Linguistics 5: Introduction to Language and Linguistics

Autumn, 2013

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the main methods and results of linguistics, with an emphasis on their practical value in ordinary life. This course is a general survey of the field of linguistics. Students are introduced to a wide range of data from diverse languages to basic principles of linguistic analysis.

Time/Location: MWF 1-2, 160 Kroeber Hall
Course Code: 52215
No. of Units: 4


Keith Johnson, 1222 Dwinelle
Office hours: TR 9-11, and by appointment.

Graduate Student Instructors

Auburn Lutzross, 1309 Dwinelle     Erin Donnelly, 1309 Dwinelle
Office hours: T 3-4, R 1-2M 3-4, W 12-1


Edward Finegan. (2012) Language: Its Structure and Use. 6th Ed. Cengage.

CourseMate Materials -- Buy a textbook that has an access code for CourseMate, or buy the Electronic book and be sure to buy "English CourseMate with eBook Access Code for Finegan's Language (under the "Related Products" tab). Read the CourseMate Instructions to join the course on-line. The Course Key for Ling5 at UC Berkeley this fall is: CM-9781111862299-0000028


section participation5% of final grade
quizzes (on CourseMate graded pass/low pass/fail)20%
midterm exam (Oct. 18th)25%
final exam (Dec. 12th)25%
three writing assignments25%


This course will follow the textbook pretty closely. There are 14 chapters in the book, and about 14 weeks of the semester, so the plan is to cover one chapter each week. Each chapter has a quiz on CourseMate, so your quiz grade will be based on your performance on the on-line quizzes. You can retake the quizzes until you get a perfect score. In order for us to know your quiz scores we need for you to follow the CourseMate instructions and join the UCB Ling5 course using our course key: CM-9781111862299-0000028.

Writing assignments

You will write three essays about linguistics and language this semester. They will be due near the end of each month of the semester - one near the end of Sept., one near the end of October, one near the end of November. You may revise and resubmit your essays if you would like to improve your scores. The deadline to submit revisions is Dec. 13. Here's an example of an interesting essay that is about 8 paragraphs long, refers to four or five sources, on a linguistic topic, has a point of view, and is well-written.


The midterm exam will be given during the class hour on October 18th. The final will be given during the regularly scheduled exam time for this course (December 18th, 7-10pm pm, location: TBD). The final will cover the last 1/2 of the course only (the material after the midterm). Both exams will follow the format and level of the quizzes, and will only cover material in the textbook. No make-up exams (midterm or final) can be given except in the case of dire documented medical emergencies, or in case the exam time conflicts with a religious obligation day (as per university policy).

Tentative schedule

(At least some of) the lecture slides are available on bspace.

1: Aug 30, Sept 4 & 6 -- Languages and Linguistics (Chapter 1)

Share your language experience.

2: Sept 9, 11, & 13 -- Morphology (Chapter 2)

3: Sept 16, 18 & 20 -- Phonetics (Chapter 3)

4: Sept 23, 25, & 27 -- Phonology (Chapter 4)

5: Sept 30, Oct. 2 & 4 -- Syntax (Chapter 5)

The first essay is due on Sept 30 (bring it to class).

6: Oct 7, 9 & 11 -- Semantics (Chapter 6)

7: Oct 14, 16 & 18 -- Language Universals (Chapter 7)

Midterm exam: Oct 18.

8: Oct 21, 23 & 25 -- Pragmatics (Chapter 8)

9: Oct 28, 30, & Nov. 1 -- Speech acts/Conversation (Chapter 9)

The second essay is due on Oct 28 (bring it to class).

10: Nov 4 & 6 -- Register/Style (Chapter 10)

11: Nov 8, 13 & 15 -- Dialects (Chapter 11)

12: Nov 18, & 20 -- Historical Linguistics (Chapter 12)

13: Nov 22, 25 & 27 -- Development of English (Chapter 13)

The third essay is due on Nov 22 (bring it to class).

14: Dec 2, 4, & 6 -- Language Acquisition (Chapter 14)

15: Dec 9-13 -- Reading week

Essay final revisions: - due on Friday, December 13 at 5pm.

Final exam - Wednesday, December 18, 7-10 pm, location: TBD.

Academic misconduct

Academic misconduct is a serious matter, with serious consequences. Plagiarism, failing to cite a source of information, and cheating during exams are all serious offenses. I report academic misconduct to the UC Berkeley Center for Student Conduct and Community Standards.

This document is available in alternative formats upon request. Please contact Keith Johnson, Dwinelle 1222, 643-7617