Department of Linguistics
American Sign Language
ASL 101 Beginning American Sign Language I
This is a beginning course in American Sign Language (ASL). It will include extensive study of receptive and expressive use of ASL, as well as an introductory discussion of Deaf culture. Course content covers basic principles in the use of sign, sign vocabulary, and aspects of the grammar of ASL. In addition to class sessions, students will use written materials and other media outside of class. This course has a community interaction requirement of four hours over the semester. Cr 4.
ASL 102 Beginning American Sign Language II
This is the second beginning course in American Sign Language (ASL). This course has a community interaction requirement of nine hours over the semester. Prerequisite: ASL 101 or departmental permission. Cr 4.
ASL 201 Intermediate American Sign Language I
This is the third in a four-course sequence in American Sign Language (ASL). The course includes extensive work on receptive and expressive use of ASL. It emphasizes the grammatical structure of ASL, particularly its morphology, syntax, and semantics. In addition to class sessions, students will work with media from external resources. This course has a community interaction requirement of 14 hours over the semester. Prerequisite: ASL 102 or departmental permission. Cr 4.
ASL 202 Intermediate American Sign Language II
Continuation of ASL 201. This course has a community interaction requirement of 19 hours over the semester. Prerequisite: ASL 201 or departmental permission. Cr 4.
ASL 401 Advanced American Sign Language I
This is the fifth in a sequence of courses in American Sign Language. This course focuses on advanced expressive skills, including explaining, rephrasing, demonstrating, and persuading. Grammatical principles and functions will be emphasized. Aspects of grammar that will be expanded include classifiers, conditional sentences, rhetorical questions, and relative clauses. Appropriate cultural behaviors and conversational regulators in ASL will continue to be an important part of class. This course has a community interaction requirement of 24 hours over the semester. Prerequisite: grade of at least B in ASL 202 or equivalent, and rating of 2 or better on the ASLA or ASLPI. Cr 4.
ASL 402 Advanced American Sign Language II
Continuation of ASL 401. This course has a community interaction requirement of 29 hours over the semester. Prerequisite: Grade of at least C in ASL 401, and rating of 2 or better on the ASLA or ASLPI, or departmental permission. Cr 4.
ASL 415 ASL Literature in ASL
This course, conducted in ASL, introduces Deaf and hearing students to American Sign Language literature, including introductions and face-to-face narratives, as well as literary genres such as the ASL epic poem, stream of consciousness poetry, allegory, and historical fiction. Structural characteristics of the ASL platform narrative and the written English essay are compared and contrasted. Emphasis is on the production and comprehension of academic ASL. Prerequisites: ASL 401 or permission, rating of 2 or better on the ASLA or ASLPI, and LIN 203 (or concurrent). Cr 3.
ASL 416 ASL Linguistics in ASL
This course focuses on advanced aspects of ASL grammar including complex co-reference, the scope of non-manual grammatical markers, quantification, complex classifier choice, verbs of motion and location, and complex aspectual marking and agreement. Students receive diagnostic feedback throughout the course and are given specific remedial studies to pursue independently. Emphasis is on the production and comprehension of academic ASL. Prerequisites: ASL 401, rating of 2 or better on the ASLA or ASLPI, LIN 105, and LIN 185; or permission (for students with native-level competency in ASL). Cr 3.
ASL 417 Deaf Art, Film, and Theatre in ASL
This course will examine Deaf culture as expressed in art, film, and theatre. Selections of Deaf art, film, and theatre from the 1900s to the present based on the Deaf experience will be discussed in the context of social and cultural history. The course will be taught in ASL. Emphasis is on the production and comprehension of academic ASL. Prerequisites: ASL 401 or permission, rating of 2 or better on the ASLA or ASLPI, and LIN 203 (or concurrent). Cr 3.
LIN 105 Contrastive Analysis: ASL and English
This course examines the major linguistic features of ASL and English. Students will gain an understanding of the basic similarities and differences in morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, as well as the values, beliefs, and norms of the Deaf and non-Deaf communities. Some knowledge of ASL is recommended, but not required. Cr 3.
