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2005 LSA Institute Linguistic Society of America
course web site:

LSA.205 | Dialectology: Feature-Based Analysis

William A. Kretzschmar, Jr.
MW 10:10-11:50
location: 32-144
course web site:

This three-week course on feature-based analysis will be offered in conjunction with John Nerbonne's three-week course on aggregated analysis of language variation data. That is, this course will process one linguistic feature at a time as its basic approach, while Nerbonne's approach will process large numbers of features at the same time.

This course will assume no familiarity with the history or current practices of dialectology or language variation. It has three goals:

1) to provide a theoretical basis for feature-based analysis of language variation, including the rationale for feature-based analysis as opposed to aggregated analysis
2) to provide tools for assessment of different approaches to feature-based analysis
3) to illustrate a number of approaches to feature-based analysis, from historical techniques like isoglosses to more recent statistical procedures that work with differential frequencies of occurrence

Students will have the opportunity to practice techniques of feature-based analysis on actual language variation data.

Required Textbook
Title: Introduction to Quantitive Analsis of Linguistics Survey Data: Atlas by the Numbers
Author: William A. Kretzschmar Jr. and Edgar Schneider
Publisher: Sage Productions
ISBN: 0761901124