SIS code: 

NPFL063 Introduction to Linguistics

2022 Winter


my web
e-mail for homework etc: (start the email's subject with NPFL063)
Language: English
Office hours: by appointment (via zoom)
Time Fri 10:40
Place  S9

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 society, etc. It also introduces linguistics as a science, its history and methodology, with a focus on structural linguistics.

2  Language

The course is taught in English. I will repeat in Czech anything that you don't understand. 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 homework and exams will assume that you have read them all. 
In most cases, the assigned reading will be from the following (the Library has several copies of the books):

  • Reader (under development; 2020-10-05)
  • 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

In some classes, homework will be assigned. Unless specified otherwise, it will be due by the beginning of the following class. If it is reasonably easy to type it in a text processor, 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 #", e.g. "NPFL063 HW 1" for the first homework assignment.

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 10 (the day before class)
[HW 2 - Trees] Dec 8 (the day before class)
[HW 3 - Imported NP clusters Dec 15 (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. See this page for more details see.

Milestone Points Due How
Your selected topic for approval 5 Nov 10 email
Half a page summary (can be bullets), 5+ reliable sources 5 Dec 1 Google docs / cloud version of MS Word 365 / plain text by email
Draft version - I will provide feedback 10 Jan 13 Google docs / cloud version of MS Word 365
(give me full edit rights, so I can comment and see updates)
Final version 10 10 days before you want a grade Google docs / cloud version of MS Word 365
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

You need to submit all homework assignments, the article, and the final to get a zápočet (and a grade).

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
Sep 30 Introduction [slides[handout]    
Oct 7 Animal Communication [handout]    
Oct 14 Phonetics [handout] Fromkin Ch 6  
Oct 21 Phonology [handout] Fromkin Ch 7  
Oct 28 State Holiday - NO CLASS      
Nov 4 Phonology      
Nov 11 Morphology [handout] [slides] Fromkin Ch 3 HW 1 due (Nov 10)
paper topic deadline (Nov 10)
Nov 18 NO CLASS      
Nov 25 Morphology / Syntax 

[slides]  [handout]

Fromkin Ch 4  
Dec 2 Syntax / Linguistic theories [GB slides] [DG slides]   paper summary deadline (Dec 1)
Dec 9 Semantics / Pragmatics [handout] 
[handout] [slides]
  HW 2 due (Dec 8)
Dec 16 Historical Linguistics / Psycholinguistics [handout] [slides] 
Fromkin Ch 12 HW 3 due (Dec 15)
Jan 6 Exam     paper draft deadline (Jan 13)

[GB slides] [DG slides]