Linguis 3: Introduction to Linguistics

Table of Contents

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1 Course Information

Lecture times MWF 1-1:50pm
Lecture Location SSH 100
Canvas site
Section times M 12-1pm (SSPA 1165), M 6-6:50pm (HICF 100K), W 10-10:50am (SSPA 1165), W 11-11:50am (SSTR 100), Th 3:30-4:20pm (SSPA 1165), F 9-9:50am (HICF 100K). Sections begin meeting in the second week.

2 Instructor Information

Instructor Richard Futrell (
Instructor's office SSPB 2215
Instructor's office hours Mondays 4-5pm

3 TA Information

TA Alandi Bates ( Josef Kay (
TA's office SSPB 2211 SST 788
TA's office hours T 3:30-4:30pm F 10-11am

4 Course Description

Introduction to the scientific study of human language. We will cover two main topics: (1) the concepts and tools necessary to give a scientific description of a human language, and (2) the interface between language and psychology, sociology, and technology. Students will learn how to analyze the phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics of a language, and also the basics of psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and natural language processing.

5 Course Format

Class time will be spent on lectures and guided exercises. Discussion section time will be spent on guided exercises. Homework will consist of short problem sets. There will be three non-cumulative multiple-choice exams.

Slides will be made available online on Canvas after each lecture.

6 Intended audience

This course is intended for all undergraduates interested in language science, cognitive science, languages, communications, and related fields. There are no prerequisites.

Information on UCI's Language Science major and minor.

7 Readings

There is a required textbook for this class. The book will be available at the UCI bookstore:

  • (LF) Language Files: Materials for an Introduction to Language and Linguistics, 12th Edition. Department of Linguistics, the Ohio State University.

We will have readings and problem set problems drawn from this book. The book is also available online from various sources. You do not need the physical book: a pdf e-book is fine. You will need the 12th edition.

Readings should be completed before the class session indicated. Readings are given in terms of sections inclusively: so "1.1-1.3" means read sections 1.1 through 1.3 (including 1.3).

8 Syllabus (subject to modification)

Day Topic Reading Deadlines
1/7 Introduction LF 1.1  
1/9 Basics LF 1.2-1.4  
1/11 Phonetics I LF 2.1-2.2  
1/14 Phonetics II LF 2.3  
1/16 Phonetics III LF 2.4-2.5  
1/18 Phonology I LF 3.1-3.2 Problem set 1 due
1/21 Holiday (MLK Jr. Day)    
1/23 Phonology II LF 3.3, 3.5  
1/25 Phonology III    
1/28 Phonology IV LF 3.4 Problem set 2 due
1/30 Morphology I LF 4.1-4.2  
2/1 Midterm Exam 1    
2/4 Morphology II LF 4.5  
2/6 Morphology III LF 4.3  
2/8 Syntax I LF 5.1-5.2 Problem set 3 due
2/11 Syntax II LF 5.3-5.4  
2/13 Syntax III LF 5.5  
2/15 Syntax IV   Problem set 4 due
2/18 Holiday (President's day)    
2/20 Midterm Exam 2    
2/22 Semantics I LF 6.1-6.2  
2/25 Semantics II LF 6.3-6.4  
2/27 Pragmatics I LF 7.1-7.2  
3/1 Pragmatics II LF 7.3, 7.4 Problem set 5 due
3/4 Language and society I LF 10.1-10.3  
3/6 Language and society II LF 10.4-10.5  
3/8 Language and thought LF 11.2 Problem set 6 due
3/11 Language and thought II    
3/13 Writing systems LF 15.1-15.3  
3/15 Human Language Technologies LF 16.3-16.5 Problem set 7 due
3/20 Final Exam, 1:30-3:30pm    

9 Requirements & Grading

  • Grade breakdown

    Work Grade percentage
    Problem sets 35%
    Exams 60%
    Participation in discussion sections 5%

    All exams and problem sets are equally weighted.

  • Problem sets

    Each problem set is due at 11:59pm on the date indicated on the schedule. Problem sets are distributed online via Canvas. You should turn in your work by uploading a pdf document to Canvas.

    Problem sets can be turned in up to 7 days late; 10% of your score will be deducted for each 24 hours of lateness (rounded up). For example, if an assignment is worth 80 points, you turn it in 3 days late, and earn a 70 before lateness is taken into account, your score will be (1-0.3)*70=49.

    Your lowest problem set grade will be dropped.

  • Exams

    Exams are non-cumulative, open-book, open-note, and multiple-choice. You can use any physical or electronic book or notes, but you are not allowed to collaborate with other people during the exam or access the internet other than the Canvas website where the exam will be delivered.

  • Discussion sections

    Discussion sections meet weekly starting in the second week.

    Your grade for participation in discussion sections is determined by attendance. You can miss up to 1 discussion section without penalty.

    Some discussion sections take place on Mondays, so they will not be held on the holidays 1/21 and 2/18. You should attend another discussion section in those weeks. If you cannot attend any other discussion section in those weeks, e-mail the TAs for special accommodation.

  • Working together

    You may work together with classmates on problem sets, but everyone must turn in their own writeup.

    Collaboration on exams is not allowed and if you are caught attempting to collaborate on an exam you will automatically receive a score of 0 on that exam.

  • Mapping of class score to letter grade

    I guarantee minimum grades based on these thresholds:

    Threshold Guaranteed minimum grade
    >= 90% A
    >= 80% B
    >= 70% C
    >= 60% D
    < 60% F

    So for example a score of 90.0001% guarantees you an A-. It is unlikely that I will grade the course on a curve, but if I do, you could end up with a higher grade due to the curve.

10 Academic Integrity

We will be adhering fully to the standards and practices set out in UCI's policy on academic integrity. Any attempts of academic misconduct or plagiarism will be met with consequences as per the university regulations.

11 Disability

Any student requesting academic accommodations based on a disability is required to apply with Disability Service Center at UCI. For more information, please visit

Author: Richard Futrell

Created: 2019-03-19 Tue 08:42