ENG 478/678 Introduction to Linguistics
Winter 2004              2:15-3:55 TTh          401 Millett Hall

Course Description:  Linguistics is the science of language.  In a survey of features of many languages, including English, we will study topics like phonology, morphology, history, and grammar.  We will discuss some properties languages have in common and some ways they differ.  The course will also cover various subfields in linguistics and will introduce a large number of special terms and concepts.  Experience in the study of a foreign language is very helpful but not required.

Course Objectives:  This course will help you understand the nature, structure, and use of language.  You will look at how language works.  You will be equipped with basic tools for the analysis of language structure and will be prepared for future studies in language theory and for the use of basic linguistic concepts.

Course Requirements (478):  

Four Quizzes 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 30%
Language Discussion Group  10%

Course Requirements (678):  

Four Quizzes 30%
Midterm Exam 20%
Final Exam 30%
Language Discussion Group  10%
Graduate Report 10% (see instructor)

Text: Stewart and Vaillette, eds. Language Files, 8th ed. Columbus: Ohio State U P, 2001. Please bring this book to class every day

Tentative Course Outline
(Note:  These are the primary units; the order may change, however,
and some units may be broken up and discussed over time)

Unit  Topic 


INTRODUCTION  Section 1-2, Files 1.1-2.3    Course information.  
Introduction to basic concepts in linguistics
II PHONETICS  Section 3, Files 3.1-3.7  The Phonetic Alphabet
Place and Manner of Articulation

Section 4, File 4.1  Phonetic Descriptions
Natural Classes, Distinctive Sounds
Section 4, Files 4.2-4.6 Phonemes and Allophones, Rules
Phonology Problems

IV  MORPHOLOGY  Section 5, Files 5.1-5.6  Morphemes and Allomorphs
Word formation rules and processes
Morphemic Analysis
SYNTAX AND GRAMMAR Section 6 Files 6.1-6.3   Constituency and Structure
English Sentence Structure 
Section 6, Files 6.4-6.7   Phrase Structure Rules  
VI SEMANTICS AND PRAGMATICS Section 7, Files 7.1-7.5  Theories of Semantics
Semantic Relations
Speech Acts and Sentence types
Section 8, Files 8.1-8.3  Rules of Conversation
VII  PSYCHOLINGUISTICS  Section 9, Files 9.1-9.2    Language and the Brain
Language Acquisition
Section 9, Files 9.3-9.5    Developmental Milestones 
How language is processed
VIII LANGUAGE CONTACT & VARIATION Section 10, Files 10.1-10.5    Pidgins and Creoles
How languages develop;   Regional and social dialects
Section 11, Files 11.1-11.3   Language and Ethnicity
Features of African-American English


Section 12, Files 12.1-12.3     Phonetic Change
Section 12, File 12.10-12   Milestones in the History of English 

FINAL EXAMINATION: Thursday, March 18, 3:15-5:15 p.m. in 401 Millett

Quizzes, Exams (and Graduate Report)                                                                              90%

Four quizzes will be given—they will come approximately every other week.  Your best three quizzes will count.  The quizzes, midterm and final will combine “objective” questions with some short discussions, short essays, problem solving, etc.  You will have at least a one-week warning before any quiz or exam. 

Graduate students in ENG 678 will answer extra questions on exams, and will do a graduate report on an agreed-on topic.  (The reports will be given on the last class day, Thursday, March 11.)

Online discussion group <eng47801@wright.edu>                                                          10%

I have created an electronic discussion group for this class. To use it, you must have an email address (not necessarily a WSU email address) and must be able to send and receive email.  The discussion group is set up with your WSU email address as a "default."  All messages sent to the distribution list will go to all members of the class.  

If you would prefer to use another email address instead of (or along with) your WSU address, you must give that address to me.  I can add any new address to the list.  If you want to use your WSU email account but need assistance or instructions on how to access it, please see the CATS help desk in the library basement (775-4827).  I strongly encourage you to begin using your Wright State email account!

Use the discussion group to converse with your classmates about the current topic, the readings, and class discussion, to respond to my questions, to raise your own questions, to clarify points we can't always get to in class, etc.  I also encourage you to find an interesting example of language use (newspapers and popular culture are full of interesting examples!), describe it, and frame your own discussion around it.

In order to receive a grade of C for discussion group participation you will need to make FOUR substantive postings. A grade of B requires SIX substantive postings, while a grade of A requires EIGHT substantive postings.  A "substantive posting" will raise a new issue for discussion and comment in depth on it, or it will respond in depth to an ongoing discussion.  It will be at least a paragraph in length (usually four or more complete sentences), and it must address the general subject of language, approached from a linguistic perspective.  Although I will not “grade” your writing in these entries, I expect substantive postings to meet the normal standards of grammaticality, clarity, coherence, and mechanical accuracy that one expects from college-level writing.  Postings that do not conform to those standards will not be counted as substantive.

Do not put your participation off until the end of the quarter.  I will count no more than two entries in each of the final three weeks of the course, so if you want an A for the discussion group section of the course, you will need to post at least two substantive messages during weeks one through seven.  Start early and post often!

Instructor: Henry Limouze <henry.limouze@wright.edu>

Links for students of linguistics 

The Language Files Home Page (http://ling.ohio-state.edu/files/files.html)

Phonemic charts of English Vowels and English Consonants 


Basic Phonemic Transcription 
Intermediate Phonemic Transcription 
Problems in Phonemic Transcription (Stress, Syllabic Consonants) 

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