LIGN 120 - Morphology

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

Andres Aguilar - TA

Amber Thompson - TA

Matt Zaslansky - TA

Course Website

Course Textbook

Haspelmath and Sims, Understanding Morphology, 2nd Edition. ISBN: 9780340950012. This is required, but it should be widely available, both as an inexpensive print copy, and electronically.


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 1 Intro
1 Apr 3 What are words and morphemes?
1 Apr 5 Group Analysis 1 Discussion 1 Ends
2 Apr 8 Phonology for Morphology Read Chapter 2
2 Apr 10 Morphological Analysis
2 Apr 12 Group Analysis 2 Discussion 2 Ends
3 Apr 15 Common Morphological Patterns
3 Apr 17 Group Analysis 3
3 Apr 19 Inflection and Derivation Discussion 3 Ends, Read Chapter 5
4 Apr 22 Inflectional Morphology on Nouns
4 Apr 24 Group Analysis 4
4 Apr 26 Case Marking Discussion 4 Ends
5 Apr 29 Group Analysis 5
5 May 1 Inflectional Morphology on Verbs
5 May 3 Group Analysis 6 HW1 Due
6 May 6 Derivational Morphology
6 May 8 Guest Lecture: Matt Zaslansky
6 May 10 Productivity HW2 Due, Read Chapter 6
7 May 13 Group Analysis 7: Ch’ol
7 May 15 Creativity Read Chapter 4
7 May 17 A Morpheme-based Lexicon Discussion 5 Ends, Read Bybee 1998
8 May 20 A Whole-Word Lexicon
8 May 22 Frequency and Morphology Read Chapter 12
8 May 24 Weirdly-shaped Words Read Chapter 9, HW3 Due
9 May 27 NO CLASS - Memorial Day
9 May 29 Group Analysis: Nahuatl
9 May 31 Group Analysis: Nahuatl
10 Jun 3 Guest Lecture: ASL Morphology Discussion 6 Ends
10 Jun 5 Morephology
10 Jun 7 Guest Lecture: Amber Thompson HW4 Due

Course Goal and Learning Outcomes

Course Goal

This course is designed to teach you the theory, mechanics, and problem-solving process of Morphology, the study of how words are built in human language. Successful students will leave the course with the basic terminology and concepts of morphology, the ability to examine language data to isolate morphemes and morphological patterns, and to understand some of the key theoretical issues in morphology.

How to succeed in this course

This course is based both in data and theory, and your success, both in terms of learning and in terms of grades, depends substantially on your engaging directly with the data provided, both in class and in homeworks. Successful students, then, will…

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:

Item % of Final Grade
Homeworks 55%
Graded Discussions 25%
Clicker Points 15%
Experiment Participation 5%

Your grade will be automatically calculated in Canvas.

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+. Up-to-date grade information will be provided automatically in TritonEd.

Homework assignments

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 morphological analysis. Due to the lower number of homeworks in this course, no assignments are dropped!

Graded Discussions

The very best way to learn Morphology is to work with actual morphological data. To this end, you’ll have a number of graded discussions in addition to your homework. 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.

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 6 missing class sessions. This means that you can still earn 100% for clicker participation if you miss six 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 portion of your grade to earn.

Experiment Participation

You must also participate in one SONA credit worth of Linguistics, Psychology or Cognitive Science experiments. Sign up here: Do not wait until the last week to participate, there may not be experiments available! The last week to fulfill this requirement is Week 9, so get on it! If you are opposed to experiment participation, you must request an alternative assignment from the instructor via email within two weeks of the start of class at the latest. Detailed Instructions are here

Extra Credit

For this class, you can earn half a percentage point (0.5%) added to your final grade by visiting office hours (with Will or with one of your TAs) at some point during the quarter. This can be to get a course content question answered or to discuss a homework, or simply to introduce yourself, discuss some element of your linguistic interests or scholarly future. To claim this extra credit, you must submit the canvas “Extra Credit” quiz within 24 hours of your visit.

Beyond that, no extra credit is available.

Course Policies


Regular class attendance is highly recommended. 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, particularly on group work days. 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.

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 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 all work 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. And of course, you will always need to disclose who you worked with. 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 Gabriella Caballero, Sharon Rose, and Farrell Ackerman 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