Language, Mind, and Brain

Class Dates

October 15, 2020 to December 09, 2020

Meeting Days

Live Online Sessions: Oct. 20, Oct. 27, Nov. 3, Nov. 10, Nov. 17, Dec. 1, and Dec. 9 @ 10 AM Arizona time


Online Course



Course Instructor(s)

Please note that this class is closed now

This seven-week Community Classroom course will give you a chance to study language and cognition with the founder of modern linguistics, Professor Noam Chomsky. The course will be co-taught by Professor Chomsky, UA Agnese Nelms Haury Chair and Laureate Professor of Linguistics; Linguistics Regents’ Professor Tom Bever; and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, Professor of Cognitive Science, Linguistics and Psychology.

This linguistics course will use language as a lens into the human mind and brain, and will follow and explore the field of “biolinguistics,” the scientific investigation of language and mind that Noam Chomsky has been developing since he founded the program of study 70 years ago.  The main theme of Chomsky’s program and the course is that language and other mental abilities are based in a combination of genetic capacities, maturation, experience, physical and computational constraints.  Professors Chomsky, Bever, and Piattelli-Palmarini will take turns lecturing, and time will be allotted for discussions on a range of topics that integrate the study of language with research on the mind and brain. 

As an adaptation for COVID conditions, this course will be offered online for people to access remotely, with videos available each week on the different topics, along with suggested readings.  Participants will view these videos on their own schedule.  They can then submit questions and comments for the instructors to address in seven live online sessions. 



Readings and Syllabus

Registered participants will receive access to all the posted readings at the beginning of the course. Unlike their fellow UA students, community members do NOT take quizzes and exams or write papers, and can go through the readings at their own choice and pace.



Attendance & Participation

Participants will have access to three to six hours of pre-recorded lectures weekly. Those lectures are either by one or more instructors, and are generally recorded in one-hour segments. Sometimes the instructors will also provide special supplementary videos to give historical background,  specific examples of phenomena, and experiments to observe. 

There will also be several LIVE ONLINE sessions offered via the University of Arizona Zoom platform. Those sessions will be recorded and shared with registered students after each session to facilitate access for those who cannot make the live sessions.






Refunds are available and need to be requested before or by October 21. To drop a class, please contact Kerstin Miller at 520-621-5111 or A $25 administrative fee for each cancellation will apply.