LIN 112 The Birth of a Language
The goal of this course is to explore the many factors that impact the use, development, and emergence of language by focusing on one unique case of language emergence in Nicaragua and the social and political context in which it arose. The emergence of Nicaraguan Sign Language is the first case in which any language, spoken or signed, has been documented in the process of its emergence. Students will engage in critical thinking and exploration of controversial debates concerning the nature of language as a human trait, the evolution/emergence of language in the human species, and the historical factors that converge to set the stage for the emergence of a language. The course is highly interdisciplinary, relating the linguistic concepts to history, psychology, political science, philosophy (particularly ethics), neuroscience, Latin American Studies, and Spanish. No prior knowledge of a signed language is required. Cr 3.
LIN 185 Language, Mind, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistics
This course approaches language as a biological and psychological phenomenon central to an adequate understanding of human nature. It provides an overview of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. It deals with linguistic questions concerning language variation, as well as questions about how the human mind and brain both provide for and constrain linguistic ability. The course also addresses questions about how language develops in children, how it deteriorates under the influence of disease and injury, how it evolved in the history of the species, and how it fundamentally shapes modern life. The course does not assume any background in linguistics or language study. Linguistics majors may repeat this course at most one time. Cr 3.
LIN 201 Language Acquisition
An introductory overview of the phenomena of language and communication development. The course covers the acquisition of phonology, morphology, syntax, and the lexicon, as well as the development of communicative competence. Each of these areas will be discussed with respect to production, comprehension, and knowledge. Prerequisite: LIN 185. Cr 3.
LIN 203 Introduction to the Deaf World
A Deaf instructor presents the culture and history of Deaf communities from a national and international perspective. Deaf communities are examined as cultural and linguistic minorities, with all the tensions and conflicts that arise within such minority groups and with the stresses that arise when outsiders interact with such minority groups. Some exposure to ASL is recommended, but not required. Cr 3.
LIN 211 Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism
The basic principles of the structure and function of the neuromuscular mechanism necessary for spoken language will be presented. These include six major topics: respiration, phonation, articulation, resonance, the nervous system, and the auditory system. Mastering these fundamentals will enable students to better understand normal and pathological processes involved in the production and reception of speech. Cr 3.
LIN 212 Speech Science
This course covers the acoustical, articulatory, perceptual, and physiological aspects of speech. It considers the acoustic contributions of the movements and postures of various articulators. It will also examine the neurophysiology of speech, including timing, control, and interactions among articulators. Cr 3.
LIN 213 Introduction to Audiology
This course introduces the anatomy, physiology, and function of the auditory system, focusing on those central auditory nervous system functions, including cognitive functions, that are most relevant to audiologists and speech/language pathologists. This course provides a foundation for understanding aural rehabilitation and diagnosis of auditory pathology, as well as a practical introduction to the measurement and assessment of auditory function. Cr 3.
LIN 232 Introduction to Educational Interpreting
This course is designed for interpreting students and working interpreters, and focuses upon skills training in K-12 settings, with some attention to university-level interpreting. We address appropriate classroom configurations, teacher/interpreter interaction, role/responsibilities of the educational interpreter, and the code of ethics. Working educational interpreters are offered the option of a diagnostic session where their skills in the classroom are directly observed and evaluated with specific and individualized constructive feedback. Prerequisite: grade of at least B in ASL 202 or equivalent. Cr 3.
LIN 236 Not Yet Ready for Prime Time Interpreter
This course is designed to provide a safe and systematic way for students in the ASL/English Interpreting Concentration to gain experience in the actual practice of interpreting. Students will practice interpreting at community events as members of a team that will include trained consumers acting in a mentorship role. This course is a one-credit pass/fail offering and may be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: LIN 331 and instructor permission. Cr 1.
LIN 310 Signs of Language in the Brain
This course looks at language as a capacity of the human brain. Models of language breakdown for spoken languages are reviewed, and the remainder of the course focuses upon signed language aphasia, the effects of Parkinson's disease on articulation and motor planning, and how spatial and attentional deficits caused by right hemisphere damage affect the processing and production of signing. Prerequisite: LIN 185. Cr 3.
LIN 311 Phonetics
An introduction to speech sounds, covering the basic elements of articulatory and acoustic phonetics and of speech perception. The course also reviews the process by which infants come to be competent at perceiving and producing the sounds of their native language. Topics discussed will also include the contributions of selected brain regions to the use of sounds and the cross-linguistic variation in sounds. Prerequisite: grade of at least B in LIN 185. Cr 3.
