Linguistics 101: Introduction to the Study of Language (Fall 2014)

1 Course information

Lecture Times MWF 10am-10:50am
Lecture Location Center Hall Room 113
Section Time Wednesday 1-2pm
Section Location HSS Room 2154 TBD
Class webpage

2 Instructor information

Instructor Roger Levy (
Instructor's office AP&M Room 4220
Instructor's office hours by appointment
Teaching Assistants (TAs) Julia Blume (, Qi Cheng (, Gwen Gillingham (
TA office hours Tuesdays 10am-12pm (Blume), Thursdays 4-6pm (Cheng), Fridays 11am-1pm (Gillingham)
TA offices Art of Espresso coffee cart (Blume, Gillingham); AP&M Room 3331E (Cheng)

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 thrice-weekly course meetings will be primarily lectures, supplemented by discussions about class topics. There will also be an optional review section held on Wednesdays from 1-2pm at a location TBD.

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 and that it is registered in Ted by the beginning of class on Friday, October 10 (the end of Week 1).


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)

Week Day Topic & Reading Materials Homework Assignments
Week 0 3 Oct Class Introduction Files 1.0-1.6 Beginning of Class Survey (WebCT)
Week 1 6 Oct Phonetics 1: introduction & articulatory phonetics; English consonants Files 2.0-2.2 Homework 1 goes out
  8 Oct Phonetics 2: English consonants continued; English vowels File 2.3  
  10 Oct Phonetics 3: English vowels continued; IPA exercises    
Week 2 13 Oct Phonetics 4: sounds of the world's languages File 2.4, Powerpoint Slides  
  15 Oct Phonetics 5: suprasegmentals; acoustic phonetics Files 2.5-2.6  
  17 Oct Phonetics 6: finish phonetics    
Week 3 20 Oct Phonology 1: phonemes and allophones Files 3.0-3.1 Homework 1 due, Homework 2 goes out
  22 Oct Phonology 2: contrastive distribution, complementary distribution, free variation File 3.2  
  24 Oct Phonology 3: phonological rules File 3.3  
Week 4 27 Oct Phonology 4: finish phonological rules; phonotactic constraints; phonology problems File 3.5  
  29 Oct Phonology 5: syllables, foregin accents; more phonology problems    
  31 Oct Morphology 1: derivation vs. inflection; free vs. bound; morphological processes Files 4.0-4.2 Homework 2 due, Homework 3 goes out
Week 5 3 Nov Midterm Exam I (covers phonetics through phonology)    
  5 Nov Morphology 2: hierarchical structure, morphological language types, morphology problems Files 4.4, 4.3, 4.5  
  7 Nov Morphology 3: finish up morphology    
Week 6 10 Nov Syntax 1: word order, lexical categories, agreement, constituency, grammatical roles Files 5.0-5.2 Homework 3 due, Homework 4 goes out
  12 Nov Syntax 2: identifying lexical categories; start phrase structure Files 5.3 & 5.4  
  14 Nov Syntax 3: more phrase structure; word order typology (taught by Gwen Gillingham) Files 5.4 & 5.6  
Week 7 17 Nov Syntax 4: tests for constituency; syntax problems (taught by Gwen Gillingham) File 5.5  
  19 Nov Syntax 5: finish up syntax    
  21 Nov Semantics 1: reference versus sense Files 6.0-6.2 Homework 4 due, Homework 5 goes out
Week 8 24 Nov Semantics 2: lexical semantics Files 6.3-6.4  
  26 Nov Semantics 3: compositional semantics File 6.5  
  28 Nov Thanksgiving vacation, no class    
Week 9 1 Dec Semantics roundup   Homework 5 due
  3 Dec Midterm Exam II (covers morphology through semantics)    
  5 Dec Pragmatics 1: rules of conversation (Grice's maxims) Files 7.0-7.2 Homework 6 goes out
Week 10 8 Dec Pragmatics 2: drawing conclusions; presupposition Files 7.3-7.4  
  10 Dec Pragmatics 3: speech acts File 7.5  
  12 Dec Language Change; Practical Applications of Linguistics (why this is a great field!) & Course Review Chapters 12 and 16; Language Reconstruction Handout Homework 6 due
Finals 19 Dec Final Exam–8-11 am!!! (cumulative, covers all course contents)    

12 Instructor contact policy

Coming to talk to TAs during their office hours is highly encouraged. For any course-content matters that aren't cleared up through discussion with TAs, you may contact me (i.e., the instructor, Professor Levy) via e-mail to make an appointment at my office. 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 the following 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. Six homework assignments to be assigned throughout the quarter. We will drop your lowest score and keep the remaining five. These homework assignments will be worth 37.5% of your grade (i.e., 7.5% for each assignment).
  3. We were originally going to have a seventh assignment but ran out of time; therefore everyone will automatically get full 7.5% credit toward their course grade for that homework assignment that never happened.
  4. Two midterms – one covering phonetics, phonology, and morphology on Monday 3 November, and one covering syntax, semantics, and pragmatics on Wednesday 3 December (each is worth 15% of your grade each).
  5. A cumulative final exam on Friday 19 December (22% of your grade).
  6. One of the two following options FOR EXTRA CREDIT (4% of your grade; no double 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 December 15, 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 December 1.
  7. 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 17 December.

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!

Author: Roger Levy

Created: 2014-12-05 Fri 09:51

Emacs 24.4.1 (Org mode 8.2.5h)