Language Science 3: Introduction to Linguistics

1 Course Information

Lecture times MWF 3-3:50pm
Lecture Location ALP 2300
Canvas site
Section times M 4-4:40pm (SSL 155), M 5-5:50pm (SSL 155), M 6-6:50pm (SSL 145), T 6:30-7:20pm (SSL 115), T 7:30-8:20pm (SSL 145), W 4-4:50pm (SSL 155), W 5-5:50pm (SSL 155), W 6-6:40pm (SSL 145)

2 Instructor Information

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

3 TA Information

TA Jason Chen Minkyu Kim Andrea Takahesu Tabori
TA's office SST 740 SBSG 2240 SSPB 2243
TA's office hours M 5-6pm T 5-6pm M 2-3pm

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 before each lecture or shortly after it.

Videos of each lecture will be posted on Canvas. To access these, go to the "YuJa 2.0" tab on the Canvas page.

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 an optional textbook:

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

In the syllabus, I give recommended readings. These are not mandatory, but if you do these readings, it will greatly enhance your understanding of the material.

Our problem set problems are drawn from this book. The book is also available online from various sources.

8 Syllabus (subject to modification)

Day Topic Recommended Reading Deadlines
F 9/27 Introduction LF 1.1  
M 9/30 Basics LF 1.2-1.4  
W 10/2 Phonetics I LF 2.1-2.2  
F 10/4 Phonetics II LF 2.3  
M 10/7 Phonetics III LF 2.4-2.5  
W 10/9 Phonology I LF 3.1-3.2 Problem set 1 due
F 10/11 Phonology II LF 3.3, 3.5  
M 10/14 Phonology III    
W 10/16 Phonology IV LF 3.4 Problem set 2 due
F 10/18 Midterm Exam 1    
M 10/21 Morphology I LF 4.1-4.2  
W 10/23 Morphology II LF 4.5  
F 10/25 Morphology III LF 4.3  
M 10/28 Syntax I LF 5.1-5.2 Problem set 3 due
W 10/30 Syntax II LF 5.3-5.4  
F 11/1 Syntax III LF 5.5  
M 11/4 Syntax IV    
W 11/6 Semantics I LF 6.1-6.2 Problem set 4 due
F 11/8 Midterm Exam 2    
M 11/11 No class (Veterans Day)    
W 11/13 Semantics II LF 6.3-6.4  
F 11/15 Pragmatics I LF 7.1-7.2  
M 11/18 Pragmatics II LF 7.3, 7.4  
W 11/20 Language and society I LF 10.1-10.3 Problem set 5 due
F 11/22 Language and society II LF 10.4-10.5  
M 11/25 Language and thought LF 11.2  
W 11/27 No class (Thanksgiving)   Problem set 6 due
F 11/29 No class (Thanksgiving)    
M 12/2 Bilingualism    
W 12/4 Writing systems LF 15.1-15.3  
F 12/6 Human Language Technologies LF 16.3-16.5 Problem set 7 due
M 12/9 Final Exam, 4-6pm    

9 Requirements & Grading

  • Grade breakdown

    Work Grade percentage
    Problem sets 45%
    Exams 50%
    Participation in discussion sections 5%

    All exams and problem sets are equally weighted.

  • Problem sets

    Each problem set is due at 5pm 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. The easiest way to do this will be to complete the problem set by hand on paper, then upload a scan of your work.

    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 10/2.

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

    We will not hold discussion sections on Veterans Day. If that is your section, then you should attend another discussion section that week. If you cannot attend any other discussion section in those weeks, e-mail the TAs for special accommodation.

    We will also not hold discussion sections on 11/27 and 11/29. You do not need to attend another section in that week.

  • Working together

    You are encouraged to work together with classmates to solve the problem sets, but everyone must turn in their own writeup—do not copy your writeup from someone else.

    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: 2019-11-04 Mon 14:24