Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.


Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 2

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Dr. Catherine Anderson


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 503

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 26241


Office Hours: Monday 2:30-4:00; Friday 9:30-11:00; contact Dr. Anderson for a meeting before class

Course Objectives:

Linguistics 3C03 studies language behaviour and development in children from birth to school age. The course examines how data from children's language acquisition can inform linguistic theory. The goals of the course are:

  • to understand the elements of the major theories of child language acquisition
  • to evaluate the key research findings that inform these theories
  • to practice communicating scientific findings to both scientific and non-scientific audiences
  • to analyze primary data to answer research questions 

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Erika Hoff, Language Development
Any of the 3rd, 4th or 5th editions is fine.

iClicker response device.

Method of Assessment:

Participation in class using iClicker

10% Clicker questions are part of every lecture, so bring your clicker to class every day.  There are about 100-120 clicker questions over the semester.  If you click a response to at least 80% of questions, you will receive 10 points. If you respond to less than 80% of clicker questions, your clicker points are pro-rated.
One 90-minute midterm test 20% written in class on Wednesday, Feb. 26
Data Analysis Project 20%

A four-page report analyzing original data from children's productions, submitted to the Avenue dropbox on Feb. 5.

Press Release Project 15% A one-page press release summarizing a scientific paper for a non-scientific audience, submitted to the Avenue dropbox on March 26
One three-hour final exam 35% The final exam covers material from the entire semester.  Date scheduled by the Registrar.


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Assignments:  Assignments submitted within two working days of the due date are penalized 25% of the value of the assignment.  Assignments submitted within five working days of the due date are penalized 50%.  Assignments are not accepted more than one week after the due date.  

Excused Tests: A test for which the instructor receives an MSAF or other medical document (via the office of the Dean of your Faculty) has its value added to the value of the final exam.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

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:

This schedule is an estimate and may change by a week or so depending on where we get to in class.  Pay attention to the updates in class!  All readings are from the Hoff textbook unless otherwise indicated.

Weeks 1 & 2 (Jan. 8 & 15):  Chapters 1 and 2 (skip the section on "Other Species")

Weeks 3 - 5 (beginning Jan. 22): Chapter 3 (3rd edition) or Chapter 4 (4th & 5th edition), "Phonological Development"

Weeks 6 - 8 (beginning Feb. 12): Chapter 4 (3rd edition) or Chapter 5 (4th & 5th edition), "Lexical Development"

Weeks 9 - 10 (beginning March 12): Chapter 5 (3rd edition) or Chapter 6 (4th & 5th edition) "Syntax and Morphology"

Weeks 11-12 (beginning March 25): Chapter 6 (3rd edition) or Chapter 3 (4th edition) or Chapter 7 (5th edition) "Communicative Development"



Other Course Information:

In this course we will be using Avenue. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.