Dr. Stan Whitley, 531 East Hall, Wake Forest University
(336) 758-5362; email <email@example.com>, office hours: ___________
1. to survey the many forms of language and explore the
basis for its underlying unity.
2. to learn how to describe usage, pinpoint differences, and discover patterns and rules in data.
3. to apply the concepts of modern linguistics to social, cultural, and educational issues involving language.
None in particular. A knowledge of other languages is always helpful for for sharing observations and comparing different languages, but no particular languages other than English are presupposed.
1. O'Grady et al.: Contemporary Linguistics: an Introduction,
3rd ed. (St. Martin's).
2. Lin. 150 Supplement. (purchased from me, costs for photocopying and binding): contains additional readings, class notes and examples, exercises, and reference materials.
Always bring both books with you for reference and classwork.
The material is organized into three parts, each followed by an exam. The following course plan shows what to cover before each class session as preparation for what we'll be doing. (Dates have been removed in this version and replaced by session number. Actual class plan for a semester may vary somewhat.)
Part I: the nature of language; its sounds, words,
and other building blocks.
1. introduction to the course: linguistics as the science of language
2. Ch. 1: preview: language as a special kind of knowledge
3. Ch. 2 (§1-5), phonetics: the articulation of sound; consonants
4. Ch. 2 (§6-7), phonetics: vowels and glides
5. Ch. 2 (§8-9), phonetics: stress, pitch, and phonetic processes
6. Ch. 2 (§10), phonetics: other vowels and consonants; more on coarticulation
7. Ch. 3 (§1-3), phonology: phonemes, allophones, and phonological analysis
8. Ch. 3 (§4-5), phonology: syllable structure and phonotactics; features.
9. Ch. 3 (§6), phonology: processes and rules of pronunciation
10. Ch. 3 (§ 7), phonology: review of theory; autosegmental representations
11. Ch. 4 (§1-4), morphology: morphemes and word formation
12. Ch. 4 (§5-6), morphology: inflection – learning those endings.
13. Ch. 4 (§7). morphophonemics; review; introduction to syntax
Part II: sentence structure and meaning, and language
14. Ch. 5 (§1-2): word categories and rules for sentences
15. First Exam (on Part I of the course)
16. Ch. 5 (§3), syntax: deep and surface structure; transformations
17. Ch. 5 (§4-5) syntax: more on transformations; parameters for variation in syntax
18. Ch. 5 (§6), syntax: other constructions, other kinds of analysis
19. Ch. 6 (§1-2), semantics: word meaning
20 Ch. 6 (§3-4), semantics: sentence meaning; pragmatics: meaning in context
21. Supplement reading: conclusion of pragmatics; linguistic fieldwork.
22. Ch. 9 Amerindian (indigenous American) languages
23. discussion: language, culture, and thought.
24. Ch. 7 (§1-3), language change: sounds and morphology; how change spreads.
25. Ch. 7 (§4-6), language change: syntax and vocabulary
26. Ch. 7 (§7-8), language change: how we reconstruct prehistoric languages
27. Ch. 8. language classification, and a whirlwind world tour of language families.
Part III: different kinds of "language" — how they're
used and learned.
28. Supplement reading: language without sound: paralanguage and deaf language
29. Second Exam (on Part II of the course)
30. Ch. 10 (§1-4): acquisition of language: phonology, vocabulary, morphology
31. Ch. 10 (§5-6): acquisition of language: syntax; debates on how children learn language
32. Ch. 11: second language acquisition: how well do adults learn a second language?
33. Ch. 12: psycholinguistics: how we process language.
34. Ch. 13: neurolinguistics: language in the brain.
35. sociolinguistics: language and situation; factors in variation (style, sex...)
36. Ch. 14 (§2), sociolinguistics: regional variation and dialects.
37. Ch. 14 (§2.4, 2-2.1), sociolinguistics: language standards, language attitudes, language conflict
38. Ch. 15: writing and its history.
39. Ch. 16 (§1-5): animal communication
40. Ch. 16 (§6-7): animal experimentation; discussion & evaluation
41. special topic: language origin, and what language shows about us as a species.
42. course wrap-up
exam period: Third Exam (focusing on Part III of the course)
1. lab practice
A recording has been prepared for Phonetics/Phonology (Ch.2-3), with an accompanying tapescript (in the back of your Supplement). Listening practice is strongly urged since self-study of phonetics is otherwise impossible. You may now access the recordings from our language resource center web page, lrc (available only on campus).
2. homework and classwork
A vital part of the daily work for this course is thorough preparation of the assigned reading and review of recent material. During class, the instructor does not introduce the material before you read about it or rehash what you've already read, but builds on it, helps you apply it, and presupposes it in discussion. In addition, there will be several exercises, some to prepare for class discussion and others for turning in; these will help you develop analytical skills tested on the exams.
3. outside reading
Linguistics is a huge field, and just a 1-year bibliography could fill a book (and does: the annual Modern Language Association Bibliography of Linguistics). The professor and textbook writers will mention some appropriate references you might want to follow up on if the topic interests you. The library's holdings of linguistics books and journals is small but growing fast, and eventually you will need to go browsing when the Muse of Term-Paper Inspiration strikes you.
4. fellow students
Talking about what you're learning is a great way to learn it as you explain and defend your views with other students. It can be fun, too. So can they. Also, please note the "For the Student Linguist" sections at the end of some chapters for the insights of previous students of the material.