LIN 312 Phonology and Morphology
An introduction to the derivation of words in natural language. The course covers the sound system, the processes by which words are dynamically derived from other words, and the processes by which words are inflected to mark the roles they assume in sentences. Particular attention is also given to the great variety of word-building systems that occur in the world's languages and to the means by which children acquire the phonological and morphological processes of their native language. Prerequisite: grade of at least B in LIN 185. Cr 3.
LIN 313 Syntax
This is an introduction to the role of sentences and sentence structure in natural language. The course addresses the questions: What makes a particular string of words usable as a sentence? Why are some strings acceptable while others are not? What is the nature of the knowledge humans bring to the process of forming and interpreting sentences? How is this knowledge acquired? Why is the ability to produce and understand well-formed sentences disrupted by injury to specific brain regions? How and why do the sentence patterns that are typical of a language community change over time? Prerequisite: grade of at least B in LIN 185. Cr 3.
LIN 314 Semantics
An introduction to the study of meaning in natural language. The course explores questions about the nature of meanings and how they are related to minds. Another concern is the relation between words and sentences, on one hand, and the objects, events and relations we experience in the world, on the other. How are words linked to things in the world? How do words refer or describe? What is it for a sentence to be true? Prerequisite: grade of at least B in LIN 185. Cr 3.
LIN 315 Field Methods
Students learn to use a variety of elicitation and field methods techniques to explore the linguistic structure of a language that is foreign to them. They work with a native signer or speaker and apply their knowledge of linguistics to a specific aspect of the grammar of the language. Prerequisite: LIN 312 or 313. Cr 3.
LIN 331 ASL/English Interpreting
This course offers the beginning interpreting student an introduction to the field of interpreting, its code of ethics, and several models and approaches to the interpreting process. Students will become familiar with the complex processing required to provide a nuanced interpretation through learning a form of text analysis called discourse mapping. Prerequisites: grade of at least B in ASL 202 or equivalent; or grade of at least B in ASL 201 or equivalent and ASL 202 concurrently; or permission. Cr 3.
LIN 332 Consecutive Interpreting and Deaf/Hearing Interpreter Teams
This course covers the mechanics of the consecutive interpreting process, as well as hands-on training in the consecutive method for both Deaf and hearing interpreters. Emphasis is placed upon teaming, particularly teaming of Deaf and hearing interpreters. Consecutive interpreting will be taught in the context of a variety of typical interpreting situations as well as situations involving special populations. Demand-Control Schema is introduced and explored as a means of process management. May be repeated once for credit with permission of instructor. Prerequisite: LIN 331 and rating of 2 or better on the ASLA or ASLPI. May be repeated one time for credit. Cr 3.
LIN 333 Interpreting: Source Language ASL
Students focus on interpreting from ASL into English with emphasis on word choice, register, and affect. The interpreting process is dissected, examined with emphasis on the Integrated Model of Interpreting (IMI), and practiced. May be repeated once for credit with permission of instructor. Prerequisite: LIN 331 and rating of 2 or better on the ASLA or ASLPI. May be repeated one time for credit. Cr 3.
LIN 334 Interpreting: Source Language English
Interpreting students study both formal translation and interpretation from English into ASL. Emphasis is placed upon appropriate sign choice, register, and affect. The interpreting process is dissected, examined, and practiced. Course may be repeated once for credit with permission of instructor. Prerequisite: LIN 331 and rating of 2 or better on the ASLA or ASLPI. May be repeated one time for credit. Cr 3.
LIN 336 Observational Internship
Interpreting students will be supervised in a 60-hour internship where they observe working interpreters or specialized settings (legal, medical, educational, etc.) and journal their observations. They will analyze these observations using Demand-Control Schema and will present at least one formal case presentation during the semester. May be taken more than once for a maximum of 6 credits. Prerequisite: LIN 331. Cr 3.
LIN 394 Teaching Internship
Students will work closely with a faculty member on a course. They will be involved in all aspects of the course that don't involve grading, including class preparation and tutoring. Students should contact the Department chair for details. May be taken more than once for a maximum of six credits. Grade: Pass/fail. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Cr 3.
LIN 395 Research Internship
Students will work closely with a faculty member on a research project. They will be involved in experimental design, data collection, data entry, and data analysis, and will attend regularly scheduled lab meetings. Enrollment in LIN 395 will depend on needs determined by current research projects. Selection is made by the faculty. Students should contact the Department chair for details. May be taken more than once for a maximum of six credits. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Cr 3.
