Fall 2014 Syllabus LING 1150 Professor Janet Randall [email protected] 617.510.9550 1 425 Lake Hall office hours MW 12-1:15 & by appointment Ling 1150 Introduction to Linguistics 7 10:30-11:35 mwr 145 Ryder 10 1:35-2:40 mwr 460 Ryder What makes human language unique? What does a speaker of a language know (sometimes unconsciously) about that language? How can languages vary? How do children learn a language? Why do speakers from different PLACES or genders or ethnicities sound different? Part I The main areas of formal linguistics will give us tools for understanding language ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ phonetics & phonology (the sounds & sound patterns of language) morphology (the internal structure of words) syntax (the structure of sentences) semantics (meaning) Part II These new tools allow an informed look at how language works in applied contexts ▪ ▪ ▪ Indigenous languages Sociolinguistic variation: region, class, ethnicity, gender Standards & attitudes: ideas about “correctness” Along the way ▪ We’ll address some common myths and misconceptions about language Required Textbooks O'Grady, W. et al. (2010) Contemporary Linguistics: an Introduction 6th ed. Bedford St. Martin's Pinker, Steven (1994) The Language Instinct. Harper Collins. Textbook Website: www.bedfordstmartins.com/linguistics Contains tools, features, in-depth explanations. Also provides links to resources, video clips, material you will use for your presentation and extra credit assignments. A symbol in the margin of the text refers you here. Additional readings, for your presentation, at Snell Library Reserve Desk Clark, Virginia, et al. 2008 Language: Introductory Readings. 7th ed. Bedford St. Martin’s Blackboard Our course has a Blackboard site which will develop as the course proceeds. Stay tuned! Fall 2014 Syllabus LING 1150 Professor Janet Randall [email protected] 617.510.9550 2 425 Lake Hall office hours MW 12-1:15 & by appointment Requirements ▪ Readings Do the assigned reading before the first class of the week. The lectures assume that you’ve done it. Also, if you have questions about the reading, ASK right away! If you’re confused by something, chances are, someone else is, too. ▪ TextSleuths Whenever we read both O’Grady and Pinker on the same topic, you have a “TextSleuth,” assignment, to compare the approaches. Bring your write-up to class on the day the reading is due, then write it up to be graded as part of your HW. Here’s an example: TextSleuth: Phonology (10 pts) Our secondary textbook, Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct, was written as a popular introduction to linguistics for laypeople. Using it in a linguistics course can be both good and bad. It can be good because it gives fun examples to illustrate what can sometimes be "dry" or "technical" linguistics concepts. But it can be bad because it can oversimplify concepts in an effort to make them fun, but this can lead to inaccuracies, contradictions, or confusion for linguistics students. Find two examples, one that shows how using Pinker for phonology is "good", the other one, "bad". Give the passage in O'Grady and the corresponding one in Pinker and explain what's good or bad about it. Be prepared to present your passages in class. ▪ Homework Collected at the start of class, so bring an extra copy for in-class discussion. ▪ Midterm Exam In-class, covering the first half of the course ▪ Final Exam During exam period, cumulative ▪ Attendance/Participation Come to class regularly. The lectures expand on the readings! ▪ Group Presentation Working in groups of two or three, you will give a 15-20 min. in-class presentation Topics (readings for each topic are below) - Brain and Language - Sign Language - Language Endangerment - Animal Communication - Language and Gender - Standards and Attitudes Use the articles in Clark, Language: Introductory Readings (on reserve) and other sources Prepare a handout or a powerpoint (or both) Email 2 topic choices to me [email protected] by this Monday. At least a week before your presentation is due, make an appointment with me to discuss it. Fall 2014 Syllabus LING 1150 Professor Janet Randall [email protected] 617.510.9550 3 425 Lake Hall office hours MW 12-1:15 & by appointment Grade Breakdown Homework grade: the average of your 7 highest of these 8 grades ∧∧ problem sets 5 grades ∧∧ Essay 1 grade ∧∧ Fieldwork project 2 grades Midterm exam Final exam Attendance / participation Group presentation Extra credit 40% 15% 25% 10% 10% see below Extra credit You can earn extra credit (EC) points in two ways. (1) Some Problem Sets offer optional problems worth EC points. These increase