Linguistics 101: Introduction to the Study of Language (Winter 2013)

1 Course information

Lecture TimesTuTh 9:30am-11:00am
Lecture LocationCognitive Science Building 001
Section Time12-1pm Wednesdays
Section LocationMcGill 2330
Class webpage

2 Instructor information

InstructorRoger Levy (
Instructor's officeAP&M Room 4220
Instructor's office hoursTuesdays 2-4pm
Teaching Assistants (TAs)Dan Michel (, Gwen Gillingham (
TA office hours11am-12pm Mondays (Gwen), Wednesdays 10am-11:50pm (Dan)
TA officesAP&M 3351A (Gwen), AP&M 2432 (Dan)

3 Course Description

This course is an introduction to the scientific study of language. The bulk of this course will involve covering the core areas of linguistic theory–phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. The rest of the course will cover cross-cutting ways to study phenomena in these core areas, including the study of language in society (sociolinguistics), language change (historical linguistics), language and the mind & brain (psycholinguistics & neurolinguistics), language acquisition, computational linguistics, and practical applications of linguistics.

4 Course organization

The twice-weekly course meetings will be primarily lectures, supplemented by discussions about class topics. There will also be an optional review section held at time & location TBA.

4.1 Classroom Etiquette

During lectures and student presentations, interrupting (politely!) to ask questions is highly encouraged – please raise your hand and I (or the student presenters) will call on you.

The use of laptops, tablets, and cell phones is NOT PERMITTED in this classroom. Electronic screens serve as a barrier between you and me. Worse, they can be a terrible distraction to students sitting near you. If you are used to taking notes on your laptop or a tablet, please just bring traditional pen and paper instead, and then transfer your notes to your computer after class. (The extra time you take to do this will actually improve your retention of the subject material anyway.)

5 Intended Audience

Upper-division students and highly-motivated lower-division students interested in language. No previous exposure to linguistics is required.

6 Course objectives

By the end of this course you should have learned the basics of all six basic sufields of linguistics, and understand the interfaces of linguistics to related fields through the later topics in the course. Some of the specific abilities that you should come away from this course with include the ability to read and write using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and the ability to do basic phonological, morphological, and syntactic analysis of both English and data from other languages.

7 Textbook

The textbook we're using is the Language Files, eleventh edition. It is required that you purchase this textbook – it is available at the bookstore. In addition, there is one copy on reserve at Geisel and one copy on reserve at the Linguistics Department Language Lab & Library (AP&M 3432), but don't rely solely on these – buy your own. There may occasionally be other readings assigned, as well. Please do the reading for each day before the lecture! You will not understand the material covered in lecture as well otherwise.

8 Clickers

You are required to have an i>Clicker and to bring it to class regularly. We will have brief pop quizzes on the course material at various points during lectures, and a small percent of your grade will be based on your participation in these quizzes. (You won't be graded based on your performance on the quizzes; you get full credit so long as you participate.) There are plenty of these clickers available for purchase at the bookstore. Please be sure that you have one by the start of the second week of class.


We will be using (Blackboard) for administering homework assignments and various surveys, and as a discussion forum for all participants in the class. Most of you should be familiar with Ted/Blackboard from another class (in years past it was called WebCT); if you aren't, poke around at

10 Discussion boards

There will be discussion boards on the course's Ted site for the major topics covered in this class. If you have a question about course content that may be relevant to other students in the course, we strongly encourage you to post it to the Ted discussion board for this class. We encourage you to read the discussion boards regularly, and if you know the answer to a question, to post the answer! Active, positive contributions to the discussion boards will be given favorable consideration in determining final grades.

11 Syllabus (subject to modification)

WeekDayTopic & ReadingMaterialsHomework Assignments
Week 18 JanClass Introduction and Phonetics 1: introduction & articulatory phonetics; intro to the IPAFiles 1.0-1.6, 2.0-2.1Beginning of Class Survey (Ted)
10 JanPhonetics 2:; English consonants, English vowels, IPA exercisesFiles 2.2-2.3Homework 1 goes out
Week 215 JanPhonetics 3: sounds of the world's languages, suprasegmentals, acoustic phoneticsFiles 2.4-2.6, Powerpoint Slides
17 JanWrap up phonetics
Week 322 JanPhonology 1: phonemes and allophones, phonological rulesFiles 3.0, 3.2Homework 1 due, Homework 2 goes out
24 JanPhonology 2: phonolotactic constraints; syllables; foreign accents; phonology problemsFiles 3.1, 3.3, 3.5
Week 429 JanFinish up Phonology
31 JanMorphology 1: derivation vs. inflection; free vs. bound; morphological processesFiles 4.0-4.2Homework 2 due, Homework 3 goes out
Week 55 FebMorphology 2: hierarchical structure, morphological language types, morphology problemsFiles 4.4, 4.3, 4.5
7 FebSyntax 1: word order, lexical categories, agreement, constituency, grammatical rolesFiles 5.0-5.1, 5.2, 5.4Homework 3 due, Homework 4 goes out
Week 612 FebMidterm Exam: (covers phonetics through morphology)
14 FebSyntax 2: phrase structure, word order typologyFile 5.5
Week 719 FebSyntax 3: tests for constituency; syntax problemsFile 5.6
21 FebSemantics 1: reference versus sense, lexical semanticsFiles 6.0-6.2Homework 4 due, Homework 5 goes out
Week 826 FebSemantics 2: compositional semanticsFiles 6.3-6.4
28 FebPragmatics 1: rules of conversation (Grice's maxims); drawing conclusionsFiles 7.0-7.3Homework 5 due, Homework 6 goes out
Week 95 MarPragmatics 2: presupposition, speech actsFiles 7.4-7.5
7 MarLanguage Change I:Files 13.0-13.4Homework 6 due, Homework 7 goes out
Week 1012 MarLanguage Change IIFiles 13.5-13.8
14 MarLanguage in Society; Practical Applications of LinguisticsFiles 10.0-10.6, supplementary reading TBA Files 17.0-17.7Homework 7 due
Finals19 MarFinal Exam–8-11 am!!!