LIN 398 Independent Study
In preparation for this course, the student selects a topic in linguistics that is substantially different from that of any regular course and finds an instructor to serve as faculty mentor. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Cr var.
LIN 401 Foundations of Interpreting I
The first module of the Foundations of Interpreting Series introduces the Integrated Model of Interpreting (IMI). Participants learn what constitutes a message and how goal, affect, culture, and sociolinguistic factors influence understanding of that message. Graduated ASL texts and collaborative analysis protocols allow students to develop tools for understanding and improving their interpretation processes and developing the language necessary to discuss the interpreting task. Brief source texts on topics related to the Deaf community are presented live in ASL. Students are encouraged to allow a consecutive mode that allows for extended processing time. Prerequisite: ASL 201 or permission of instructor. Cr 1.
LIN 402 Foundations of Interpreting II
The second module of the Foundations of Interpreting Series continues the development of the Integrated Model of Interpreting (IMI). Consecutive interpreting will be used for all practice activities. Analysis criteria are expanded to include register and perspective. Focus is placed upon decision-making regarding appropriate retention versus release of form. Activities are expanded to include back translation exercises and collaborative construction of target texts. Brief source texts in English cover highly familiar topics. Prerequisite: LIN 401. Cr 1.
LIN 403 Foundations of Interpreting III
The third module of the Foundations of Interpreting Series continues the development of the Integrated Model of Interpreting (IMI). Consecutive interpreting will be used for practice activities with a gradual reduction of processing time. Source texts in ASL are monologues, covering a variety of non-technical subjects. Focus is placed upon decision-making regarding the interpretation of formal and consultative register. Students collaborate to perform discourse analysis on source texts as well as to construct equivalent target messages. Prerequisite: LIN 401, LIN 402 recommended. Cr 1.
LIN 404 Foundations of Interpreting IV
The fourth module of the Foundations of Interpreting Series continues the development of the Integrated Model of Interpreting (IMI). Consecutive interpreting will be used for practice activities with a gradual reduction of processing time. Source texts in English are monologues, covering a variety of non-technical subjects. Focus is placed upon decision-making regarding the interpretation of formal and consultative register. Students collaborate to perform discourse analysis on source texts as well as to construct equivalent target messages. Prerequisite: LIN 402, LIN 403 recommended. Cr 1.
LIN 405 Sight Translation
This is a course in translation from written English to dynamic ASL. Students will examine a variety of textual materials, including business letters, government and business forms, and selected other short texts, with the goal of comprehending, abstracting, and translating these materials. Work will focus on the intent and force of the texts, as well as linguistic and cultural assumptions underlying them. Prerequisite: LIN 331. Cr 3.
LIN 410 Ethical Decision Making in ASL/English Interpreting
This course explores critical thinking skills regarding ethical decision making using a number of approaches within the set of models that explore "right versus right" dilemmas. Students learn to identify ethical issues, gather information, identify principles that may inform decisions, generate lists of possible decisions and examine them in terms of consequences, determine best alternatives based upon reflection and reason, make choices that direct action, and evaluate the outcomes of the actions they take. Working as a community of inquiry and practice, members of the class engage in dialogue with others examining ethical dilemmas, learning to appreciate the viewpoints of others, and broadening their perspectives. Among a variety of principles that influence ethical decision making, students examine the RID-NAD Code of Professional Conduct. They compare it with similar documents within the field of interpreting as well as codes from other fields. Prerequisites: LIN 332, 333, or 334; or with permission (for students without ASL or interpreting background who can demonstrate experience in other areas involving ethical decision making). Cr 3.
LIN 413 Supervised Mentoring
Interpreting students apprentice with a program-approved mentor and submit a weekly journal entry, attend a series of skills improvement workshops and/or engage in laboratory-based research to complete 90 contact hours of interpreting-related skills improvement activities. Students attend a biweekly meeting with interpreters to address current issues and difficult situations encountered. Special arrangements will be made for mentoring partnerships at remote sites. Prerequisites: LIN 333 and 334. Cr 3.
LIN 421 First Language Acquisition: Syntax
A detailed examination of the process of acquiring language in young children that concentrates on sentence structure. The course considers how children extract from the speech they hear the information that is critical to their developing ability to form sentences. It reviews questions about the nature of grammar and how grammars might be structured to facilitate language acquisition, and how various kinds of early experience do and do not contribute to acquisition. Prerequisites: LIN 313. Cr 3.
