Syllabus

Course: General Linguistics, Ling 320, Spring 2000, 7:30-8:20 MWF

Instructor: Byron W. Bender, Moore 578, 956-8374, Email: bender@hawaii.edu Office hours: MWF 10:30–11:00 a.m., MWF 2:00–3:00 p.m., and by appt.

Text Materials: Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction (3d ed.), O’Grady, Dobrovolsky, and Aronoff , St. Martin’s Press, New York 1996, and The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language, Steve Pinker, New York, William Morrow & Co., 1994. Supplementary materials at web site: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~bender/ling320.html
The course is organized around Pinker's book, which emphasizes the biological/psychological side of language and deemphasizes its social/cultural side. We will go deeper into many of his language examples, using Contemporary Linguistics as a reference and a source for some interesting exercises.

Course grade: Grade will be based equally on five elements: (1–2) two mid-terms, (3–4) a final examination weighted twice as heavily as each midterm, and (5) daily work: the timely and satisfactory completion of the series of required exercises bulleted below. If all exercises attain a "satisfactory" rating, a score of 90% is averaged in with the examination percentages; this exercise score is diminished proportionally for any exercises not submitted by the close of the class period on the date due, or not completed satisfactorily. It may be increased by bonus points awarded for exercises exceptionally well done. Bonus points will be translated into percentage points (for an increase in the overall exercise percentage) by a curve drawn at the end of the semester. Exercises may be submitted electronically before the class period when due. No bonus points will be awarded after the due date.

Examinations: Concepts and terms will be stressed, along with exercises that replicate those in the required series, and questions that ask for short answers. Exams will focus on material of the unit, although the final will include a review of the entire course.

Linguistic Autobiography: Students are asked to send the instructor key information via email about their linguistic background and knowledge, plus their computer situation. A guide for composing this message can be found at My Linguistic Autobiography.

 

       M  W  F
jan   10 12 14
         19 21
      24 26 28
feb   31  2  4
       7  9 11
      14  
midterm mon feb 14

UNIT 1. "How Language Works," GRAMMAR: THE PRIMARY ARTICULATION OF LANGUAGE

Pinker chs. 1–5; O'Grady chs (14), 5, 4, (7) (9) (all exs, unless otherwise indicated, are in O'Grady)

o                                read Pinker chs 1–3, O'Grady ch 5, and do exs 5:1–2 [due 1/14]

o                                read Pinker ch 4 and do exs 5:3–4; 5:5–7 [due 1/19; 1/21] (use semicolons to interpret due dates)

o                                do exs 5:8–9; 5:10–11; 5:17–18 [due 1/24; 1/26; 1/28]

o                                do exs 5:19–20; 5:12–16; 7:10–11 [due 1/31; 2/2; 2/4]

o                                do exs 4:2, 4:18–19, 9:5; 4:12–14 [due 2/7; 2/9]

o                                do English affixes [due 2/11]

RESOURCES:

pidgin examples (from Bickerton report, for ref) [html]
pidgin examples (from Bickerton report, for ref) [pdf]

HCE summary (from Bickerton report, for ref) [html]
HCE summary (from Bickerton report, for ref) [pdf]

parametric variation, exs 5:12–16

Important terms from Unit 1; other study questions

exercises from ch. 5 (for students whose textbooks haven't arrived yet)

sign-up for English affixes assignment

1st midterm results

feb      16 18
         23 25  
mar   28  1  3
       6  8 10
      13 15 17
      20 22
      [spring break]
midterm wed mar 22
      

UNIT 2. "The Sounds of Silence," SOUNDS: THE SECONDARY ARTICULATION OF LANGUAGE

Pinker chs 6–7; O'Grady chs (2), 3, 10

o                                do networks of interlocking differences of sound [due 2/23]

o                                read "An intuitive system for transcribing the surface contrasts of American English"
read reading and transcribing
do "Phonemic transcriptions of English pronunciations [due 2/25]

o                                do exs 3:1–3; 3:4; 3:5 [due 2/28; 3/1; 3/3]

o                                do transcribing pronunciations of words [due 3/6]

o                                read O'Grady ch3,4 on syllables; do ex 3:12–14 [due 3/8]

o                                read O'Grady ch3, 5.1-2 on features, do exs 3:7–8 [due 3/10]

o                                do odd-sound-out [due 3/13]

o                                do american english dialects (one-page summary) [due 3/15]

o                                do English allophones [due 3/17]

o                                do exs 10:2, 5–7 [due 3/20]

RESOURCES:

Practice phonemicizing other languages

Exercise 13, Chapter 3

Important terms from Unit 2; other study questions

2nd midterm results and chart

mar         24
apr    3  5  7
      10 12 14
      17 19  
      24 26 28
may    1  3 

FINAL EXAM

  mon may  8
  7:30-9:30 a.m.

UNIT 3. "The Tower of Babel," AND OTHER MATTERS NOT SUBJECT TO INSTINCT

Pinker chs 8-13, O'Grady chs 8–9, (12), (11), (16)

o                                do exs 8:1–3; 8:4–8; 8:10–16 [due 4/3; 4/5; 4/7]

o                                do proto-polynesian and use for reference in the following two exercises

o                                do polynesian sound changes and mergers [due 4/10]

o                                do predicting cognates [due 4/12]

o                                do exs 9:1–4, 9:6–7 [due 4/14]

o                                do exs 12:1–6; 12:7–10; 12:11–16 [due 4/17; 4/19; 4/24]

o                                do exs 11:1–2, 11:4–5 [due 4/26]

o                                do exs 16:5–6 [due 4/28]

o                                read "The Language Mavens" and write a one-page reaction [due 5/1]

RESOURCES:

indo-european family tree (learn)

polynesian sound correspondence sets (for ref)

polynesian within austronesian (learn Polynesian and main branches above)

Important terms from Unit 3; other study questions

EXTRA CREDIT

BONUS POINTS ARE ALSO AWARDED FOR SATISFACTORY SOLUTIONS TO THE FOLLOWING EXERCISES:

o                                Swahili Problem Set

o                                Pronoun Systems

o                                Proto-Polynesian II