This course briefly outlines how modern linguistics has failed to live up to its potential as an empirical discipline and why an alternative approach to the study of human communication and language is required. As we introduce basic concepts of semiotics, we simultaneously situate human language among semiotic systems, discussing points of contrast and comparison between human language and other animal communication systems. Following this general introduction, we proceed to examine what Everett (2017; 2018) labels G1, G2, and G3 languages and how these cause us to rethink several assumptions of modern linguistic theory, focusing on compositionality and the relation of language to thought. The course argues that the role of syntax, phonology, and morphology in human languages is to aid the interpretation of the human semiotic system. The course defends its most controversial points via data from field research around the world, but focuses on my own field research in the Brazilian Amazon.