Altminster.

Bringing linguistics out of the ivory tower.

I offer supervision of students studying linguistics privately. My goal is to make available a high-quality education in linguistics to anyone who wants it.

How it works

Students pay a monthly "subscription" fee of $75 (USD). This allows for a predictable expense. Subscriptions can be ended or paused at any time.

A subscription includes:

  • An individualized curriculum designed to match your interests.
  • An study plan for the month consisting of a reading list, study questions, and/or problem sets.
  • A 1-hour meeting to discuss the past month's work, address any questions, and set the agenda for the next month.

Sample Curricula

Each of these curricula is aimed to take you from the very basics up to the point where you can start reading contemporary research literature in a particular area over the course of a year. You can compare the content to what you would encounter in a first- or second-year course in graduate school. I am happy to customize any of them to suit your interests, schedule, or budget.

  • Linguistic Theory: Syntax Focus (see more below)
  • Linguistic Theory: Phonology Focus (see more below)
  • Linguistics in the History of Ideas
  • Linguistic Diversity and Descriptive Linguistics
  • Formal Modelling of Language
  • Historical Linguistics
  • Structure and History of the English Language

Linguistic Theory: Syntax Focus

This curriculum introduces you to syntax, the study of sentence structure. Specifically, it introduces you to the generative (i.e. Chomskyan) tradition of syntax. A generative theory of syntax aims to explain the part of speakers' tacit knowledge of language that allows them to produce and comprehend sentences.

We will spend most of our time examining the facts that a theory of syntax aims to explain, and the various theoretical tools that have been introduced to explain them. Through a combination of readings and problem solving, you'll gain a familiarity with the notation that syntacticians have developed to represent syntactic hypotheses and the ability to evaluate these hypotheses. Towards the end, we will introduce some of the more important contemporary topics and ideas in syntax.

  • Month 1: Linguistic Diversity and Uniformity
  • Month 2: Grammar and the Lexicon
  • Month 3: Theta Theory
  • Month 4: Structural Relations
  • Month 5: Binding Theory
  • Month 6: Case Theory
  • Month 7: Empty Categories
  • Month 8: Wh-Movement
  • Month 9: Logical Form
  • Month 10: Head Movement
  • Month 11: The Minimalist Program
  • Month 12: Biolinguistics

Linguistic Theory: Phonology Focus

This curriculum introduces you to the discipline of phonology, the study of sound patterns in language. You will learn in depth the generative theory of phonology, which seeks to characterize and explain the tacit knowledge of language that allows speakers of a language to produce words and utterances which conform to the sound system of their language.

You will be introduced to a broad range of the sound patterns that a theory of phonology must explain. You'll also learn the various, often competing, theoretical frameworks which have been developed to account for these patterns. By reading and solving phonological problems, you will become familiar with the debates and proposals that characterize contemporary phonological research.

  • Month 1: Phonology as a Cognitive Science
  • Month 2: Phonological Rules and Representations
  • Month 3: Phonological Alternations
  • Month 4: Opacity and Rule Ordering
  • Month 5: Phonological Constraints
  • Month 5: Markedness
  • Month 6: Autosegmental Phonology
  • Month 7: Underspecification
  • Month 8: Tone
  • Month 9: Syllable Structure
  • Month 10: Metrical Phonology
  • Month 11: The Phonetics-Phonology Relationship
  • Month 12: Optimality Theory

If you have any questions, or would like to work with me, send me a message!

$75 /month
To learn more or get started, get in touch with Colin Gorrie using the button below.
$75 /month

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