SIS code: 

NPFL063 Introduction to Linguistics

2015 Winter

See for the current version.

my web
e-mail for homework etc: (start the email's subject with NPFL063)
Language: Czech or English (see below)
Office hours: by appointment
Time & Place: Wed 10:40-13:10 S8

1  Description and objectives of the course

The course will help students to get familiar with the fundamental features of human language, its structure and development, its place in the society, etc. It also introduces linguistics as a science, its history and methodology, with focus on structural linguistics.

2  Language

The course is taught in Czech or English depending on mutual agreement. All course materials (slides, readings, web pages, etc) are in English. Homework, the final exam and the paper can be submitted in English, Czech/Slovak.

3  Readings

Readings (when assigned) are to be read before class. Some of the readings will not be covered in class, but homeworks and exams will assume that you have read them all. 
In most cases, the assigned reading will be from the following books (the Library has several copies):

  • Reader (under development; 2014-09-06)
  • V. Fromkin, R. Rodman, N. Hyams: An Introduction to Language. 8th edition or later; preferably the International edition of 8th edition, Heinle, 2006.
  • D. Crystal: The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. Cambridge University Press; 1997

4  Assignments, Tests and Grading

4.1  Homework

On some classes, homework will be assigned. Unless specified otherwise, it will be due by the beginning of the the following class. If it is reasonably easy to type it in a textprocesor, send it by e-mail as an attachment (use PDF, MS Word or plain text). Otherwise you can email a scan or bring it to class. Please write legibly.

When emailing, use the following subject "NPFL063 HW "

You can use English or Czech/Slovak.

It is a good idea to work on homework in a group of two or three people (write who you worked with at the top of the page). However you have to write it up individually, in your own words. Each homework assignment will be graded on a scale 0-100%. Incorrect answers are better than no answers.

Homework assignment Due
[HW 1 - phonology] Nov 15 (the day before class)
[HW 2 - Trees] Nov 29 (the day before class)
[HW 3 - Imported NP clusters] Jan 3 (the day before class)
[HW 4 - Implicature in Ads] Before grade
4.2  Article

You will create a wikipedia-like article on a selected linguistic topic. Consider writing about something that can be useful for your thesis. You can use English or Czech/Slovak.

Milestone Points Due How
Your selected topic for approval 5 Nov 9 email
Half a page summary (can be bullets), 5+ reliable sources 5 Dec 7 google docs / plain text by email
Draft version - I will provide feedback 10 Jan 4 google docs
Final version 10 10 days before you want a grade google docs

For details see this page.

4.3  Exam

There will be an in-class final exam. You can bring and use any notes or literature, but you have to work on your own.

You can use English or Czech/Slovak. Even mixing the languages is allowed (e.g., using English terminology in Czech sentences). 

4.4  Active class participation

"Active participation" refers to your comments and questions during class, your answers to my questions, etc. I do not keep track of whether your answers, etc. are correct, but simply whether or not you participate. 
If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to get reliable notes from a fellow student.

4.5  Grading
Homework 0-20
Article 0-30
Final 0-40
Active class participation 0-10
Total: 0-100
Grade Points
1 90-100
2 76-89
3 60-75
4 0-59
4.5  Late submissions

Late submissions are automatically penalized in the following way:

Homework up to one week late 20%
  more than one week late 80%
Article one week late 20%
  more than one week late 50%

However, if you see you cannot meet a deadline, talk to me about it before the deadline and most likely we can find a later deadline when you can submit without any penalty.

5  Schedule and Handouts

The schedule below is preliminary and can slightly change. If I update a handout, I will add the date of the update in parentheses.

Date Topic Handout Reading Other
Oct 5 Introduction [handout]    
Oct 12 Animal Communication [handout]    
Oct 19 Phonetics [handout] Fromkin Ch 6  
Oct 26 NO CLASS      
Nov 2 Phonetics      
Nov 9 Phonology [handout] Fromkin Ch 7 paper topic deadline
Nov 16 Morphology [handout] [slides] Fromkin Ch 3 HW 1 due
Nov 23 Syntax [slides]  [handout] Fromkin Ch 4  
Nov 30 Linguistic Theories [GB slides] [DG slides]   HW 2 due
Dec 7 Semantics [handout] [slides]   paper summary deadline
Dec 14 Pragmatics [handout]    
Dec 21 Historical Linguistics [handout] [slides] Fromkin Ch 12  
Jan 4 Psycholinguistics [slides]   HW 3 due (on Jan 3), paper draft deadline
Jan 11 Exam