Linguistics 001     Lecture 1


The goal of Linguistics 001 is to offer a  broad, self-contained introduction to all aspects of language and linguistics, suitable for undergraduates with a wide range of backgrounds and interests. General information about course content is available from a  brief description . Details can be gotten from the schedule and the lecture notes that are linked to it.

Fall 2000 is the fourth time that this course has been given. Enrollment has grown from 35 in fall 1997 to 125 in fall 2000, with more than 200 students attempting to enroll. Because of increased demand, the course will be given in both fall and spring terms this academic year.

Each year, we've tried to adjust the course's form and content to reflect what we've learned in teaching it. Your comments and suggestions about this fall's effort will be welcomed.

Although it is not a prerequisite for other courses in  linguistics at Penn , Linguistics 001 will prepare you to get more out of other language-related courses you take in the future, and will give you a broader perspective on courses you may have taken in the past.  Here is a link to available home pages of other Penn linguistics courses.  Here is the complete list of Penn linguistics courses  , and here is the list of undergraduate linguistics courses offered this fall.

In addition to formal course work in linguistics at Penn, there are often opportunities for independent studies, research projects, and even paying research-related jobs. Contact the instructors for further information if you are interested

Course Structure 

There are two lectures a week, Monday and Wednesday 12:00-1:00.

Each student should also participate in one recitation section each week. This term, there are four recitation sections. The purpose of the recitation sections is to provide students with a forum for discussion and an opportunity to ask questions about lectures, readings, homework and exams.

We can be reached by email, either to answer questions directly or to set up individual appointments: Mark Liberman, Atissa Banuazizi, Tara Sanchez.

There will be a midterm and a final exam. Since the designated time for the final exam is so late in the holiday season, the final will be take-home, available on-line at the start of reading period, and you will be able to submit it by email. With the instructor's permission, you can do a term paper instead of the final exam; in this case, you will need to submit an outline by 11/27, and a first draft by 12/11.



The midterm and final exam will count for 20% and 30% of your grade, respectively. Homework exercises will count for another 40%. The final 10% will depend on class participation (mainly in your recitation section).

Note that homework is a big part of your grade. Each year, a few students fail to turn in some or all homework assignments, and are then taken aback by the effect.

Here is the distribution of raw numerical grades amoung the 55 students in the 1998 version of the course. These were turned into letter grades in a conventional fashion, so that 80-83.3 was B-, 83.3-86.7 was B, 86.7-90 was B+, and so on. Thus nine students got a B-, etc. Grades over 100 were possible because of extra credit on exams and some homework assignments.

The Text 

Fromkin and Rodman's Introduction to Language provides a broad and readable overview of a very wide range of language-related topics. We'll supplement this textwith web-accessible lecture notes, linked to the course schedule. If you want to learn more about a particular topic, we'll be happy to suggest additional reading.

Other introductory linguistics texts include: 
Contemporary Linguistics  by O'Grady, Dobrovolsky and Aronoff;
Linguistics  by Akmajian, Demers, Farmer and Harnish; and
An Invitation to Cognitive Science: Language  by Gleitman and Liberman.

The Digital Dimension 

We will sometimes use the course email list to announce changes in assignments, or to let you know about special course-related events.

The course web site and its links are important!  The most important page is the schedule , which will tell you what topics will be discussed in each lecture, and what pages in the text should be read when. It also will contain links to the lecture notes for the course.

A lot of necessary material, including lecture notes and some readings, will only be available through the web. While you are of course welcome to print these pages out if you want, we will not normally print them out for you. Some of the pages will be interactive, and therefore not printable.

"How much of this stuff will be on the exam?"

The course text is full of information, and the on-line lecture notes have a lot of links, which have a lot of links, which have a lot of links . . .

Relax! We don't expect you to memorize unlimited amounts of detailed material. We do expect that you will read and understand the course text and the on-line lecture notes, that you'll pay attention during lectures (where some additional material will be presented), and that you'll master the ideas and skills featured in the homework assignments.

If you do this, then you should be adequately prepared for the midterm and the final, for which we will also provide study guides.

Of course, you'll get more out of the course if you learn more than exactly what will be tested on the exams, and a good way to do this is to follow hyperlinks and other references to a greater depth, whether on the web or in the library. The exams, especially the final, will probably give you an opportunity to display some of some of this extra knowledge to your advantage.






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