LING 308/708: Linguistic Analysis

TuTh 1:00 - 2:15 pm, 108 Blake

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

Office Hours Thursday 10-11 am or by appointment

This is a course for people who enjoy doing linguistics. Students tackle a series of linguistic puzzles that apply the techniques of phonological, morphological, syntactic and comparative analysis learned in introductory linguistics to data taken from a variety of languages with different structural characteristics. Students will gain an understanding of the ways in which linguistic features vary across languages and the challenges this variation poses for linguistic description. The course provides training in writing brief descriptions of linguistic features.

This course and the workbook presume a basic working knowledge of articulatory phonetics (sound types, place/manner of articulation and common phonetic symbols). The textbook includes Americanist as well as IPA transcriptions. Peter Ladefoged has posted an online, interactive guide to the IPA. A useful paperback to own is: Geoffrey K. Pullum and William A. Ladusaw, Phonetic Symbol Guide (University of Chicago Press). Other useful books are: Ronald W. Langacker, Fundamentals of Linguistic Analysis (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich), and Thomas E. Payne, Describing Morphosyntax. A Guide for Field Linguists (Cambridge). The World Atlas of Language Structures Online provides information on many linguistic features.

Course textbook:

Merrifield, William R. et al. 2003. Laboratory manual for morphology and syntax, seventh edition.. Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics.



  Attendance and participation: 10%
Classroom participation is expected and will count towards 10 percent of the final mark for all students. The class will have a discussion format, and I will call on each student from time to time to participate in the discussion. Students cannot earn full credit for participation without coming to class. Each student is personally responsible for notes, announcements and other information given in class.

  Periodic quizzes: 60%

Most of the course grade will be based on the problem sets that all students will work through in class. Six periodic quizzes will provide practice in dealing with data you have not seen before.

  Final exam: 30%

There will be a final exam for undergraduate students. The final will contain several problems like the ones in the quizzes.

  Term paper: 30%

Graduate students are required to write a seven-page term paper which explores some aspect of a non-European language. The term paper will be worth 30 percent of the course grade. I will ask students to identify a topic for their project near the middle of the semester. On November 21st you must turn in a one-page description of your final project and how you plan to approach it. Briefly explain the importance of your topic: how does it fit into the study of linguistics? You can expect to redefine your approach while you are working on the project. This prospectus serves as a rough map of the area you hope to explore. The prospectus constitutes 5 percent of your final project grade; I will comment upon it but will not grade it separately.

The term paper is due by 5 pm, December 19th. I have posted some guidelines for the project at project guidelines.

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.

KU weapons policy: Individuals who choose to carry concealed handguns are solely responsible to do so in a safe and secure manner in strict conformity with state and federal laws and KU weapons policy. You cannot legally carry a handgun if you are not 21 or if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Safety measures outlined in the KU weapons policy specify that a concealed handgun:


  Must be under the constant control of the carrier.

  Must be out of view, concealed either on the body of the carrier, or backpack, purse, or bag that remains under the constant control of the carrier.

  Must be in a holster that covers the trigger area and secures any external hammer in an un-cocked position.

  Must have the safety on, and have no round in the chamber.

Individuals who violate the KU weapons policy may be asked to leave campus with the weapon and may face disciplinary action under the appropriate university code of conduct. If you see a gun and the situation is not an emergency, call KU police at 864-5900. In an emergency call 911. If you know of a KU community member who is struggling with life and may be at risk of harming themselves or others, contact the Student of Concern Review Team at Everyone should understand the contribution guns make to the risk of injury death.










Problems 1-4


Problems 5-9

Langacker “Preliminaries”



Problems 10-17


Problems 18-21



Problems 22-24


Problems 25-27

Quiz 1



Problems 28-29


Problems 30-31




Problems 32-35


Problems 36-38

Quiz 2



Problems 39-43


Problems 44-49




Problems 49-52


Problems 53-58

Quiz 3





Problems 59-62




Problems 63-67


Problems 67-71




Problems 72-74


Problems 74 and 75

Quiz 4



Problems 75-78, 86






Syntactic Analysis


Problems 128-133




Problems 139, 147, 185


Problems 141-145, 264




Problems 155, 191, 265, 274


Problems 239, 253, 296

Quiz 5



Diachronic Problems









Quiz 6



project presentations


project presentations





Term paper due




Final Exam


1:30 - 4:00 p.m.