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Linguistics 201 – Introduction to Linguistic Theory

class details
fall 2007
jan anderssen – jan at-sign linguist dot umass dot edu – website – aim: ling201jan
meeting times: tuesdays and thursdays 9:30 to 10:45 – bartlett hall 109
office hours: wednesdays 2 to 4 – south college #305 :: mailbox: south college #226
how the website works
new things go on top. for older things, you'll need to scroll down a bit. the links to handouts, readings, etc. will usually give you a pdf file. if you have trouble reading anything (messed up fonts, missing files, etc.), please let me know.
tuesday, december 11 2007
here's a collection of exercises that serves a double purpose. you can use them to practice for the final (thursday 12/20, 8am, bartlett 206) or you can turn (parts of them) in to make up for a missed homework. in fact it's called homework number 8, even though it's optional. for full credit, turn in answers to at least four of the questions (further details on the assignment) before monday 12/17, 5pm in my mailbox in south college #226.
thursday, december 6 2007
we've finished out discussion of the documentary on language acquisition, and started to talk about wh-movement and constraints on it. homework assignment 7 is on this topic. we'll talk more about it on tuesday.
tuesday, december 4 2007
in class today, we watched the second part of gene searchinger's documentary on human languages, which was on the acquisition of human language by children, that is the way children get to know their first language.
thursday, november 29 2007
don't forget our third quiz today, on syntax.
tuesday, november 20 2007
homework number 6 is due on tuesday after thanks-giving. feel free to email me with questions, or set up a time to talk on monday. here are some lecture notes on phrase structure rules that should also help with homework #6.
tuesday, november 13 2007
we talked more about tree structures in general, and constituent structure of english sentences.
thursday, november 8 2007
here's homework number 5, i'll bring hardcopies on tuesday. sorry for the delay. here are also some notes on the formal properties of tree structures we talked about in class.
tuesday, november 6 2007
we started to talk about our new topic, syntax. we saw that sometimes classes of words behave the same when it comes to the order of words in english sentences (for instance there are places where all nouns seem to be able to occur), and we also saw that similarly larger groups of words share similar properties (we saw for instance that we can use a lot of the noun phrases that can occur in subject position also in object position). we started to investigate the internal structure of sentences (what their constituents are) with the help of constituency tests. here are some notes on constituency tests.
tueday, november 1 2007
phonetics/phonology quiz
tueday, october 30 2007
today we reviewed the homework, and the material of the last weeks for the phonetics/phonology quiz on thursday.
thursday, october 25 2007
todays class fell victim to the campus closing this morning. i'll email you homework #4, please let me know if you have any questions. please hand it in on tuesday at the beginning of class or before if you can't make it. i can't accept it any later, since we'll review the answers in class, and i'll make an answer key, so that you can use that to study for the quiz on thursday.
tuesday, october 16 - tuesday, october 23 2007
we talked about the phonologycal component of the human language capacity, mostly the sound inventory (phonemes and their allophones), what our arguments are to assume an underlying abstract sound representation that is the input to the phonological system, different phonological processes, and ways to represent them. you can find a summary of most of what we talked about in this text book chapter on phonology.
thursday, october 11 2007
today we saw different videos showing the articulatory tract when producing speech sounds, and we listened to and explored some sounds that are not part of the phonetic inventory of english. in the end we started talking about how the grammar of a language adopts foreign words that are borrowed into that language and don't confirm to its phonological system. something that was illustrated in this video :)
tuesday, october 9 2007
today the university operates on monday schedule, so no class. see you on thursday. don't forget homework #3.
thursday, october 4 2007
after finishing our discussion of consonants, we looked at the vowels of english today. originally, i had planned to show you a variety of sounds from different languages, but unfortunately i couldn't use the projector. we'll do that next time. in the meantime, here are some links to explore: last, but not least, here's a copy of homework assignment #3, due next thursday.
tuesday, october 2 2007
today we started with phonetics. we have discussed how the letters conventionally used to spell words in english are often not accurate representations of the sounds used to pronounce these words, and have started to investigate the consonant sounds of english and their classification according to the articulatory features voicing, place of articulation, and manner of articulation. instead of providing lecture notes for this class and the next, i've decided to upload a brief textbook chapter, summarizing most of our class discussion. please note that some of the symbols slightly differ from the ones used on the ipa chart.
thursday, september 27 2007
morphology quiz.
tuesday, september 25 2007
today we mostly looked back at the material covered last thursday, and practiced how to draw morphological trees. in the end we discussed structural ambiguities, cases in which one word can have more than one possible structure, and the corresponding meanings. you find the examples in these notes.
thursday, september 23 2007
we returned to english affixes, and covered a whole bunch of concepts that we could illustrate with examples drawn from english. here are some notes on it.
tuesday, september 18 2007
we talked about different morphological processes today, and tried to puzzle out a fairly complex pattern in tagalog. here are the data we used in class. instead of returning to it on thursday, i decided to let you guys finish it in the second homework assignment, although i took out a whole bunch of the data there, to make things more manageable.
thursday, september 13 2007
here are some class notes, mostly discussing the differences of the irregular and regular paradigms that we talked about, and how we might model our mental mechanism for producing them. the notes make reference to this chapter of a book, which explains things in a nicely written and careful way.
tuesday, september 11 2007
today we mostly talked about morphologically complex words, how to identify morphemes, and what arguments we have for saying that not every word can be memorized. you can download some notes from todays class. i also put a copy of the first homework assignment up. the first question is about an article on irregulars, which we'll return to next class. last, i mentioned another steven pinker article on combinatorial systems – it's actually a speech he gave, when he received an honorary degree from mcgill university. it's fairly short, and i think it's a great read, it's optional though.
thursday, september 6 2007
after a bit of review, we started to talk about morphology today, and i introduced you to the concept of a morpheme and its allomorphs. you worked together in groups to start to practice how to identify morphemes in an unfamiliar language, by comparing different words/meaning pairs and puzzeling out which parts stay the same and which change. here are some notes about the class today.
tuesday, september 4 2007
here's a copy of the syllabus. in class today, i showed you a few examples illustrating that knowledge of your native language is unconscious. you discovered for instance that some ambiguous sentences with "want to" loose one of their meaning if you contract "want to" to "wanna", and we examined the pattern behind this a bit more. even though you all shared an intuition about the difference in meaning, you weren't consciously aware of the pattern before. here's a list of the examples we used in class. next time we'll get started with morphology.