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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Catherine Anderson


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 503

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 26241


Office Hours: Monday 3:45-5:00; Thursday 8:45-9:45

Course Objectives:

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • understand the elements of the principal theories of language comprehension
  • evaluate the key research findings that inform these theories
  • consider methods for asking research questions about language comprehension
  • interpret experimental data to answer research questions about language comprehension
  • communicate scientific findings to a variety of audiences


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

  • iClicker response device
  • Sedivy, Julie. (2014). Language in Mind: An Introduction to Psycholinguistics.  Sinauer Associates
    ISBN 978-0-87893-598-7 (This textbook will also be used for Ling 3C03 Child Language Acquisition in Winter 2015.)

Method of Assessment:

Participation in class using iClicker 8% If you click a response to 80% of clicker questions you receive 8/8.  If you respond to fewer than 80% of clicker questions your clicker score is pro-rated accordingly.
Four Scientific Writing assignments 16% Drafted and edited in class on Fridays (Sept 19, Oct 3, Oct 24, Nov 21), submitted on Avenue by the following Monday (Sept 22, Oct 6, Oct 27, Nov 24)
Two midterm tests 30% 45 minutes each, written in class on Oct 8 and Nov 7
Science Stories Project 16% Submitted on Avenue Dec 1
Final Exam 30% Scheduled by the Registrar during the Final Exam Period. The final exam includes material from the entire semester.


There are also two optional ways to earn bonus points in Ling 2PS3.

  • You have the option to participate in linguistics experiments for credit.  One hour's participation earns 2/2 and two hours' participation earns 4/4.  Experiment points reduce the weight of your final exam, such that experiment points of 2/2 make the final exam worth 28% of the total grade, and experiments points of 4/4 make the final exam worth 26% of the final grade.  The maximum number of experiment points available is 4/4.

  • You have the option to create a Learning Portfolio within Avenue2Learn that includes some of your work (whatever pieces you choose) from Ling 2PS3.  Creating a Learning Portfolio including work from Ling 2PS3 earns a straight 2% on your total course grade.  To redeem this 2%, share your Learning Portfolio with Dr. Anderson and the TA before the final class of the semester.  

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Assignments:  Assignments and projects submitted by 11:30 a.m. on the Wednesday after the Monday due date are penalized 25% of the value of the assignment.  Assignments projects submitted by 1:30 p.m. on the Friday after the Monday due date are penalized 50%.  Assignments and projects are not accepted thereafter.  

Excused Assignments:  Assignments for which the instructor receives an MSAF or other medical document (via the office of the Dean of your Faculty) are excused and are not included in the final grade calculation.

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

Clicker Points:  MSAFs and medical notes are not accepted for clicker points.

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:

These dates are an estimate. Any changes that arise will be announced in class.

Weeks 1 & 2 Introduction, Language & Brain, the Science of Language Chapter 1; Sections 2.1, 3.2-3.4
Weeks 3 - 5 The Nature of Speech, Modularity in Speech Perception Section 4.3, 
Weeks 6 & 7 The Role of Experience in Speech Perception Sections 7.3 & 7.4
Weeks 8 & 9 Auditory and Visual Word Recognition Sections 7.1, 7.2, 7.5
Weeks 10 - 12 Sentence Processing Chapter 8


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.