LINGUIST List 11.2258

Wed Oct 18 2000

Qs: Ling Theory & Ancient Lang,Lang Acquisition

Editor for this issue: James Yuells <>

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  1. Gert Young, Modern Linguistic Theory Applied to Ancient Languages
  2. Osburne, Andrea (English), Comparing Language Acquisition Courses

Message 1: Modern Linguistic Theory Applied to Ancient Languages

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 17:25:37 +0200
Subject: Modern Linguistic Theory Applied to Ancient Languages


Just a comment on introductory linguistic material. I find a lot of 
them frustrating because they describe grammatical phenomena in 
terms of the features of English. I understand that they need a 
point of reference, but it would be nice to find more than just 
mention of grammatical rules and principles as they apply to 

I'm interessted in studying the grammars of ancient (non-living) 
languages using the tools provided by the modern linguistic theory 
(read specifically the Government and binding theory and the newer 
Minimalist programme), but most introductory material I've seen on 
these theories halt after describing some general principle as it 
applies to english. 
I would very much like to see how the sub-theories and rules of the 
above mentioned paradigms describe the grammars of languages 
with rich inflectional systems (i.e Latin or Greek). Can anyone point 
me in a direction? 

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Message 2: Comparing Language Acquisition Courses

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000 15:14:24 -0400
From: Osburne, Andrea (English) <>
Subject: Comparing Language Acquisition Courses

Perhaps someone can assist us with a dispute that has arisen on our campus.
For many years our department has offered courses in linguistics, including
both first and second language acquisition, and one or another of the
language acquisition courses has regularly been taken with no problem by
students in various teacher certification programs where courses in first or
second language acquisition have been required by state authorities. 

Recently the university curriculum committee has been told by the Modern
Language department that students in a new certification program in Spanish
cannot take these established courses, but must take duplicate courses to be
offered in the Modern Language department, because language acquisition
processes are not basically the same regardless of the language to be
acquired and students preparing to be "world" language teachers must take a
different course in language acquisition from that taken by students
preparing, for example, to be teachers of English as a second language, or
English as a foreign language, for that matter.

Would anyone like to comment on this claim? Note that we are
talking here about a course in language acquisition, not methods and
materials, where, while methods are still the same, materials and
curricula indeed differ.
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