General Education Requirement (GER)/Broadening & Deepening Electives (BDE)

HG0201 Singapore's Languages
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs
Note: HG0201 will be phased out from S1 AY22/23 onwards.

The course introduces the linguistic situation in Singapore. Using existing theories as a basis, this course will demonstrate how languages such as Singapore English has evolved and developed. This course will also show how language policies in Singapore have an impact on the development of languages in Singapore. Other topics discussed include the role of the media – from newspapers to the movie industry – in the construction of Singapore’s languages.

HG5001 Language Puzzle: The Study of Human Language
Pre-requisite(s): Nil. Mutually exclusive with HG1001 | 3 AUs

In this elective, you will be taken on a tour of 'the world of language' and you will be shown how linguists (specialists in language history and language structure) conduct their research and what they have found out about the mystery that is known as 'human language'.

HG5002 Story of English
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This module offers a panoramic view of the development of English from its roots in the Germanic peoples of northern Europe, to its modern ubiquity in a globalizing world. While some attention will be paid to variationist differences (ie orthographically, phonologically, grammatically and lexically), the focus will be on sociohistorical conditions that culminated in such changes and the role of English today. Key topics include the development of English in specific geographic localities such as Britain and Singapore, as well as in line with particular historical events including imperialism, globalization and the advent of the Internet.

HG5003 Technologically Speaking
Pre-requisite(s): Nil. Mutually exclusive with HG2052 | 3 AUs

In this elective you will get a chance to see how technology affects how we use language (from the effects of encoding to the rise of chatspeak), and also how technology has enabled us to study and process language in new ways. Students will gain understanding of the problems of representing, transmitting and transforming language electronically. Specific topics will include automatic parsing and generation of language, text mining (extracting knowledge from text) and machine translation.

HG5004 Communications Across Cultural Contexts 
Pre-requisite(s): Nil. Mutually exclusive with HG2021 | 3 AUs

To gain a basic understanding of issues and problems pertaining to interlanguage and intercultural communication. To introduce intercultural theories, frameworks and models to students without a linguistics background and to link those to intercultural communication in practice. To foster awareness-building and a deeper level of understanding of the complexities and realities of intercultural communication relevant to various work settings.

HG5005 Global Languages, Local Culture 
Pre-requisite(s): Nil | 3 AUs

This course covers the development of languages that are transplanted such as English or Chinese, take root in new societies and are appropriated and adapted to novel uses. As this is a common phenomenon, students will be able to look beyond individual languages and will be able to connect their own, reflected experiences with the demands set by regional and global challenges in multilingual societies. What is especially important is the role of inter-cultural communication and understanding as well as the stylistic range from family talk to formal and public encounters.

HG5008 A Globe-Trotter's guide to the Languages of the World
Pre-requisite(s): Nil. Mutually exclusive with HG2099 | 3 AUs

This course takes into account evolutionary, ethnic, geographical and historical factors that have led to the development and spread of the roughly 7000 languages that are currently spoken in the world. Students will develop an appreciation of key issues in linguistic classification and description, why there are different accents, the relationship between dialect and language, and the types of evidence used by linguists to establish genetic affiliations.

HG5009 Introduction to Human Evolution
Pre-requisite(s): Nil. Mutually exclusive with HG2099 and HG8008 | 3 AUs

This course aims to provide students with a basic introduction to the origins of the species Homo and its evolution, both physical and cultural. It will review theories and methods from paleo-anthropology, biology and genetics, primatology, psychology, linguistics, and philosophy.

HG5011 Detecting Meaning with Sherlock Holmes
Pre-requisite(s): Nil. Mutually exclusive with HG2002 | 3 AUs

The course introduces to students basic skills in semantic and literary analysis using examples taken from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. Key areas such as (and not limited to) - i) understanding how words can convey feelings, ii) understanding how to appreciate the historical and cultural context of a text, iii) understanding how stories are transformed in different media, iv) understanding how cinematic elements affect our understanding and v) understanding how meaning changes as it is transmitted in different languages and cultures, vi) identifying characteristics of modern detective fiction will be covered.

HG5012 Code-Breakers at Work: A General Introduction to Cryptology and Crypto-Linguistics
Pre-requisite(s): Nil. Mutually exclusive with HG2095 | 3 AUs

The course introduces fundamental topics in Cryptology, Cryptography, Cryptanalysis, and Crypto-Linguistics (Language Deciphering). It consists of a basic introduction to Cryptologic Sciences, from the origins (Antiquity, in the West and in the East) to the Second World War and the introduction of Computer Sciences, aimed essentially at providing the students with a general, but accurate overview on Cryptology as a science and as a cultural phenomenon, dealing with the history of this discipline and with encryption / encoding and decryption / decoding methods developed over time. A focus of the course is also on deciphering techniques applied to ancient and/or undeciphered writing systems, introducing issues and topics in Crypto-Linguistics to the students. 

The course focuses both on the diachronic / historical development of Cryptology as a science (both in the field of Cryptography and in the field of Cryptanalysis) and on the practical application of encryption / encoding, decryption / decoding, and language deciphering methodologies and techniques.

The course is developed by ‘units’, dealing with a single, specific topic per class (from the general introduction of basic definitions, terminology, notions, and issues, to the comprehensive explanation of a specific crypto-system – working, operation, how to encrypt, how to decrypt – or of an undeciphered / deciphered writing system / script).

Dealing, time-by-time, with a specific cryptogram, students will learn:

  • how to encrypt a message through it;
  • how to decrypt that message knowing the key of the related crypto-system;
  • how to reverse-engineer / ‘break’ that code without knowing its key.

Topics will be analyzed according to an all-embracing approach, starting from the basic principles and from the origins of Cryptology and arriving to the evaluation ​of the contribution of Cryptologic Sciences to communications, security systems, Computer Sciences, and the contemporary everyday life.​