Stephen F. Austin State University

Linguistics Minor

About the SFA Linguistics Minor

The SFA Linguistics Minor was first implemented Fall 2010, and, as of Spring 2013, twelve students have graduated with the minor, and another 26 are currently in the minor.

The minor was designed with three student-centric goals in mind:
  1. to provide the students with a non-biased, well-rounded view of the discipline of linguistics;
  2. to prepare students to use their newly found linguistic knowledge after graduation-whether their plans include graduate school or the workplace;
  3. to involve students in collaborative research outside the classroom (see Faculty/Student Collaborations).

One of the most unique aspects of our program is its course offerings: we offer the only face-to-face undergraduate forensic linguistics course in the U.S.; we offer an invented languages course, which--as far as we know--is only offered as a full-fledged course at one other U.S. university; and we strive to offer rigorous courses like Field Methods for our students, which are often only offered at graduate levels.

The minor also reflects the interdisciplinary nature of linguistics itself, and, as such, it can complement any major. As the promotional posters state, "It goes with everything."

Spring 2016 Special topics course descriptions

ENG 343 Linguistics of ASL T 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Linguistic study of ASL, including the following: phonological features of individual signs (hand shape, orientation, location, movement) and how those features shift when placed in a stream of signs; morphological features of signs, including compounding and lexicalization of fingerspelled words; grammar, focusing on typical word orders found in ASL sentences; meaning of signs and how those meanings have shifted over time (as well as how those meanings shift for particular dialects); and typical pragmatic features of conversation in ASL. Knowledge of ASL is helpful but not necessary (nor will it be assumed). No prerequisite.

ENG 442 Translation Studies MWF 10:00-10:50 a.m.

This course will focus on basic communication (speaker/author, audience, and message), formal and dynamic equivalence (how much a translation reflects the grammatical forms of the original language), semantic theory (theory of meaning), language and culture, pragmatics (how language is used), ethics and translation, and technology and translation. The aim of the course is application and evaluation of theory. Knowledge of another language is not necessary but will be helpful. We will look at both language in isolation as well as literary passages in translation. No prerequisite.

ENG 458 Forensic Semantics TR 9:30-10:45 a.m.

This course will focus on the analysis of the meaning of words, clauses, sentences, paragraphs, and discourse in legal, personal, and commercial communication (e.g., bribery cases, contracts, copyright infringement, courtroom discourse, depositions, plagiarism, policies, perjury, wills). No prior knowledge of Forensic Linguistics is assumed, nor is there a prerequisite.

SFA Linguistics Conference 2014

The Second Annual SFA Linguistics Conference was held on May 1, 2014, with a primary theme of Linguistics, Language, and Media and featured 11 student presentations.

SFA Students Present at LCC5

Six SFA students collaborated on a poster presentation for the 5th Language Creation Conference, which was held in May 2013 in Austin, TX.

While at the conference, the students (along with Dr. Jessie Sams) were able to meet David Peterson, who created Dothraki for Game of Thrones and all the alien languages for Defiance.

SFA Linguistics Conference 2013

On Wednesday, May 1, we held our first ever SFA Linguistics Conference; twenty-two student poster and/or multimedia presentations were on display for conference attendees in the Twilight Ballroom. During the conference, Dr. Paul Frommer, who invented the Na'vi language for the movie Avatar, spoke with all conference attendees via Skype and allowed time for a Q&A session with the attendees.

To open his talk, Dr. Frommer spoke to the students in Na'vi:

"Kaltxì, ma eylan. Oel ayngati kameie nìwotx. Furia fitsenget tok ìlä Skype fte teri lì'fya atxawnula ayngahu pivängkxo, oero prrte' lu nìngay."

The translation of that into English is "Hello, friends. I See you all. It's a real pleasure to be here via Skype to chat with you about constructed language(s)."

You can listen to the recording of the greeting here.