LIN 422 A Cognitive Perspective on Syntax
An introduction to the brain and mind processes by which language users produce and understand sentences, as well as to the mental representations these processes exploit. The course considers how syntactic structure interacts with processes of production and comprehension, as well as how users interpret from one language to another. Prerequisite: LIN 313. Cr 3.
LIN 425 Special Topics in ASL/English Interpreting
This seminar centers around a single topic, for example, legal interpreting, interpreting for special populations (deaf-blind, oral, cued-speech, minimal language skills assessment and interpreting), ethical issues, medical and mental health interpreting, interpreter assessment, and interpreting the 12 steps. The course will be offered in response to student interest in a given topic and may be repeated as topics vary. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Cr var.
LIN 426 Special Topics in Theoretical Linguistics
This seminar focuses on one area of theoretical linguistics, e.g. phonology, morphology, syntax, or semantics. It will offer a more in-depth and advanced discussion than is presented in the 300-level courses on these topics. The course will be offered in response to student interest in a given topic. May be repeated for credit as topics vary. Prerequisite: permission. Cr 3.
LIN 434 Advanced Interpreting and Research
This course requires participation in the capstone course LIN 435 but instead of practicum, the student will complete an advanced research project related to interpreting. Prerequisites: LIN 332, 333, 334, and rating of 2 or better on the ASLA or ASLPI or permission of instructor. Cr 6.
LIN 435 Advanced Interpreting and Practicum I
This capstone course requires completion of the student's professional interpreting portfolio and a 120-hour supervised practicum. Students will demonstrate competence interpreting a range of dialects and registers of ASL and English produced by both children and adults and will journal their assignments with a focus upon Demand-Control Schema, analysis of the interpreting process, and ethical considerations. Students may take this course for up to 12 credits. Each credit beyond six adds 15 hours of practicum. Prerequisites: LIN 332, 333, 334, 410 (completed or concurrent), a passing grade on the NIC Knowledge Exam, a rating of 3 or better on the ASLA or ASLPI, and permission of instructor. Cr 6-12.
LIN 436 Practicum II
This course is a second 120-hour supervised practicum at a more advanced level. Students in Practicum II more likely to be placed in agency environments and as apprentices in specialized settings. Over the course of the practicum, students are expected to demonstrate increasing evidence of work-readiness. While they may eventually accept assignments for pay as deemed appropriate by their supervisors, they may not count paid hours toward practicum. All assignments will be journaled with a focus upon Demand-Control Schema, analysis of the interpreting process, and ethical considerations. Students may take this course for up to 12 credits. Each credit beyond six adds 15 hours of practicum. Prerequisites: LIN 435. Cr 6-12.
LIN 490 Introduction to Language Research
An introduction to basic aspects of the experimental study of human linguistic abilities. This will include coverage of the identification of viable research questions, literature reviews, special considerations for materials preparation for language experiments, research design, sampling, control of artifacts, data handling, analysis, some special statistical considerations, and reporting conventions. Students will also be introduced to various computer resources relevant to these matters. Prerequisites: LIN 311, 312, 313, 314, and 315 (one of which may be taken concurrently); MAT 120, PSY 201, or an equivalent course. Cr 3.
LIN 498 Thesis
The topic for this thesis must be selected in consultation with the student's advisor and approved by the linguistics faculty. Students will meet regularly with their advisor as they work on the project. The finished thesis must be approved by the linguistics faculty, and should ideally be completed by the end of the fall semester of the student's senior year. Prerequisites: LIN 310 or 311, LIN 312-314, and LIN 315 or 490, as well as approval of project proposal. Cr 3.
- Tuition Reduction for New England Out-of-State Students
- Earn a Linguistics Degree & Law Degree 3+3 Option
- ASL and Interpreting Resource Links
- Audiology and SLP Resource Links
- USM NSSLHA ASHA Chapter
- Maine Deaf Film Festival
- USM ASL Club facebook page
- USM Library Resources for Linguistics
- USM Linguistics on Google Scholar
- PBS: Kegl & birth of Nicaraguan Sign Language
- Startup company: USM Linguistics and Vital Text Systems
- Simple Syntax Tree Generator
- Typing IPA Symbols
- WASLI poster and references