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LINGUIST 2LL3 Intro To Linguistic Typology

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. George Thomas


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 512

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24388

Office Hours: Wednesdays 2:30 - 4:00 CNH 425

Course Objectives:

The course is designed to familiarise students with the general structural patterms found in the world's languages, to examine a number of hypotheses about the universal features and to engage in a methodology for cross-linguistic comparison.  Each student will be able to describe in detail the features of a single language in relation to the patterns seen around the globe.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Viveka Velupillai, An Introduction to Linguistic Typology (Amsterdam/ Philadelphia, John Benjamins: 2012)

Other required reading will be available on the course website on Avenue and as Reserve Material at Mills Memorial Library

Method of Assessment:

Tutorial Partticipation         10%

Assignments (2)                20%

Mid-Term Test                    20%

Term Paper                        20%

Final Examination               30%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

 Work received late will be marked with 10% reduction for each day.

Failure to write the mid-term or final will result in a grade of 0%.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

A full list of readings and books on reserve can be found on Avenue

Other Course Information:

The 2-hour Monday slot will follow a general lecture format but questions are welcomed at all times

The 1-hour Wednesday slot will be given over to tutorials and discussion groups based on the materials presented in the lectures and the students' own study of their assigned language.   The Wednesday sessions will also be used for dealing with housekeeping matters and preparing for and discussing assignments, the term paper and the mid-term.