12 Instructor contact policy

Coming to talk to the instructor or TAs during their office hours is highly encouraged. Electronic communications about course content should be made through the Ted discussion board (see above). We ask that you use email contact only for communications that are not relevant to other students (e.g., specific learning circumstances or medical/personal emergency).

13 Academic Integrity

Please take some time to read the UCSD Policy on Integrity of Scholarship. We will be conducting this course in full accordance with this policy. In particular, any suspected cheating or plagiarism in the course will be taken very seriously and investigated. If we determine that cheating or plagiarism has taken place, it will be reported to UCSD's Office of the Academic Integrity Coordinator, in accordance with UCSD policy. Please note that it is not at our discretion whether or not to report instances of academic dishonesty: we are obligated by UCSD policy to report such instances.

13.1 Examples of academic integrity violations

Here are some examples of academic integrity violations. DO NOT DO THESE!!!

  • Copying from or looking on to a neighbor's exam during the midterm or final.
  • Copying a friend or roommate's homework assignment.
  • Changing a graded homework assignment or exam and returning it for a regrade.
  • Smuggling notes into a closed-book exam.
  • Finding the answer key to a homework assignment (e.g., on the Web) and copying it.
  • Giving a false reason (e.g., death of a relative) for missing an exam or turning in an assignment late.

This is not an exhaustive list – please read the UCSD Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and use your common sense!

14 Requirements & grading

Your grade will be based on six criteria:

  1. Participation in clicker-based pop quizzes during lectures will be worth 3% of your grade. As long as you participate in 80% of these quizzes, you will earn full credit for this 3%.
  2. Seven homework assignments to be assigned throughout the quarter. We will drop your lowest score and keep the remaining six. These six assignments will be worth 48% of your grade (i.e., 8% for each assignment).
  3. A midterm covering phonetics, phonology, and morphology on Tuesday 12 February (18% of your grade).
  4. A cumulative final exam on Tuesday 19 March (27% of your grade).
  5. One of the two following options (4% of your grade; no extra credit for doing both!):
    1. Participation in three hours of the Human Subject Pool ( each hour of participation counts as 1% of your grade, plus a 1% bonus for participation in all three hours. You are encouraged to participate in language-related experiments, and to participate in these experiments early–the last day for participation is TBD, and there is no guarantee that there will be experiment slots open for participation in the latest part of the quarter. You can get detailed information on SONA participation at
    2. Writing a research paper (1000-1500 words) on some topic covered in the class. The due date for such a paper is March 13, and no late papers will be accepted. If you choose this option, you must discuss it with Professor Levy or one of the teaching assistants by February 28.
  6. The following will be taken into consideration favorably when assessing borderline grade cases:
    • Regular attendance in class, having done the assigned readings beforehand, and active participation in class discussions;
    • Active participation in the optional section meetings;
    • Active participation in Ted discussion lists, including (thoughtfully!) answering questions posed by other students.

15 Homework grading policy

Homework assignments may be turned in up to six days late, but they will be downgraded 10% per day. Furthermore, nothing may be turned in after 19 March.

Exceptions to the late policy will only be granted for medical or personal emergencies, and the instructor or his TA must be notified as soon as possible (not several days after the emergency is over).

15.1 Regrading/correction policy

We all make mistakes–TAs and professors as well as students–so please do look over your returned work. In addition to helping ensure that you get the credit you deserve, this checking will improve your retention of the material. However, there is a statute of limitations: all grading mistakes must be brought to our attention within one week of our returning the work. This prevents us from getting a backlog of corrections at the end of the quarter, which would interfere with the time-consuming activities of preparing lectures and grading. Finally, by asking for any of your work to be re-graded you take on the risk that we will notice a problem that we had not noticed before, and actually end up giving you a lower grade than you were originally awarded. So we encourage you to bring any necessary regrades to our attention, but for your own sake you should do so only when you're fairly confident that we really did give you less credit than you deserve. (For example, you may want to compare your work & grade with that of your classmates first.) Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

Date: 2013-02-12 10:53:00 PST

Author: Roger Levy

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