NYU's study-abroad center in Ghana offers a rare opportunity for North American undergraduates to study linguistics and African languages in Africa.
Important note for NYU undergraduates: Undergraduates studying in Ghana can only satisfy the NYU Linguistics Department's requirements with courses taken at NYU Accra. When Linguistics faculty from NYU are teaching at NYU Accra, it is possible for students to also arrange a directed reading/independent study for credit. NYU faculty are scheduled to teach at NYU Accra in Fall 2013, Spring 2014 and Spring 2015.
Several of the course offered also satisfy NYU's Core Curriculum Societies and the Social Sciences requirement.
Language and Society (LING-UA 9015 Identical to SCA-UA 9701; satisfies Core Curriculum Societies and the Social Sciences requirement). 4 points. No Prerequisites. (Professors Blake and Singler)
Considers contemporary issues in the interaction of language and society, particularly work on speech variation and social structure. Focuses on ways in which social factors affect language. Topics include language as a social and political entity; regional, social, and ethnic speech varieties; bilingualism; and pidgin and creole languages.
Sex, Gender, and Language (LING-UA 9021 Identical to SCA-UA 9712). 4 points. No prerequisites. (Professor Blake)
Examines gender from a multidisciplinary perspective and in particular as a sociolinguistic variable in speech behavior. How do linguistic practices both reflect and shape our gender identity, and how do these reflect more global socio-cultural relationships between the sexes? Do women and men talk differently? To what degree do these differences seem to be universal or variable across cultures? How do dominant gender-based ideologies function to constrain women’s and men’s choices about their gender identities and gender relationships? How does gendered language intersect with race and class-linked language? How is it challenged by linguistic “genderbending”? What impact does gendered language have on the power relationships in given societies? Also examines gendered voices—and silences—in folklore and in literature. Asks how particular linguistic practices contribute to the production of people as “women and men”?
African American English (LING-UA 9023 Identical to SCA-UA 9799). 4 points. No Prerequisites. (Professors Blake and Collins)
Introduces the language behavior of African Americans. Discusses African American Vernacular English in terms of its linguistic and cultural distinctiveness, both intrasystemically and in comparison with other dialects of American English. Relates the English vernacular spoken by African Americans in urban settings to creole languages spoken on the South Carolina Sea Islands (Gullah), in the Caribbean, and in West Africa. Also approaches the subject from the perspective of the history of the expressive uses of African American Vernacular English, and the educational, attitudinal, and social implications connected with the language.
Field Methods (LING-UA 9044). 4 points. No Prerequisites. (Professors Collins and Singler)
A unique hands-on approach to learning linguistics. Every year, a different (endangered and/or understudied) language is chosen to investigate. Students interview a native speaker in order to study various aspects of the language’s grammar: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics.They learn to organize and evaluate real, non-idealized linguistic data and to formulate generalizations that then serve as the basis for a final paper. An opportunity to obtain a rich set of data on a topic of theoretical interest.
Introduction to African Languages (LING-UA 9058 Identical to SCA-UA 9840; satisfies Core Curriculum Societies and the Social Sciences requirement). 4 points. No Prerequisites. (Professors Collins and Singler)
This course examines the structure and use of African languages. Traditional linguistic analysis is integrated with hands-on investigation of the languages of Accra and of Ghana more generally, with particular reference to the languages’ grammatical properties and social uses. (This course satisfies NYU students’ Societies & Social Science Core Curriculum requirement.)
Twi (SCA-UA.GHAN.002). Section 001: 2 points. Section 002, Accelerated: 4 points. No Prerequisites. (Professors Anyidoho and Saah)
The course is designed to provide basic communicative competence in oral and written Twi for beginners. It focuses on the structure of the language as well as the culture of the people. The areas covered include i) oral drills; ii) orthography; iii) written exercises; iv) translation; v) reading and comprehension; vi) conversation and narrative (dialogues, greetings, description of day-to-day activities, bargaining, giving directions); vii) grammar; and viii) and culture.
Students are able to take other courses at NYU-in-Ghana's Academic Centre, and the University of Ghana (Legon).
Akosua Anyidoho (Ph.D. Texas, 1993) is director of NYU-in-Ghana. Formerly an associate professor of linguistics at the University of Ghana, Prof. Anyidoho’s areas of expertise include Twi, especially Twi oral literature, and language in education.
Renee Blake (Ph.D. Stanford, 1997) [present in 2013-2014] is associate professor of linguistics at NYU. She specializes in sociolinguistics, African American Vernacular English, and languages and cultures of the Caribbean.
Chris Collins (Ph.D. MIT, 1993) [present in odd-numbered years] is professor of linguistics at NYU. He specializes in syntax and African languages, including Ewe (a language of Ghana). He has done extensive linguistic fieldwork in Africa.
Kofi Saah (Ph.D. Ottawa, 1995) is head of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Ghana. His areas of specialization are syntax and language acquisition. A veteran instructor of Twi, he has taught American exchange students at the University of Ghana since 1995.
John Victor Singler (Ph.D. UCLA, 1984) [present in even-numbered years] is professor of linguistics at NYU. He specializes in pidgins/creoles, sociolinguistics, and African languages. He is co-editor of The Handbook of Pidgin and Creole Studies (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008).
For more information about NYU-in-Ghana, visit:
To apply, visit: http://www.nyu.edu/studyabroad/application/