribute to it) and discuss it. We will also discuss your self evaluation. You should bring your faculty evaluations (one for Brian, Judy, and Susan) to the conference as well. Your faculty will distribute them. These do not have to be on a form, but they should be typed and signed. More information follows.
  • Self evaluation: This draft is due Thursday, June 5 at 5:00pm. Send it to your seminar faculty. First read the program description, which is attached below. This description explains all of the work assigned, and it will be attached to our evaluations of you. Your self evaluation, then, should only address what you learned. The learning objectives are listed in the program description, so read those carefully. Although materials in Advising suggest that you mention why you took this program and what you will do next, we recommend that you omit that information and keep your self evaluation short and focused on learning. You do not have to discuss each part of the class, but if you are proud of some aspects of your work, you should mention them and what you learned. You can mention specific moments in class, or books that influenced your thinking. Make sure that your evaluation is carefully written and has no spelling or grammatical errors. The Writing Center tutors are available to help you. We may make additional suggestions in your evaluation conference.
  • Faculty evaluations: Your faculty are interested in your comments: our program planning, organization, explanations, seminar facilitation, lectures, comments on your writing, advising. This evaluation can be brief (2-4 sentences), and it can be much longer.  It is important. We put all student evaluations of us in our portfolios. Colleagues and a dean read our portfolios every 5 years. If you are not comfortable giving your evaluation to your faculty before your evaluation has been sent to Registration and Records, then you may give it to the program secretary. Ours are in Sem II, A2117. They will hold your evaluations of us until they have sent your evaluation to Registration.

Week 10: Our Last Week of Classes!

  • Monday:1:00pm Take-home LOGO exam due. In class lingusitics exam takes place. Sem II C 1107
  • Tuesday: 12:00pm Group Report for Language Design Project Due electronically: bwalter@evergreen.edu or in Brian's mailbox: Sem 2, A2117.
  • No class on Tuesday
  • Wed. & Thurs. Group project presentations. Wed. 10-1:00 in Sem II C 1107; and Thursday 9:30-1:00 in Sem II C 1105
  • Thursday: Bring your portfolio of synthesis essays to class. We will collect them at 9:30. 
  • Thursday: 5:00pm Individual Report for Language Design Project Due electronically: bwalter@evergreen.edu
  • Thursday: 5:00pm Draft of your self evaluation for this program's work due to your faculty electronically: judyc@evergreen.edu or fiksdals@evergreen.edu
  • Thursday: 6:00pm Potluck Susan's house. (Directions provided in class.)

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!

  • Read the History of Programming chapters by Monday for our Synthesis Session. Judy has prepared a study guide which is attached below (Study Guide_week 6). You will find this reading on the library electronic reserve system, Ares, or masu. To use the library system, you need to register, and it takes 2-3 days for your registration to go through, so register right away! The handout with instructions for registering is attached below, just double click on it. You can also go to masu: \\Masu\programs\Designing_Languages\Handouts
  • Synthesis Workshop: This workshop will begin with a lecture by Judy about programming languages. Below we have attached guidelines for your reading in which you will generate your own questions and provide answers to questions listed. (Questions for Week 6_Programming Languages) Print the questions and your responses and bring them to class. Judy will answer your questions and you will work on expressing your new understanding. Then you will revise your paper by answering your own questions and You will make notes on them during the workshop and retype them for submission after seminar on Tuesday.
  • Seminar Essay: There will be no essay this week! You will not post to the forum.

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.

New information:

  • Judy and Susan will meet individually with their seminar students in weeks 6 & 7. Please make your appointment!
  • The Projects page has the handout we provided Monday April 28 regarding your final project. Please review it!
  • Check out the new photo album for our program! https://calfiles.evergreen.edu/programs/Designing_Languages/Handouts/
  • Below you will find an attachment with the information about how to find readings for logo on Ares, the electronic reserve in the library. Just double click on the attachment.
  • Amy will be available for linguistics help on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 6-7:00 in the Language Lab (Sem II A3116A)
  • Both Amy and Joel will be available on Fridays 1-3 for logo in the CAL, and Amy will also help in linguistics. Amy will also be available in the Language Lab 3-4:00 (Sem II 3116A).

Revisions to hard copy handouts we provided in class today (March 31):

  • We have added Joel and Amy's contact information on the Class Times page.
  • We have changed the help session for Logo on Fridays to 1-3 in the CAL on the Syllabus.

Program Overview

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.

Program Description penultimate.doc21 KB
StudyGuide_wk6.doc34.5 KB
Questions for week 6_programming languages.doc24 KB
StudyGuide_History of Programming 5.doc41.5 KB
Guidelines for reading Lakoff.doc37.5 KB
AresAccess.doc24.5 KB