LIGN 101 - Introduction to the Study of Language

Will Styler - Spring 2020

Do not print the syllabus! The information will change regularly, and it will be kept up to date here! All times are based in the Pacific timezone.

Course Information

Help Sessions

Help sessions are effectively office hours, but with as many students as would like to attend. We’ll be doing the work that would be done in section during Thursday’s class, so this is a time to clarify material and get more assistance!

Teaching Team

Dr. Will Styler - Instructor

Matt Carter - Graduate Instructional Assistant

Nina Hagen Kaldhol - Graduate Instructional Assistant

Eliza Kolmanovsky - Instructional Assistant

Andrew Provisor - Instructional Assistant

Course Resources

Course Materials

Course Textbook: For students who would like an accompanying textbook, I’ll recommend readings from An Introduction to Language by Fromkin, Rodman and Hyams, as it is the best and clearest introductory text available to the field right now.

Important Note: Given the textbook’s price, this book is optional, and all readings are recommended, but not required. I’ll be teaching from the 11th Edition (ISBN: 978-1337559577), as this is the version currently in press, and this is what the bookstore was able to order. However, no exercises from the book will be assigned. Given the book’s pricing, I highly encourage you to find the book used or in an electronic format, and the 9th and 10th US Editions are perfectly fine as written companions to the course material (ISBN: 978-1-4282-6392-5 (9th) and 9781133310686 (10th)). We will not be using the Cengage ‘Digital Platform’ or any of the add-ons, so please do not buy digital content ‘bundles’ or any such other upsells.

I’m also working with the library to put a few copies on reserve, so you should be able to access it there as well, provided you’re not waiting until the last minute.

Course Schedule

Although all due-dates are fixed (barring extensive notice), given everything, expect things to change some. Please check this page regularly. Click an individual class topic to see that day’s slides (broken links indicate that slides are not yet posted).

For each week, you’ll watch the designated podcasts from the ‘Media Gallery’ on Canvas (or, if that’s down, from the YouTube playlist posted in Canvas) before Thursday’s session. During Thursday’s session, you’ll ask questions, and break out into smaller groups with your instructors and IAs to do analysis. All assignments are due on Sundays following the class session at 11:59pm.

Week Podcasts Class Session Due Sunday 11:59pm
1 Course Introduction, Intro to Linguistics Introduction to LIGN 101 Discussion 1: Introduction
2 What is Language? - What is a language? Linguistic Data Analysis Discussion 2: Grammaticality
3 Phonetics I - Phonetics II Working with the IPA Discussion 3: Phonetic Transcription
4 Phonology I - Phonology II Doing Phonological Analysis HW1: Phonetics
5 Morphology - Morphological Typology (Guest Lecture) Phonology (Continued) HW2: Phonology
6 Go Home English, you’re Drunk Mid-Quarter Catchup, and Morphology Discussion 4: Morphology
7 Syntax I - Syntax II Syntactic Analysis Discussion 5: Syntax
8 Syntax III - Semantics I Syntactic Analysis 2 HW3: Syntax
9 Semantics II - Pragmatics Semantics and Pragmatics HW4: Semantics and Pragmatics DUE
10 Language Families - Translation and Summary TBD, and Course Ending Discussion 6: Review Study Guide Link
Finals No Lectures No Class Session HW5: Take home Exam due June 9th, 2:30pm

Student Resources for Support, Learning, and Interaction

Please see my complete listing of student resources for information on student support (e.g. counseling, crisis centers, resource centers), resources for learning (libraries, writing help, and more), resources for engaging with faculty (e.g. Coffee with a Prof, Letters of recommendation), and technical resources.

Course Description and Learning Outcomes

Course Description

Language is what makes us human, but how does it work? This course focuses on speech sounds and sound patterns, how words are formed, organized into sentences, and understood, how language changes, and how it is learned.

How to succeed in this course

This course is pretty straightforward, but remember that you need to be proactive in your learning. Successful students…

Finally, remember that this course is a collaborative process, and we all share a goal. You want to learn the material and earn a good grade, and we want you to learn the material and earn a good grade. If you put in the effort, attend the class, and complete the assignments, we hope that earning a great grade will be easy for you, and know that if you’re working hard and still struggling, the instructional team is here to be a resource for you in office hours and on Canvas.

