LIGN 101 - Introduction to the Study of Language

Will Styler - Spring 2019

Do not print the syllabus! The information will change regularly, and it will be kept up to date here!

Course Information

Teaching Team

Dr. Will Styler - Instructor

Kati Hout - TA

Victoria McAllister - IA

Vincent Dang - IA

Course Website

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.


You will also need an iClicker, as we’re using them to reinforce learning, make the class more interactive, and increase participation. You can re-use your clicker from prior quarters, buy one from the bookstore, borrow a friend’s clicker (provided they’re not in this class too), or buy any iClicker model used online. Because clickers are used here for participation, you are not required to click in in every class to get full credit, and all answers, correct and incorrect, count equally.


This course will be using an online learning management system (LMS) to manage content and/or grades. Currently, there are two LMSs, TritonEd and Canvas. This particular course will be managed using Canvas, our newest LMS, while some of your other courses may appear in TritonEd. The Course Finder page ( will display all of your TritonEd and Canvas courses. Therefore, it is recommended that you use the Course Finder page to access your classes. Select the login button and enter your Active Directory credentials to see your courses.

If you have not used Canvas before, refer to the student help guides and videos, which are located on the left-side menu’s help section (the question mark icon). Should you need any technical assistance with Canvas, please alert your instructor and send an email to In the header of the email, please write “Canvas”. Make sure to include your name, course title and section, as well as your contact information in the email body. A representative will get back to you within 2 business days. Thank you for helping UC San Diego start our journey as we migrate from TritonEd to Canvas!

Even if you’ve registered your iClicker before, you’ll need to re-register it in Canvas this quarter!

Course Schedule

Although all due-dates are fixed (barring extensive notice), the exact topic schedule is tentative and will be updated throughout the course. 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).

Week Day Topic Due Dates
1 Apr 2 Intro
1 Apr 4 What is Language? Fromkin: ‘What is Language’, Discussion 1: Introduction Closes
2 Apr 9 What is a language?
2 Apr 11 Phonetics I Fromkin: ‘Phonetics’, Discussion 2: Grammaticality Closes!
3 Apr 16 Phonetics II
3 Apr 18 Phonology I Fromkin: ‘Phonology’, HW1: Phonetics DUE!
4 Apr 23 Phonology II
4 Apr 25 Morphology Fromkin: ‘Morphology’, HW2: Phonology DUE
5 Apr 30 Midterm Prep Midterm Study Guide, Discussion 3: Write the Midterm Closes
5 May 2 Midterm Exam
6 May 7 Syntax I Fromkin: ‘Syntax’
6 May 9 Syntax II Discussion 4: Morphology Closes
7 May 14 Syntax III Padlet Link
7 May 16 Semantics I Discussion 5: Syntax Closes
8 May 21 Semantics II
8 May 23 Pragmatics I HW3: Syntax DUE!
9 May 28 Eva Wittenberg - Psycholinguistics
9 May 30 Eva Wittenberg - Psychopragmatics
10 Jun 4 Kati Hout - Sociolinguistics HW4: Semantics and Pragmatics DUE!
10 Jun 6 Outro Discussion 6: Write the Final Closes
FINAL Tues, Jun 11, 3-6pm Final Exam Final Exam

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 30%
Final Exam 25%
Midterm Exam 20%
Discussion Posts 15%
iClicker Participation 10%

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 four homework assignments which will be assigned this quarter. Homeworks will be made available as ‘Quizzes’ on Canvas at least two weeks before they are due, 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.

Graded Discussions

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.

Midterm and Final Exams

The midterm and final exams are meant to assess your learning of the concepts and facts presented in the class. They are both in-class exams, and will count for a large proportion of your final grade. Both exams will be cumulative, covering all material discussed to that point.

If serious (and documentable) reasons will prevent you from taking either exam on the scheduled date, you must contact the instructor within two weeks of the start of class to request an exception.

iClicker Participation

Clickers will be used in this course to make class more interactive, to gauge your understanding, and to help reinforce key concepts. Each lecture will contain some clicker questions, answerable with an iClicker remote. As this is meant for participation (rather than evaluation), in this class, every answer you give, right or wrong, will contribute equally to your participation grade.

More importantly, as clicking is meant to be participation focused (rather than ‘taking attendance’), we will drop up to four missing class sessions. This means that you can still earn 100% for clicker participation if you miss four class sessions.

So, if you forget your clicker or miss class, don’t worry about it, and no make-up clicking is available. This should be a very easy 10% of your grade to earn.

Extra Credit

There is are two ways to get extra credit in this class.

Course Policies


Regular lecture attendance is highly recommended, but not required. In some places, the lecture will be your sole source for information that will be on the exams, so it’s in your best interest to attend whenever possible, and to review the Podcast if you miss a session. Also remember that clicker participation scores do contribute to your final grade, so although you can skip some of the clicker questions, you’ll start losing clicker points if you’re missing a sizable number of lectures.

Laptops and Electronics

For all class periods (except where otherwise specified), you’re welcome to use a laptop, tablet, or smartphone to take notes, or look at the slides. Please refrain from Instagramming, Snapchatting (👻), or Tumbling during class, though, as it’s distracting to the people sitting around you, and it’s pretty disrespectful generally, and can lead to a swift reduction in your participation grades. And remember, you’re way worse at multitasking than you think you are.

To reduce temptation and keep the playing field level, during exams, no electronic devices, including digital translators, dictionaries, fitness trackers, and digital or smart watches are permitted. You can have them in your backpack or purse, but if we see them (at all) during the test, you will receive a zero on the exam.

Asking Questions and Office Hours

You are highly encouraged to come in to 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

I encourage you to consult with me if you have questions about the grading of a homework assignment or exam, or if you feel a grade was assigned in error. To make things easier for everybody, you’ll need to follow the below steps:

  1. Requests must be made in an e-mail to the Instructor ( ccing your TAs. All grade changes are discussed with the entire course team to assure consistency in grading.
  2. Your email must present evidence that there has been an error in grading. You could include a picture of the returned graded assignment if it was entered correctly, references to the relevant page in the textbook, or to a specific slide from lectures as supporting evidence, for instance. But we need that information to evaluate your request.
  3. You must submit your request within seven days of that particular assignment being returned/released. All grades more than seven days old are final, erroneous or not.

This means that you’ll want to look over every assignment and exam after it’s given back, so that any possible errors can be addressed, and so that you’ll learn from your mistake. This also means that at the end of the quarter, there won’t be a flurry of last minute grade-change requests.

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.

Student Resources for Support and Learning

Learning Resources

Community Centers

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