Sophomores, please read me: If you consider yourself a Sophomore in academic year 2021-22 and the IntroSems' VCA shows you in a different cohort (i.e., Frosh or Junior), please make a note of your correct cohort within your statement of interest. It is not possible to change the cohort field in the IntroSems' VCA, but the instructor will see your note when they build their class.
IntroSems quarters and schedules subject to change--check back often. Visit Re-Approaching Stanford for the latest updates on Academic Year 2021-22.
Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
Languages, Dialects, Speakers
Much of the fascination of the study of language lies in the fact that language is variable and changing, but not random or chaotic. Sound patterns, sentence structures, and meanings vary across languages, dialects, individuals, and even within a single individual depending on the speech situation. However, a closer examination typically reveals highly systematic patterns that hold true across all speakers, all dialects, and even all languages. This seminar is an introduction to the study of language variation. The emphasis will be on observing variation in language as it is actually used in everyday life, and trying to explain why such variation occurs and what its limits are. Each seminar participant will carry out a piece of linguistic research. This will involve identifying a variable linguistic phenomenon, inventing hypotheses as to the source and nature of this variation, and testing these hypotheses based on empirical data.