LIN 001: Introduction to Linguistics


Instructor Lecture Day/Time Lecture Hall Email Hangout Hours Office
Masoud Jasbi Tue + Thu 12:10 - 1:30 PM Young Hall 198 Thu 2:30 - 4:00 PM (or other times by email) Kerr Hall 279
Teaching Assistants Section Day/Time Section Room Email Hangout Hours Office
Anthony Diaz (A01) Wed 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM Olson Hall 207 Tuesdays 1:30-3:00 PM Kerr Hall 255
(A02) Wed 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM Olson Hall 207
Cameron Duval (A03) Wed 12:10 PM - 1:00 PM Wellman Hall 205
(A04) Wed 1:10 PM - 2:00 PM Wellman Hall 205
Chloe Brotherton (A05) Fri 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM TLC 3210
Eve Booker (A06) Fri 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM TLC 3210 Thu 2:00 - 4:00 PM Kerr 263
(A07) Fri 12:10 PM - 1:00 PM Wellman 5


Week Month Date Topic Content Readings Assignments
1 April 4 What is (NOT) Language?
(Click for Slides)
The Scientific Study of Language, Descriptions vs. Prescriptions, Competence vs. Performance, What Language is NOT, Three Definitions of Language, Animal Communication, Design Features of Language, Language Modality Textbook Chapters 1 and 14 Quiz 1
2 11 Phonetics: The Sounds of Language Speech sounds, consonants, vowels, suprasegmentals, acoustics Textbook Chapter 2 Quiz 2
3 18 Phonology: Combining Sounds Phonotactic constraints, Accents, Phonemes, Allophones, Phonological Rules Textbook Chapter 3 Quiz 3
4 25 Morphology: Making Words Morphemes, Derivation, Inflection, Morphological Processes, Morphological Types of Languages, Morphological Structure Textbook Chapter 4 Quiz 4
5 May 2 Syntax: Making Sentences Syntactic Properties, Syntactic Constituency, Syntactic Categories, Phrase Structure Grammars Textbook Chapter 5 Quiz 5
Scientific Paper 1
6 9 Semantics and Pragmatics: The Making of Meaning Sense vs. Reference, Compositionality, Context, The Cooperative Principle and Maxims of Conversation Textbook Chapters 6 and 7 Quiz 6
7 16 Child Language Development Theories of Language Development, Learning Speech Sounds, Word Learning, Learning a grammar, Bilingual Language Acquisition Textbook Chapter 8 Quiz 7
Scientific Paper 2
8 23 Language and the Mind Language in the Brain, Language Disorders, Speech Production, Speech Perception, Sentence Processing, Language and Thought Textbook Chapter 9 and Chapter 11 Section 2 Quiz 8
9 30 Language Variation & Sociolinguistics Dialects, Idiolects, Types of Variation, Factors Affecting Variation, Linguistic Identity Textbook Chapter 10 Scientific Paper 3
June 1
10 6 Language Change + Language and Thought Syncrhony vs. Diachrony, Sound Change, Morphological Change, Syntactic Change, Semantic Change Textbook Chapter 13

Textbook and Learning Tools

Textbook Language Files (13th or 12th Edition) (Available via Canvas BookShelf) Tools Canvas, mainly for announcements and assignments.
By The Department of Linguistics at The Ohio State University

Course Objectives

Objective Course Component
1 Introduce key topics in linguistics Readings, Lectures
4 Practice basic linguistic analysis Quizzes
3 Show connections between linguistic topics and real world issues Readings, Lectures
4 Practice critical and scientific thinking Reading Scientific Papers, Discussion Forum


Participation 10 Points Discussion Forum 10 Points Each week, post a relevant and contentful question, a comment, or a response to someone else's question on the week's readings in Canvas Discussions section. 10 discussions (1 per week) each worth 1 point. The teaching staff will decide wehther a post is truly relevant and contentful or not. Example of not contetful comments mainly posted to get the grade: "I agree with you", "I thought about X and it is cool!", "What is the relation between language and sound?", etc.
Critical Thinking 20 Points Reading Scientific Papers 20 Points Read 3 very short scientific papers. For one paper, you submit a short one paragraph summary, for another five questions on the content, and for another a map of its main arguments (Argument/Concept Map). More specific instructions can be found by clicking on this link.
Analytic Skills 70 Points
Weekly Quizzes 40 Points 8 weekly quizzes on Canvas, 5% each. Questions come from the readings of the week and lecture materials. Each quiz has several question-types (covering a specific sub-topic of the week) and the exact questions in that question-type are randomly selected from a bank of questions. You have 10 attempts for each quiz. Your highest grade will be recorded.
Final Project 30 Points In groups of 4-5, create a constructed language (conlang) of your own with its unique name. Your conlang should have a well worked-out phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. You will present your project as a poster during our poster session on Friday June 9th. Your poster should include a statement of author contribution.
Late Submission All quizzes and discussion posts must be submitted by the beginning of finals week. The scientific papers have strict deadlines posted on Canvas. 3% of the grade earned will be deducted for each day the assignment is late, with a maximum penalty of 50%. All late work must be turned in by the Friday before the exam week. This policy can be waived if lateness is due to medical reasons or other special circumstances.
Submission Format Submit your assignments using Canvas. Quizzes can be found in the Quizzes section. For the scientific papers the instructions are available on Canvs and the assignment can be uploaded and submitted in the Assignments section. If an assignment is handwritten and cannot be determined due to illegibility, no points are assigned to that part. Do not include your name or any identifying information in submitted assignments. In order to avoid grading biases, all grading is done either automatically or anonymously.
Grading We use the following grading scale:
A+ = 100-97 A = 97-93, A- = 93-90, B+ = 90-87, B = 87-83, B- = 83-80, C+ = 80-77, C = 77-73, C- = 73-70, D+ = 70-67, D = 67-63, D- = 63-60, F = 60-0.
Integrity We follow the UC Davis code of academic conduct. You are permitted to work together to understand the scientific papers but you must write up and submit your own assignments. You are expected to do the quizzes individually.
Accessibility Students who may need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability must initiate the request with the UC Davis Student Disability Center. Professional staff will evaluate the request, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare a letter of accommodation for the faculty. Students should contact the SDC as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations.
Addressing the Instructor I prefer Masoud and he/his/him for pronouns. No titles or last name needed.
Assessment and Grading Our assignments and grading are designed to emphasize "error-driven learning". We want you to make errors, try to figure out what went wrong, correct the errors, and learn that way. This is why you have multiple attempts on quizzes. In this approach you are in the driver's seat and in charge of your own learning. You decide how much you like to learn and what grade is satisfying to you.
Participation We believe that our class benefits enormously from you sharing your thoughts and questions. Your background, life experiences, knowledge, thoughts, and ideas make you unique, and our classroom diverse. This diversity of perspectives is the foundation of learning in a classroom. At a larger scale and within a scientific community, it is also a major contributor to scientific progress. Therefore, sharing your thoughts and questions can help us learn and build a wider, stronger community of scholars.

Some of you may worry that your classmate's asking questions and sharing ideas may disrupt the class progress. Judging when to ask a question or share an idea is tricky but also part of education. Instead of discouraging it, we would like to practice it together. Here is flowchart that you might find useful. Ultimately, we trust your judgments.
Questions Ask all and any question you may have! "Stupid questions" are actually the best ones! They help you and I see where something is not clear or something is misunderstood. So if you think your question is stupid, definitely ask it! I bet others have the same question too!