Assessing Learning

Your final grade is based on the below formula, and will be automatically calculated in Canvas:

Item % of Final Grade
Homework Assignments 50%
Weekly Quizzes 20%
Class Participation 15%
Graded Canvas Discussions 15%

The grading scale used for this course is the UCSD standard scale, where A+ is 97% or more, A is 96.99% to 93%, A- is 92.99 to 90%, B+ is 89.99 to 87%, and so forth. Plus and Minus grades are not assigned below “C”, and no grade changes will be considered from A to A+.


There are five homework assignments which will be assigned this quarter. Homeworks will be submitted through Gradescope, and you’ll turn them before Midnight on the designated day(s). These will be designed to test your understanding of the concepts and materials given you, and to go beyond just reciting facts.

Weekly Quizzes

Each week, you’ll have a quiz due before the Zoom meeting which will cover the material discussed in lecture. This will give you a chance to check your learning, and also give you the motivation to ensure that you’ve gotten through everything before class.

We will drop the lowest weekly quiz score, so there will be no late submissions or make-up quizzes without proof of good cause.

Graded Canvas Discussion Posts

The very best way to learn about language is to work with actual linguistic concepts. To this end, you’ll have a number of graded discussions in addition to your homeworks. To complete these, you’ll need to do two things:

For information on how this portion of the class will be graded, see our discussion post rubric. This gives you an opportunity to collaborate in a more direct way with these problems, and gives us a way to see your familiarity with the data in closer-to-real-time.

We will automatically drop your lowest discussion grade, no late or make-up discussions will be allowed.

Class Participation

This class features mandatory class sessions. The purpose of these sessions is to work with and reinforce concepts and processes described in the podcasts in LIGN 101. As such, the key to success is active participation. As such, you will be awarded a single point of participation grade each day you are present and participating in section. You can miss one day of class without it affecting your grade, but after that, each day of missed participation will start to injure your participation grade. To make sure you’re given full points, you would be wise to…

If you are sick, you may complete the exercise from section on your own, in writing, within one week of the session’s completion, and submit that to your TA by email for full section credit.

Extra Credit

There are two ways to get extra credit for this class:

Course Policies

Class Session Recording

During this quarter, synchronous class sessions will be recorded for asynchronous use by other students. By entering these Zoom sessions, you’re consenting to this recording.

Spring 2020 Strangeness

Typically, all courses taken for credit toward our majors and minors in Linguistics must be taken for a letter grade with the exception of LIGN 199. In compliance with this campuswide announcement, the Linguistics Department is amending that policy for Spring 2020 courses: all Spring 2020 courses can be taken for P/NP or S/U and still count toward our majors and minors. Students will be able to change their grading option for a course through the end of Week 10. Please note that courses taken for P/NP in Spring 2020 will not count towards the 25% cap on courses taken for P/NP for the Bachelor’s degree, and that courses taken for P/NP are not included in calculations of GPA. In addition, the deadline to add a course is extended to the end of Week 3, and the deadline to drop, without a W, is extended to the end of Week 5. The deadline for undergraduate students to drop a course, with a W, is extended to the end of Week 7. Undergraduate students may petition to drop a class or withdraw from the University after the end of Week 7 and by the end of Week 10 for emergency reasons. These petitions are decided by the college provost.

Asking Questions and Office Hours

You are highly encouraged to join office hours to ask content questions, ask for clarifications about assignments, to ask for more information on a subject that interests you, or to get help on homeworks. Helping you learn this material is quite literally our job, so having students in office hours is no inconvenience.

Do not email us course content or homework questions! If you have a question about course material, post it on Canvas, such that everybody can benefit from the answers (because chances are, they’re struggling in the same places). Adminstrative questions (or questions you’d like to discuss in private) should still be sent to the instructor via email.

Re-grading policy

If you feel that a grade has been assigned in error you should submit a regrade request via Gradescope, or in an e-mail to the Instructor ( ccing your TAs.

This means that you’ll want to look over every assignment as soon as it’s given back, so that any possible errors can be addressed, and so that you’ll learn from any mistakes.

