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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Anna Moro


Office: L.R. Wilson Hall 4041

Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: TBA

Course Objectives:

This course provides an introduction to the discipline of linguistics, the scientific study of language. The focus of the course will be on the core areas of phonetics, phonology and morphology. Students will also be introduced to morphophonology. Topics covered will be exemplified not only through English, but through a variety of languages.

By the end of the course students will be familiar with how linguists approach and analyze speech sounds (phonetics), the organization of sounds in a language (phonology), and word structure (morphology). A principal objective of the course is to familiarize students with phonetic transcription. Students will be shown how to transcribe Canadian English using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), and how to analyze data from other languages using IPA. Linguistic examples from a variety of languages are used throughout the course, including Mandarin, Tagalog, Arabic, Czech, Ganda, Hebrew, Farsi (Persian), Swahili, Spanish.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

O'Grady, W. and J. Archibald. Contemporary Linguistic Analysis: An Introduction. Toronto: Pearson, 2012 (7th edition).

Merrells, T. and A. Moro. Study Guide to accompany Contemporary Linguistic Analysis. Toronto: Pearson, 2012 (7th edition).

iClicker response device

Method of Assessment:

Midterm test¹ 25%
Assignments and quizzes² 22%
Participation in tutorials³ 10%
iClicker participation in lectures³ 8%
Final exam 35%

Notes on method of evaluation

¹The midterm test will be held the week of October 21st, 2013 - details will be provided in class and on Avenue to learn.

²There will generally be one short assignment to hand in OR a quiz every week (approx 8-10 in total over the semester). Assignments are to be submitted to your TA at the beginning of tutorial. Because TAs are expected to mark and return assignments by the subsequent tutorial, it is imperative that students hand in assignments at the beginning of each tutorial to the TA. If, due to difficult circumstances, you cannot make a tutorial, please email your TA on that day informing him/her that you have submitted it in the departmental office (where it will be stamped/dated with the time of submission). Submissions to the office must be made before 4:30pm on the day of your tutorial.

We anticipate that there may be one tutorial that a student cannot attend and, consequently, that a student may end up with a mark of zero on one quiz or assignment. It is for this reason that the lowest mark of this component of the course will be dropped when final marks are calculated (i.e., the lowest mark among all quizzes and assignments considered together).

³The tutorial participation will be equally divided between attendance (5%) and participation (5%). 

In addition, almost every lecture will include clicker questions that check your comprehension or ask you to consider a problem or new information. Whether you answer 'correctly' is not the point of the iClicker component: you get points for answering. Clicker questions are worth 8% of the final grade. If you answer at least 80% of the clicker questions over the semester, you will earn 8/8 for your clicker grade. If you answer less than 80% of possible questions, your clicker grade will be pro-rated accordingly. To ensure that your clicker points get credited to you, make sure to register your clicker by following the link on Avenue to learn. Even if you have registered your clicker in a previous year, you need to register it again. If you forget your clicker one day, Dr. Moro has a small number of clickers available to borrow before the beginning of class. Clickers may not be borrowed once class begins. Please note that using a clicker for a classmate who is absent constitutes academic dishonesty: if you are caught, both you and the student whose clicker you were using may be charged with academic dishonesty.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

respecting deadlines

If you know that you will be unable to meet a deadline, please discuss your circumstances with Dr. Moro prior to the due date. Students who fail to submit assignments when they are due (see note 2 above regarding assignments), or to take quizzes or tests when they are scheduled, will be given a grade of zero, unless procedures were followed to report medical or other serious reasons for the absence.

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.

getting help with course material

This course benefits from the help of a Super Tutor (a PhD candidate in the Cognitive Science of Language Program) who holds weekly office hours, in addition to the office hours held by Dr. Moro. Weekly office hours are 'drop-in' in nature; if you cannot meet with either of them during regular office hours, an alternate time may be requested by email. There is a course email address for this course: Please allow 24 hrs/1 business day for an email response. Students are also encouraged to engage in peer-to-peer interaction through the course discussion board. Please note, however, that answers provided by students concerning course content will not be monitored on a daily basis.

getting other help

A variety of offices on campus offer support services for students, such as the Student Success Centre, the Student Wellness Centre, and Student Accessibility Services. Please visit their websites to learn more about the services they offer.  

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.