Ling 001: Introduction to Linguistics
(as of January 14, 2015)
Stiteler Hall B6
florians. . . irwp. . .
Williams Hall 27
Williams Hall 27
Williams Hall 215
Williams Hall 201
Williams Hall 5
Williams Hall 201
einarsig. . . dwils. . . hcai . . . tsengwen . . .
Office hours: Will be posted on Canvas Calendar
LING001 is a general introduction to the scientific study of language structure, history, and use. Topics include the biological basis of human language, and analogous systems in other creatures; relations to cognition, communication, and social organization; sounds, forms and meanings in the world’s languages; the reconstruction of linguistic history and the family tree of languages; dialect variation; language learning by children and adults; the neurology of language and language disorders; the nature and history of writing systems. The course has no prerequisites, and satisfies the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Requirement (Sector
VII). Although accessible to a general audience, Ling 001 is also recommended as an introduction for students considering a major or minor in linguistics.
Logistics & Requirements
Resources We will read various chapters from Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct. I will make the first chapter available electronically, but you need to buy the book for the others (it’s currently available for just under $10 on Amazon). Lecture notes and further readings will be made available throughout the course. We will use Canvas to post class materials and grades.
Homework There will be frequent homework assignments, which are designed to make sure that you actively engage with the materials as you learn them. Linguistic analysis requires a good bit of continuous practice, so we want to make sure you get the opportunity of learning by doing. Therefore, the homework assignments make up a relatively large part of your grade (50%).
Late Work Late work will not be accepted. Homework has to be turned in by the beginning of class on the day it is due. If you have to miss a class when homework is due, it is your responsibility to ensure that your TA receives your homework by the deadline. You need to inform us ASAP about medical or personal emergencies that prevent you from turning in work on time and request a make-up assignment.
Exams The midterm and the final exam will test knowledge of basic facts and concepts covered in the class, and will include multiple choice and short answer questions.
1 of 2
Experiment Participation / Research Report One great way of learning about how scientific research on language is conducted is to be a participant in an experiment. You can sign up for up to 3 hours of experiment participation through the Psychology subject pool to gain extra credit (each hour of participation is worth 1 percentage point of your final grade). Experiments through the subject pool can be in any area of cognitive psychology, but we encourage you to look out for language or communication related studies so that you get an experience that you can relate directly to the course.
For details on signing up, see http://www.psych.upenn.edu/participate/subjectpool
Alternatively, you can gain extra credit by writing a one page summary of an experimental research paper on a linguistic topic (equivalent to 1 hour of experiment participation / 1 percentage point of your final grade).
To pursue this option, start by sending an article suggestion to the