Academic Integrity

Although you’re welcome to form study groups to discuss questions and help each other out with understanding the material, you should be the only person working on your copy of your assignment, and every answer should reflect your own learning and work. Please, don’t be a cheater, for your sake and ours, and refer to the UCSD policy below for more information.

Respectful Discussion Policy

Examining language and languages inevitably leads to discussions of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, politics, nationality, etc. Opinions are welcome, but all students must be mindful and respectful of others in the class. Speak with others using respectful and kind language, just as you’d like them to do with you, and focus your discussion on the ideas, rather than individuals. Finally, remember that as we discuss and evaluate our conversations, the focus will be on the impact on an individual or group, not the intention or motivation of the actor.

Special accommodations Policy

All requests for special accomodations must be brought to the instructor in the first two weeks of class, ideally sooner. This includes things like religious holidays, university-sponsored events, athletic schedules, conflicts with exam dates, and disability services notes. Because running a big course is quite complex, if I don’t find out about it in the first two weeks, I may not be able to help.

Other Course Policies


Thank you very much to Ivano Caponigro and Jelena Krivokapic, for the materials upon which some elements of this class are based. We also respectfully acknowledge that we live, learn, and work on the land of the Kumeyaay/Kumiai nation. Whose land are you on?

UCSD Academic Policies


Students requesting accommodations for this course due to a disability must provide a current Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter issued by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) which is located in University Center 202 behind Center Hall. Students are required to present their AFA letters to Faculty (please make arrangements to contact me privately) and to the OSD Liaison in the department in advance so that accommodations may be arranged.

Contact the OSD for further information - | 858.534.4382

Academic Integrity

Each student in this course is expected to abide by the UC San Diego Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and to excel with integrity. Any work submitted by a student in this course for academic credit will be the student’s own work.

Academic dishonesty (actions like cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, blackmail, bribery, and threatening behavior) will generally result in poor recall and learning of the material, and aren’t acceptable at UCSD. In cases of academic dishonesty, possible in-class academic sanctions can include anything from a zero on the assignment/test/project in question, to a blanket lowering of your final grade by X%, to an assigned and non-negotiable grade of “F” in the course. These sanctions are assigned at the sole discretion of the instructor, and as every case is unique, additional sanctions not listed above may apply. But again, remember that doing the assignments honestly is a part of the learning process, and failure to do so will hurt you more than anybody else.

Classroom Behavior Policy

UCSD Student Conduct Code

UCSD Principles of Community

Religious Accomodation

It is the policy of the university to make reasonable efforts to accommodate students having bona fide religious conflicts with scheduled examinations by providing alternative times or methods to take such examinations. If a student anticipates that a scheduled examination will occur at a time at which his or her religious beliefs prohibit participation in the examination, the student must submit to the instructor a statement describing the nature of the religious conflict and specifying the days and times of conflict.

For final examinations, the statement must be submitted no later than the end of the second week of instruction of the quarter. For all other examinations, the statement must be submitted to the instructor as soon as possible after a particular examination date is scheduled.

If a conflict with the student’s religious beliefs does exist, the instructor will attempt to provide an alternative, equitable examination that does not create undue hardship for the instructor or for the other students in the class.

Discrimination and Harrassment

The University of California, in accordance with applicable federal and state laws and university policies, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy (including pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth), physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services (including membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services). The university also prohibits harassment based on these protected categories, including sexual harassment, as well as sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. The nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in university programs and activities.

If students have questions about student-related nondiscrimination policies or concerns about possible discrimination or harassment, they should contact the Office for the Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination (OPHD) at (858) 534- 8298,, or

Campus policies provide for a prompt and effective response to student complaints. This response may include alternative resolution procedures or formal investigation. Students will be informed about complaint resolution options.

A student who chooses not to report may still contact CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center for more information, emotional support, individual and group counseling, and/or assistance with obtaining a medical exam. For off-campus support services, a student may contact the Center for Community Solutions. Other confidential resources on campus include Counseling and Psychological Services, Office of the Ombuds, and Student Health Services.

CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center - 858.534.5793 or Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) - 858.534.3755