the score on those Problem Sets. (2) Optional EC assignments, sprinkled throughout, also earn EC points. These are tallied throughout the term and used to decide between two grades. For example, if you’re running a B+ your EC points can move you to an A - . Course Policies Collaboration Try to work in small groups on the homework assignments. List everyone you worked with on the front of your assignment. If you don't list anyone and there is significant overlap between your assignment and another student’s, this will be treated as a case of plagiarism. Late Work One assignment (except the last one) can be up to one week late with no penalty. No other late work will be accepted, except in exceptional circumstances. Lowest HW Grade Dropped Your homework with the lowest grade will be dropped from your homework average. If it is your fieldwork assignment, which counts as two grades, only one will be dropped. Communication a) Blackboard b) in class c) NU email account Check a-c regularly. Be in touch! My office hours are on Mondays and Wednesdays but I can also meet with you on other days. To arrange a time, see me after class or drop me an e-mail. Also, feel free to e-mail me about any aspect of the class -- or about linguistics -- and I'll try to respond the same day. However, I'm not generally available on weekends so if you email me on Friday, you may not get a response until Monday. Please plan accordingly. Fall 2014 Syllabus LING 1150 Professor Janet Randall [email protected] 617.510.9550 4 425 Lake Hall office hours MW 12-1:15 & by appointment Academic Integrity We operate under Northeastern University’s Academic Integrity Policy described at: www.northeastern.edu/osccr/academichonesty.html. Please become familiar with it. Violations must be reported to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution and may be subject to penalties within the course. Course Schedule: ROUGH OUTLINE The following schedule is a rough outline of the course. It's hard to know our pace through the material, so IT WILL PROBABLY CHANGE. Most of these changes will be announced IN CLASS. That’s another reason to make it to all the classes or, if you can’t, to get the notes from someone. Fall 2014 Syllabus LING 1150 Professor Janet Randall [email protected] 617.510.9550 5 425 Lake Hall office hours MW 12-1:15 & by appointment DRAFT 1 Date Week 1 Wed Sep 3 Thu Sep 4 Week 2 Mon Sep 8 Wed Sep 10 Topic Reading due Assignments due Phonetics – Exploring the textbook website O’Grady xi-xxiv; O’Grady 1-13 Website Activities (see handout includes an extra credit opportunity) Phonetics O’Grady 15-55 Pinker Chs 1 & 2 Pinker 153-189 O’Grady 59-97 TextSleuth Email 2 choices for your in-class presentation, to [email protected] Introduction Phonetics/Phonology Thu Sep 11 Week 3 Mon Sep 15 Wed Sep 17 Phonology Thu Sep 18 Morphology Week 4 Mon Sep 22 Wed Sep 24 Thu Sep 25 Week 5 Mon Sep 29 Wed Sept 30 Thu Oct 1 Week 6 Mon Oct 7 Wed Oct 8 Thu Oct 9 Phonology PS 1 due: Phonetics O’Grady 97-106 Presentation 1: Brain and Language Pinker Ch 5 O’Grady 115-130 TextSleuth PS 2 due: Phonology Phonology Morphology O’Grady 130-145 Morphology Rosh Hashana, no class Syntax Pinker Ch 4 O’Grady 155-172 TextSleuth PS 3 due: Morphology Syntax Presentation 2: Sign Language Syntax Syntax Syntax Midterm review O’Grady 173-198 PS 4 due: Syntax Fall 2014 Syllabus LING 1150 Professor Janet Randall [email protected] 617.510.9550 Week 7 Mon Oct 13 Wed Oct 15 Thu Oct 16 Week 8 Reading due 6 425 Lake Hall office hours MW 12-1:15 & by appointment Assignment due Columbus Day, no class Midterm Exam Go over midterm Mon Oct 20 Semantics Wed Oct 22 Semantics Thu Oct 23 Language Acquisition film: Out of the mouths of babes Week 9 Mon Language Acquisition Oct 27 Wed Language Acquisition Oct 29 Thu Language Acquisition Oct 30 Week 10 Native Languages film: Mon We Still Live Here: As Nov 3 Nutayunean (57 min.) Wed Native Languages Nov 5 Thu Variation: region, class, Nov 6 ethnicity, gender Fri-Sun Extra credit Nov 7-9 opportunity Pinker Ch 7 O'Grady 203-239 TextSleuth PS 5 due: Semantics Pinker Ch 9 O’Grady 351-386 Presentation 3: Animal Communication O'Grady 333-350 Essay 1 due. See below. Presentation 4: Language Endangerment O’Grady 485496, 507-508 Attend the annual BU Conference on Language Development http://www.bu.edu/bucld/ and write up a summary of one of the talks. See Essay 2 below for a list of suggested talks. Fall 2014 Syllabus LING 1150 Professor Janet Randall [email protected] 617.510.9550 Week 11 Mon Nov 10 Wed Nov 12 Thu Nov 13 Week 12 Mon Nov 17 Wed Nov 19 Thu Nov 20 Thu Nov 21 Week 13 Mon Nov 24 10:30 Wed Nov 26 Thu Nov 27 Week 14 Mon Dec 1 Wed Dec 3 Reading due O’Grady 497-500, 508-512 Variation: Overview of social dialects Variation: Regional dialects, or, "I pahked the cah in Hahved Yahd" Variation: African O’Grady 512-514 American English Variation: African American English Variation: Language & Gender Assignment due Essay 2 due. See below (extra credit). Essay 3 due. See below (extra credit). Variation: Language & Gender Presentation 5: Language and Gender Variation: discuss Language & Gender project hypothesis & methods Continue discussion of Fieldwork Project Fieldwork Project part 1: Literature Review paragraph, Hypothesis & Method sections due Thanksgiving Break Thanksgiving Break Field Work: Discussion of results Standards & Attitudes Study Study Study for Final Exam Dec ? 7 425 Lake Hall office hours MW 12-1:15 & by appointment Final Exam O'Grady 518-522 Pinker Ch 12 Fieldwork project, part 2: Results section due Fieldwork project, part 3: Full report due today (=Prob.Sets7&8) Presentation 6: Standards & Attitudes Fall 2014 Syllabus LING 1150 Professor Janet Randall [email protected] 617.510.9550 8 425 Lake Hall office hours MW 12-1:15 & by appointment Presentation Topics + Readings . These reading on each topic can be found in your textbooks: O'Grady, Pinker, or from Clark et. al. Language: Introductory readings (on reserve at Snell Library). You may use additional reading as well. 1. Brain and Language Pinker chapter 10 – "Language Organs and Grammar Genes" O’Grady chapter 12 -- “Brain and Language” 2. Sign Language Clark chapter 3 – Emmorey, Sign Language Clark chapter 46 – Wolkomir, American Sign Language: 'It's Not Mouth Stuff - It's Brain Stuff' O’Grady chapter 15 – “Natural Sign Languages” 3. Language Endangerment Clark chapter 29 – James Crawford, Endangered Native American Language Clark chapter 34 – Nancy Lord, Native Tongues 4. Animal Communication Clark chapter 41 –Kemp & Smith, Signals, Signs & Words: From Animal Communication to Language Clark chapter 6 – Jean Aitchison, Chimps, Children and Creoles: The Need for Caution Pinker chapter 11 (340-359) – “The Big Bang” 5. Language and Gender Clark chapter 37 – Fern Johnson, Discourse Patterns of Males and Females Clark chapter 38 – Deborah Tannen, ‘I’ll Explain It to You’: Lecturing and Listening Clark chapter 39 – Deborah Tannen, Ethnic Style in Male-Female Conversation 6. Standards and Attitudes Clark chapter 56 – John Algeo, What Makes Good English Good? Pinker chapter 12 – “The Language Mavens” Fall 2014 Syllabus LING 1150 Professor Janet Randall [email protected] 617.510.9550 9 425 Lake Hall office hours MW 12-1:15 & by appointment ESSAYS (1 required, 2 for EC) 1. Language Acquisition A father says, "Correcting my child's mistakes is very important. If a parent doesn't take the trouble to do this, his kids won't learn the language." Respond to this parent's statement, by either supporting or disagreeing with it, and bolster your discussion with evidence from lectures, videos, and readings. Include issues such as: critical period (critical-age hypothesis), negative evidence, the poverty of the stimulus, structuredependent rules, overgeneralization, etc. Support your point with some concrete examples of what children do and do not do. 2. Language Acquisition: Summarize a Conference talk (EC: 10pts, on your Essay grade) Attend the annual BU Conference on Language Development on Nov 7,8, or 9. Here is the schedule: http://www.bu.edu/bucld/conference-info/schedule/ Summarize one of the talks. Recommended authors are: Snedeker, Carey, Lidz, Demuth, Valian, Golinkoff, but other talks are possible. Check with me if you are planning to go to this; I have to notify the organizers of the number of my students attending. 3. Language Variation (EC: 10 pts, added to your Essay grade) Imagine the following: The Boston School Board has decided to spend some of its funds to educate its teachers (in weekend workshops) about Black English. They claim that the more teachers understand about the dialects the students use, the better they can teach them the "standard" and the better the students' self-esteem will be since they will understand that their dialect is not simply bad grammar, but a rule-governed and logical -- but different -- version of English, on a par with other dialects. Many parents are outraged, including some black parents. They say things like, "this is not how money should be spent;" "teach standard English" and "this is patronizing; if we teach bad grammar to kids, this is only one more way to disadvantage them." Jesse Jackson at first was against the Boston decision but now supports it. Argue for or against the Boston decision, using linguistic arguments.