5. your prof
Your professor loves talking about language and linguistics. Whether you need help with something or have an interesting idea you'd like to discuss, feel free to drop into my office to chat — except right before class time, when I’m busy getting materials ready.
There are 3 exams as scheduled on the syllabus. In the class session preceding each exam, you will receive a study guide outlining the test and giving sample questions. If you must miss one of these exams, a makeup is available if and only if (1) you directly notify, and present a valid excuse to, your instructor before exam time, and (2) make up the missed exam as soon as you can return to class. Otherwise, a missed exam results in a grade of zero. Note that a grade of "I" (incomplete) is available only under the terms outlined by the WFU Catalog.
Each class starts with a brief daily evaluation, a quiz of about 3-4 questions to monitor daily progress and help prepare you for exams. It covers recent material (for review) and new material assigned for the day. There are no make-ups for daily evaluations missed through tardiness or absence (excused or unexcused), because the purpose is to gauge your understanding at that point of basic notions to be expanded on in class. At the end of the course, your quiz-point total is converted to an overall grade relative to the class norm.
60% the 3 exams (20% each)
20% quizzes (10%) and exercises and homework (10%)
20% term paper
Scale: 90-100=A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D, <60=F.
The midterm grade is advisory only, and is based on your major work up to that point.
To apply the general material of this course to a particular area of your own interest, you will write a term paper of about 7-10 pp. (typed or word-processed, double-spaced, standard margins), due on the day of the final exam. Don't rush to start it now; linguistics is likely to be a new subject for most students, and the course will survey a number of interesting issues and topics that will probably inspire you later. The paper should be one of the following two types (although other proposals are possible too):
1. A contrastive analysis of English and some other language. A contrastive analysis describes a comparable subsystem of two languages and, using data, points out and analyzes similarities and differences, often with projections or explanations of the problems that students of one might have in learning the other.
Examples of areas for contrastive analysis:
•the vowel or consonant systems of the two languages;
•their stress and/or pitch (intonation) systems;
•the inflectional system of their verbs (or nouns, or...)
•a set of related structures in their syntax, e.g. question formation or sentence structure;
•a portion ("semantic field") of their vocabulary systems and differences of meaning.
This kind of project often attracts language students and future language teachers, and it requires access to data from the language(s) — from an informant, books or articles, or your own knowledge of the two.
2. A study of an idea or issue. After researching (articles, books) a subject or question concerning language, you summarize what you have learned in a kind of critical review. The textbook lists promising works at the end of each chapter ("For Recommended Reading"), and the bibliography in any such book or article leads to other relevant readings. A great deal has been written on language in books and journals, and the virtually exhaustive master source is the linguistics volumes of the yearly MLA Bibliography (now on CD-ROM). The WFU library has some works on linguistics, but unfortunately there are many gaps in its holdings. Examples of topics:
•a question/issue in language and society (or culture, or education, or computer technology.)
•the history of a certain idea — different viewpoints, controversies, growth of consensus
•a kind of biography of an important figure in language and issues involving language.
It's up to you to define a project that reflects your interests. The instructor doesn't assign a topic, but can help you limit your subject so it'ss manageable. You are expected to apply what we've learned in the course, build on it, and go beyond the general treatment given it in class or the textbook. At this introductory level, the instructor does not expect an original discovery on a professional scale (although that would be wonderful), but will determine how you deal with what interests you in language at this level, using the tools covered in this course.
Note: it will be useful for you to install a phonetics font for word-processing assignments and your paper in this course. Bring me a formatted diskette and I'll make you a copy of an IPA font (and keyboard chart for it), or access the SIL (just click there) webpage yourself to download one.
1. Don't hesitate to bring your questions, problems, and ideas to me. One-on-one talks give us a chance to discuss points of personal interest for which there wasn't enough time in class.
2. "Practice makes perfect," "use it or lose it" : the more you practice material and put it to work, the better you learn it. Note the reference materials available: the glossary (terms and definitions) in the back of the book, its charts and tables as well as those in the Supplement.
3. Academic dishonesty is handled according to the policies in the WFU catalog and student handbook. Note that any work submitted in this course for a grade (including turn-in homework) must be your own individual effort unless you are told to work in teams or pairs.
4. We all have our bad days. When obligations pile up, some sstudents wonder whether to come since it they may be late, blow the quiz, and betray their image as Model Wake Student. But come anyway. In a survey course like this one, each session represents a whole subject area. If you miss class, you do not miss a lectured recapitulation of the book, but sounds that are modeled and practiced, techniques that are demonstrated, audiovisual examples of important concepts, discussions of issues, etc. — none of which may appear in a friend's notes. Coming late or unprepared is always better than missing out entirely on what we do in class.
For more information
The WF minor in linguistics is a valuable support for majors in English and foreign languages, anthropology and other social sciences, and similar areas. The interdisciplinary faculty committee on linguistics hopes to offer more courses on specific areas depending on student interest and availability of personnel. See me for more information on courses, the minor, and further study and career options in language and linguistics. Check out also the linguistics websites I've linked to my webpage, http://www.wfu.edu/~whitley.
One more thing
On any work turned in (homework or project) with more than one page, please STAPLE pages together instead of using a clip or folding corners back:
RETURN TO LINGUISTICS PAGE
RETURN TO WHITLEY WEBPAGE