ESP Biography

COPPE VAN URK, MIT grad student studying linguistics

Major: Linguistics

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: 2015

Picture of Coppe van Urk

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I'm an MIT PhD student in linguistics from The Netherlands. I got a BA in English language and MA in Linguistics from Utrecht University. I've been at MIT for three years now!

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

H8183: Introduction to Linguistics in HSSP Spring 2014 (Mar. 01, 2014)
Explore human languages, piece apart their puzzles, and participate in experiments! This class will be an in-depth hands-on introduction to Linguistics, the scientific study of human languages. Each week we will solve language-related puzzles and create in-class experiments. The discoveries we will make will lead to insights about what sounds languages can be made of, how sounds are put together to form meaning, how languages are structured, and how they are acquired. The main goal is for you, the students, to discover through hands-on experience the many aspects of the scientific study of language. We will discuss several sub-fields of linguistics, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics, using not only English but a variety of other languages to spark our debates. Come expecting to learn, to decipher, and to question what you already know about language.

H7252: How English Works: Introduction to Syntax in HSSP Summer 2013 (Jul. 07, 2013)
This is not your high school grammar class. We will teach you how English is really put together and why it is put together the way it is (like, why do we say $$\textit{I did not read a book}$$ and not $$\textit{I read not a book}$$ - what is that $$\textit{did}$$ doing there?). You will find out that there is all sorts of interesting knowledge about English that you have in your head that no one has ever told you about (such as the fact that $$\textit{he}$$ and $$\textit{John}$$ can refer to the same person in $$\textit{John thinks that he is smart}$$, but not in $$\textit{He thinks that John is smart}$$). You will be taught a new perspective on English, the field of syntax, which allows us to solve these puzzles. It will also let us talk about the ways in which English is different from other languages and the ways in which it is not (for example, very few other languages have a $$\textit{did}$$ in $$\textit{I did not read a book}$$, but the facts about $$\textit{he}$$ and $$\textit{John}$$ are the same in every language).

H6853: Introduction to Linguistics in HSSP Spring 2013 (Mar. 02, 2013)
This is an introductory course into the science of linguistics, the study of the rules of language. We will talk about how we create speech sounds and how words and sentences are put together. You will also learn about the differences between languages and some of the social consequences these differences can have.