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LINGUIST 3M03 Morphology (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2018

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Dr. Magda Stroinska


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 501

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27067


Office Hours: Tuesdays 5:30:00-6:30 p.m. and Wednesdays 11:30-12:30 or by appointment

Course Objectives:

This course explores issues related to the internal structure of words in various languages and relates word structure to other subsystems of language, such as phonology, syntax and semantics. Students will be introduced to morphological theory and will then learn how to analyse linguistic data from a variety of languages using the acquired tools.

Students will work individually or in groups on two research projects on specific linguistic problems. Students will then submit individual or group written reports. Apart from these two projects, students will hand in individual biweekly homework exercises to ensure that they can apply theory to practical analysis of linguistic data. The lowest of the five assignment marks will be dropped.


  • to study the ways that words are constructed in the world’s languages
  • to learn how grammatical notions are expressed in the forms of words
  • to discover the rules which govern the acquisition of word-forms
  • to study how word-forms are treated phonologically
  • to understand how morphology interacts with syntax


  • Examine in detail pertinent examples from an array of different languages
  • Test morphological theories against the languages of the world
  • Gather linguistic data and test morphology-related hypotheses on data gathered
  • Describe in detail the grammatical or word-formational morphology of any language other than English


  • every student to participate actively at all times
  • students are encouraged to bring relevant examples they encounter in their reading or in other courses
  • Combination of lecture, tutorial and discussion format
  • All lecture notes will be posted on Avenue to Learn - McMaster University



Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


Haspelmath, Martin & Andrea Sims, Understanding Morphology 2nd. ed. (London: Hodder, 2010)

Avenue to Learn

Method of Assessment:

Participation (4%) & homework (5@4%)     20%

Assignments (due Oct 17 & Nov 28)     2 x 20%

Mid-term test (October 23)                          20%

Final Exam                                                  20%

Research Participation Bonus                     2%    

Total:                                                         100%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


  • Students who fail to turn up for the mid-term quiz will receive a grade of zero unless an alternative arrangements have been made BEFORE the exam.
  • Late delivery of an assignment will receive a ten-percent penalty for each day within four days following the advertised due date. For example, a piece of work delivered two days late which deserved a grade of B- (70%) will receive a grade of 56% (C). After four days, the mark will drop to 0.
  • Students who need accommodation for medical or personal reasons may use the MSAF system or contact faculty of Humanities Counselling. Students who file the MSAF have to submit the work within 4 days after the project deadline with no penalty.
  • All assignments have to be submitted to the Dropbox on Avenue by the Wednesday midnight deadline. The lowest of the five homework assignment marks will be dropped. No late homework assignments will be accepted.

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: