Ling/Anth 106: Introduction to Linguistics

TTh 12-12:50 AM

3140 Wescoe

Instructor: Clifton Pye (pyersqr (at) ku (dot) edu)

Office Hours: Wednesday 3:30-4:30 or by appointment

Graduate Teaching Assistant: Jonah Bates

Office: Blake 419

Office Hours: Weds/Thurs. 1-2

email: bates_jonah (at) ku (dot) edu

Discussion Sections:

F 09:00 -09:50 AM BL 206

F 11:00 -11:50 AM BL 206

F 12:00 -12:50 PM BL 206

F 02:00 -02:50 PM BL 111

Recommended Textbook: An Introduction to Language, by Fromkin, Rodman, and Hyams

Linguistics is one of the best kept secrets in any university. The central concern of linguistics is the scientific study of language. Linguists seek explanations for the structure and function of human languages. As speakers of a language, students have immediate access to primary linguistic data and can test linguistic theories for themselves. This course introduces the linguistic procedures for analyzing language structure, meaning, the social and historical consequences of language use, and the physical and psychological bases of human language. The course provides a foundation for further linguistic study.

Course Requirements


    Attendance and participation: 10%

Classroom participation is critical to doing linguistics and will count towards 10% of the final mark for all students. The in-class exercises and discussions of word properties form the core component of the class, and cannot be made up in any other way. Students cannot earn full credit for participation without attending class and the discussion sections. Each student is personally responsible for notes, announcements, homework and other information given in class.


    Homework exercises: 15%

There will be eight weekly assignments that count towards 15% of the final grade. The assignments will be graded pass/fail. As a rule, assignments will be distributed and collected during the discussion sections, although there will be some exceptions. Skipping assignments is the fastest way to lower your grade. The homework will be reviewed in the discussion section on the day that it is due. Late assignments will generally not be accepted, except in the case of a documented medical or family emergency. Assignments turned in late but before they are reviewed will be graded at the discretion of the instructor and will generally not receive full credit. You are welcome to work together on the homework assignments, but write the names of the people you worked with on your homework when you turn it in.


    Written exercises: 15%


Mental Lexicon

Feb. 16



Dialect Survey

April 29


There are two written exercises. For the mental lexicon exercise students will write a 2-page report that estimates how many words they recognize. For the dialect survey students will write a 5-page report on their dialect survey. The report must list the items on the survey, the specific dialect region that each item targets and the predicted response to each item from a speaker from Kansas and a speaker from another geographic region. The write up should show the results from the survey and evaluate the predicted responses for each item, including a discussion of the items that turned out to be problematic. Beyond the influence of geography, you should discuss any other factor(s) that account for the responses and explain why you think there is evidence for the other factor(s).


    In class exams: 35%

There will be two in-class exams. The exams will have a short-answer format and will cover all material discussed in class, in the readings (whether discussed in class or not), and material from the assignments. Make up exams will not be given without 24-hour advanced notice or in the case of a documented medical or family emergency.


First Exam

March 3



Second Exam

April 12



    Final exam: 25%  May 13, 10:30-1

The final part of your grade will be based on the final exam. The final exam will contain questions that are similar to the questions on the in class quizzes and exams. The final will test your knowledge of all of the material presented over the semester.

Academic Misconduct:

Plagiarism, including cheating on exams, is the presentation of someone else’s work as your own. Plagiarism includes copying off of handouts, class notes/slides, the textbook, or internet without citing the source of information. Plagiarism will result in a grade of zero for any assignment or exam and the incident will be reported to University authorities. A second offence will result in an F for the class. Please ask us if you have any questions or concerns about how to avoid plagiarizing someone’s else’s work.

The Academic Achievement & Access Center coordinates accommodations and services for all KU students with disabilities or special circumstances. If you have a disability for which you wish to request accommodations and have not contacted the AAAC, please do so as soon as possible. Their office is located in 22 Strong Hall; their phone number is 785-864-2620. Please contact me privately in regard to your needs in this course as soon as possible.


The reading assignments are designed to compliment the class lectures for the week. Therefore, it is to your advantage to complete the reading by the corresponding date. Exercises assigned during a given week will be due the following Monday at the beginning of class.





Web Links


Jan. 19

Chap 1


Why Study Linguistics?

Word Structures

Jan. 21

Chap 2




Feb. 4

Chap 10


How Many?

Word Sounds

Feb. 11

Chap 5


The IPA, Klingon

Systems of Sounds

Feb. 23

Chap 6


Words and Sounds

First Exam

Mar. 3

Discussion Sections cancelled

Study Questions

Word Meaning

Mar. 8

Chap 4


Devitt, Semantics

Spring Break

Mar. 15

No classes




Mar. 22

Chap 4



Word Order

Mar. 29

Chap 3



Second Exam

Apr. 12

Discussion Sections cancelled

Study Questions

Language Variation

Apr. 14

Chap 7

Dialect Surveys

DARE, IDEA, yous, N. AM

Word Histories

Apr. 26

Chap 8


Origin of Language


May 3

Chap 12



Final Exam

May 13

10:30 am

3140 Wescoe


Supplemental Reading:

Textbooks can’t cover every interesting aspect of language, even ones with 600 pages. I provide the following titles as suggestions to augment your reading pleasure and/or places to start in researching your term paper. Enjoy!

General Linguistics

Bloomfield, Leonard. 1933. Language. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Crystal, David. 1987. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press.

Hymes, Dell, Ed. 1964. Language in Culture and Society. New York: Harper & Row.

Sapir, Edward. 1921. Language. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.


Casti, John L. 1990. Searching for Certainty. New York: William Morrow.

de Santillana, Giorgio. 1955. The Crime of Galileo. Chicago: The U. of Chicago Press.

Gould, Stephen J. 1989. Wonderful Life. New York: W. W. Norton.

Kuhn, Thomas S. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: The U. of Chicago Press.

Petroski, Henry. 1992. The Pencil. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.


Aitchison, Jean. 1994. Words in the Mind, 2nd Ed. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Miller, George A. 1996. The Science of Words. New York: Scientific American Library.


Ellis, John M. 1993. Language, Thought, and Logic. Evanston, IL: Northwestern U. Press.

Green, Georgia M. 1989. Pragmatics and Natural Language Understanding. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Pulman, S. G. 1983. Word Meaning and Belief. New Jersey: Ablex.

Putnam, Hilary. 1988. Representation and Reality. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Quine, W. V. O. 1960. Word & Object. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Stainton, Robert J. 1996. Philosophical Perspectives on Language. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press.


Ladefoged, Peter. 1996. Elements of Acoustic Phonetics, 2nd Ed. Chicago: U. of Chicago Press.

Ladefoged, Peter & Maddieson, Ian. 1996. The Sounds of the World’s Languages. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

Kent, Ray D. & Read, Charles. 1992. The Acoustic Analysis of Speech. San Diego, CA: Singular Publishing Group.


Chomsky, Noam. 1965. Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Language Change

Haas, Mary R. 1969. The Prehistory of Languages. The Hague: Mouton.

Hill, Kenneth C., Ed. 1979. The Genesis of Language. Ann Arbor, MI: Karoma.

Nichols, Johanna. 1992. Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time. Chicago: U. of Chicago Press.

Watkins, Calvert. 1985. The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Language Typology

Comrie, Bernard. 1981. Language Universals and Linguistic Typology. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Ruhlen, Merritt. 1987. A Guide to the World’s Languages. Stanford, CA: Stanford U. Press.

Shopen, Timothy. 1985. Language Typology and Syntactic Description. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press.

Language Variation

Labov, William. 1972. Sociolinguistic Patterns. Philadelphia: U. of Pennsylvania Press.

Labov, William. Language in the Inner City. Philadelphia: U. of Pennsylvania Press.

McNeil, Robin. The Story of English.

Trudgill, Peter. 1974. Sociolinguistics. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin.


Clark, Herbert H. & Clark, Eve V. 1977. Psychology and Language. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.

Gleason, Jean Berko & Ratner, Nan Bernstein, Eds. 1993. Psycholinguistics. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.

Pinker, Steven. 1994. The Language Instinct. New York: William Morrow.

Language Acquisition

Ingram, David. 1989. First Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press.

Pinker, Steven. 1984. Language Learnability and Language Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U. Press.

Radford, Andrew. 1990. Syntactic Theory and the Acquisition of English Syntax. Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell.


Coe, Michael D. 1992. Breaking the Maya Code. New York: Thames and Hudson.

Houston, S. D. 1989. Maya Glyphs. Berkeley, CA: U. of California Press.

Language and Computers

Allen, James. 1995. Natural Language Understanding, 2nd Ed. Redwood City, CA: Benjamin/Cummings.

Haugeland, John (Ed.). 1981. Mind Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.