Assignments

Week 16: Final wrapup

Welcome to the final week of class! Since this is the last week, there is no new reading or discussion board post. Your sole outstanding assignment is the final exam, to be completed by 11:59pm this Friday, 19 May. (If you know that you will need an extension, please let me know as soon as possible! I have limited flexibility on this because I need to submit grades very soon.)

If you’ve not already done so, I recommend taking the Extra Credit Quiz. It’s due the same day/time as the final.

Also please use this week to complete any work that is missing, including Quiz #6 and any discussion board posts you may have missed. (If you make up for any late discussion board posts, please shoot me an email to let me know.)

Week 15: Language Endangerment and Revitalization

This week – our last week before the final! – we’ll be covering a really important topic: language endangerment and revitalization. To learn more about this, please read chapter 49 in Rickerson & Hilton (pp. 214–217) and chapter 20 in David Crystal (pp. 125–130), both on our Readings & Videos page.

Then, submit Quiz #6 – your final quiz! – and post a response to this week’s discussion board thread by 11:59pm on Sunday, 14 May.

You can also take the extra credit quiz. It’s optional, but can help to boost your overall grade by up to 5 points, so I strongly suggest submitting it, especially if you’ve missed any of the previous quizzes. It’s due by 11:59pm on 19 May (i.e. next Friday).

Also, by this point, you’ve each received status update #4, so you should all have a good idea of how you’re doing in the class. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Week 14: “Grammar” and Syntax

This week’s topic is syntax, which is the part of linguistics that you’ve probably most often heard referred to as “grammar” in other classes. It has to do with sentence structure, and the way that words come together to form complex and coherent messages. Please read chapters 11 and 12 in Rickerson & Hilton and chapter 6 in Crystal. Both books are available on the Readings & Videos page. I hope to post a video soon.

After you’ve done the readings, please do the discussion board post for this week.

Also, if you haven’t already submitted Quiz #5, which was due yesterday, please submit it as soon as possible.

Week 13: Language Change

Please read chapters 4, 5, and 7 in Rickerson & Hilton and chapter 21 in Crystal.

Then, complete Quiz #5 (which covers topics from this week and week 12) and post a response to this week’s discussion board topic. Both are due by 11:59pm this Sunday, 30 April. (For the quiz, multiple submissions are okay, but I’ll only grade your final submission. Studying together is encouraged, but don’t share answers with one another – that’s cheating.)

Week 12: Etymology

This week, we’ll be learning about etymology, the field of linguistics dedicated to exploring the origins of words. Please read chapter 26 in David Crystal’s book, which introduces etymology and how it works, and the article, “Does it Come from Beefsteak Tomatoes?,” which shows you how etymologists work on tackling tricky questions about word origins. Both can be found on the Readings & Videos page.

After you’ve done both readings, please respond to the Week 12 discussion board thread.

Week 11: Morphemes and Morphology

Spring Break is nearly upon us! This week’s assignment is thus due by 11:59pm next Friday, 14 April.

For this topic, please:

  • read file 4.1 (pp.155–162) in Language Files, available on the Readings & Videos page of our class site
  • post a response in the Week 11 discussion board thread
  • complete Quiz #4. (As always, multiple submissions are okay, but I’ll only grade your final submission. Studying together is encouraged, but don’t share answers with one another – that’s cheating.)

Week 10: Words and the Lexicon

This week’s readings have to do with words and the lexicon. Language Files notes, on page 155, that “Every language has some (large) number of words available for its users to choose from as they need. This stock of words can be thought of as a sort of mental dictionary that language users—both speakers and hearers—have internalized as part and parcel of acquiring their particular language. We call this mental dictionary the lexicon.”

We’ll talk more about that Language Files chapter in the future, but for this week, we’ll be discussing one particular category of words: slang. To explore this topic, please read chapter 24 in David Crystal’s A Little Book of Language (pp.151–156) and John McWhorter’s article, “Is Slang as Swell as It Used to Be? Yas!” Both can be found on the Readings page.

Once you’ve done these readings, please post your reply to the Discussion Board thread for Week 10. It’s a fun one. Since I didn’t get this assignment to you yesterday, the deadline is this upcoming Sunday, April 2nd.

Week 9: Pragmatics

This week, we’ll wrap up our exploration of meaning by discussing pragmatics, the way that context contributes to meaning. Please read files 7.1 and 7.2 in Language Files, available on our Readings & Videos page. Then, please respond to this week’s discussion board topic by 11:59pm this Friday.

Additionally, don’t forget that your Midterm is due by 11:59pm this Friday, 24 March. It covers all materials from weeks 1 through 8. You can submit it as many times as you like before then, but only the final submission will be graded.

Finally, if you have not yet submitted Quiz #3, which was due on Friday, please do so ASAP.

Week 8: Semantics

Welcome to the midway point of the semester! This week, we’ll expand on our discussion of meaning, begun last week, by learning more about semantics, the linguistic discipline dedicated to exploring meaning in a scientific, empirical way.

Read pages 257–265 in chapter 6 of Language Files. I will post a video this week discussing and expanding upon this reading.

Please complete Quiz #3 by 11:59pm this Friday, 17 March, which covers topics from weeks 7 and 8.

In addition, the midterm is now available. It covers all materials from weeks 1 through 8. You have two weeks to complete this. Please submit your completed midterm by 11:59pm on Friday, 24 March. You can submit it as many times as you like before then, but only the final submission will be graded.

Because you’re being sent both a quiz and a midterm this week, there will be no discussion board post required for this week.

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