- Course Description
In this course, we look at the structure of the French language from the point of view of descriptive linguistics, picking up where ordinary grammar books leave off. We will investigate the building blocks of language from the smallest up to the largest units—sounds (phonetics and phonology), word structure (morphology), sentence structure (syntax), meaning (semantics), and how it all adds up to make meaning on the larger level (discourse/pragmatics). We will look at how the French language is both similar in structure to other human languages and unique in its particulars. We will be interested in how native speakers of French think they should speak, but also in how they do speak and in the kind of systematicity that underlies both casual and formal speech.